NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, March 16th (All times eastern)
Edmonton Oilers (21-41-7) at Minnesota Wild (33-29-6), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The last thing that the Edmonton Oilers need at this point in the season is a trip to Minnesota. The road-weary club will try to snap its 12-game slide in the Twin Cities, where the Wild shoot for a third straight victory tonight at Xcel Energy Center.
The Oilers have lost all three games thus far on their swing despite scoring 11 goals. Edmonton, though, has allowed 15 goals on the trek to run its overall road losing streak to five games. The team has also dropped 16 of its last 17 on the road, where it is just 8-23-3 this season.
Edmonton made a stop in Columbus on Monday and was dealt a 5-3 setback. Robert Nilsson and Aaron Johnson had a goal and an assist each and Dustin Penner also scored for the Oilers, who have lost four straight overall. Devan Dubnyk added 24 saves in the setback.
"Early on in the game we got wide open," Oilers head coach Pat Quinn said. "It was like line rushes for both teams. We had chances going their way, too. A lot of missed positioning. It was a competitive night. Certainly at the start of the third period our veterans let us down a little bit. Two quick [Columbus] goals in the first few minutes, both [on] turnovers and bad checking. It's disappointing."
Already with the likes of Nikolai Khabibulin, Ales Hemsky and Sheldon Souray on injured reserve, the Oilers scratched Ladislav Smid (neck), Patrick O'Sullivan (hand), Ryan Jones (MCL) and Fernando Pisani (groin) last night due to injuries.
Edmonton has also dropped five of its last seven overall, but one of those two victories came against the Wild on March 5, when the Oilers managed a 2-1 shootout triumph. Mike Comrie had the lone goal in regulation for Edmonton and also scored the decisive goal in the sixth round of the shootout.
The Wild and Oilers have split their four meetings so far this year, with each club winning twice on home ice. Minnesota has also won seven of its last 11 versus Edmonton and hasn't lost at home to the Oilers since Jan. 16, 2007, outscoring them 43-14 as the host in that span.
Guillaume Latendresse scored for the Wild in the March 5 loss to the Oilers, part of a span in which he has scored nine goals over 13 games. The forward has a career-high 25 goals on the season, with 23 of those coming in 43 games since being acquired by Minnesota from Montreal on Nov. 23.
Latendresse also had a goal in Sunday's 4-2 win over St. Louis, Minnesota's second victory in a row after an 0-2-2 skid. Mikko Koivu had a goal and two assists, while Andrew Brunette and Antti Miettinen both scored and added a helper.
Minnesota, which improved to 22-9-3 at home this year, enters this game eight points back of a playoff spot with 14 games to play.
"We have to win the games coming up," said Wild goaltender Josh Harding after making 35 saves. "We were ready to play, and we got a big win. [The Blues are] a great hockey club -- you got to give them all the credit in the world. Fortunately, we came out on top."
Harding made his third straight start in place of Niklas Backstrom, who is unlikely to play again tonight due to a groin injury.
03/16 10:54:26 ET