NHL Game Summary - Minnesota at Edmonton
(Sunday, March 29th)
Final Score: Minnesota 3, Edmonton 2
Edmonton, AB (Sports Network) - Marian Gaborik scored the game-winning goal and dished out an assist, as the Minnesota Wild edged the Edmonton Oilers, 3-2, in a battle between two playoff-hopeful teams at Rexall Place.
Andrew Brunette and Martin Skoula also lit the lamp for the Wild, who ended a four-game road trip with a 2-2-0 mark. Owen Nolan had two assists for the victors. Niklas Backstrom stopped 31 shots to improve to 34-23-7 on the year.
Center Mikko Koivu returned to the lineup after missing three games with a knee injury.
"We were lucky that we had Backstrom," said Wild head coach Jacques Lemaire. "He was really on his game, especially at the end."
Minnesota sits in the 11th spot in the Western Conference with 80 points. The Wild are three points behind St. Louis for the eighth and final playoff spot.
Ales Kotalik and Fernando Pisani scored for the Oilers, who have dropped four of their past five outings. Dwayne Roloson turned aside 18 shots in the loss.
"I have to do my job and stop the puck," Roloson said. "If I did that tonight than we would have won, case closed. Our guys are playing well and, unfortunately, I didn't play well enough to win."
Since Anaheim beat Colorado on Sunday, Edmonton dropped to 10th in the West with 81 points.
Trailing 2-0, the Oilers cut the deficit in half on a goal from Pisani just 1:04 into the third stanza. Ethan Moreau charged down the right side of the ice and made his way behind the net before dumping the puck off to Pisani out front. Pisani chipped the disc between Backstrom's pads.
Gaborik lit the lamp just over three minutes later to extend Minnesota's margin back to two. Gaborik's wrister from the left circle beat Roloson glove- side during a delayed penalty.
Kotalik and Hemsky teamed up to cut the gap to 3-2 with 4:52 to play. Hemsky set Kotalik up for a one-timer from the left circle. And Kotalik's shot went sailing past Backstrom on the stick side.
The Oilers pulled Roloson with about one minute left to gain the extra attacker. But Backstrom and the Wild defense held strong to secure the victory.
The Wild drew first blood at the 7:01 mark of the first period on Brunette's 20th goal of the year. The puck was slowly sliding in front of Roloson after Gaborik fanned on a shot. Brunette collected the disc and fired a backhander past Roloson.
Less than two minutes later, Skoula's slap shot from the left point snuck through the five-hole of Roloson to give the visitors an early 2-0 lead.
Both teams had nine shots on goal during a scoreless second stanza.
Both teams went 0-for-3 on the power play...Minnesota had lost their previous four games in Edmonton...Minnesota won the season series with Edmonton, 4-2...Oilers blueliner Ladislav Smid left the game in the second period with a hand injury. It was later announced that he fractured his left hand. Smid has zero goals and 11 assist this season.
03/30 00:31:00 ET