NHL Game Summary - Edmonton at Minnesota
(Thursday, April 5th)
Final Score: Minnesota 3, Edmonton 0
St. Paul, MN (Sports Network) - Niklas Backstrom made 22 saves, recording his second consecutive shutout and fifth of the season as the Minnesota Wild blanked the Edmonton Oilers, 3-0, at XCel Energy Center.
Mark Parrish, Keith Carney and Marian Gaborik all scored for Minnesota, which has already clinched a playoff berth, but sits in seventh place in the Western Conference. The team could earn a top three seed by winning the Northwest Division, and with one game remaining are just one point behind Vancouver, which failed to clinch the division title by falling to Colorado on Thursday night.
The Wild host St. Louis on Saturday, while Vancouver has a pair of road games remaining.
Jussi Markkanen finished with 26 saves for Edmonton, which has dropped six straight games, and nine in a row on the road. The Oilers have lost 18 of 19 since February 25.
"Obviously it's tough to get yourself going for 100 percent when you're absolutely out of the playoff race," said Markkanen. "At the same time it tells a lot abpit the character of this locker room. We put the effort in, but obviously we haven't (gotten) any of the results, but at least the effort is there."
The Wild opened the scoring 5:57 into the first period, as Mikko Koivu moved along the right side-boards before sending a pass to Parrish in the high slot. Parrish then one-timed a shot through the five-hole past Markkanen to make it 1-0.
Minnesota doubled its lead with 1:09 left in the first, as Carney created a turnover at the blueline, then went on a breakaway toward the net in the middle of an Edmonton line change. The defenseman wristed a beautiful shot low on the blocker side that got past Markkanen to make it 2-0.
Gaborik made it 3-0 in the middle stanza when Wes Walz sent a pass through the neutral zone and put it right on the blade of Gaborik's stick. The right winger moved in on the breakaway, deking out Markkanen before lighting the lamp on the backhand shot at 9:58.
The Oilers managed seven shots in the third period, but could not solve Backstrom.
"I think we got lucky at times," said Parrish. "We started getting a little fancy and getting away from our game a little bit, but it's nice when it seems like every time that happens, Nik (Backstrom) stands tall for us and doesn't give the other team a chance to get any life going. We've got one more game to perfect that and get all those kinks out of our system, and get back to playing the hockey we were a week-and-a-half to two weeks ago."
The Wild have won five straight over the Oilers, and are 12-4-0 against them since the start of last season. Minnesota has outscored Edmonton 17-2 during the five-game winning streak...Gaborik has recorded a point in 12 of his last 13 games, registering seven goals and 11 assists in that span. He has seven goals and four assists in seven games against the Oilers this season... Edmonton concludes its season against Calgary on Sunday.
04/06 01:57:51 ET