NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, March 15th
(All times eastern)
Minnesota Wild (40-24-7) at Edmonton Oilers (30-34-6), 9 p.m.
(Sports Network) - A pair of Northwest Division teams that are headed in far
different directions face off tonight at Edmonton's Rexall Place, where the
downtrodden Oilers will attempt to hold off the hard-charging Minnesota Wild.
Minnesota has notched victories in four consecutive games and closed within a
point of first-place Vancouver in the crowded Northwest standings with
Tuesday's key overtime win over the Canucks. Brent Burns netted the deciding
goal with 35.8 seconds remaining in the extra period to lift the Wild to a
come-from-behind 3-2 decision.
It was a case of deja vu for both Burns and the Wild. Just two days earlier,
the defenseman who gave Minnesota a 3-2 win over Colorado when he scored with
just 18.9 seconds left in overtime.
Mikko Koivu and Brian Rolston had the regulation goals in Tuesday's triumph,
while Niklas Backstrom continued his strong play between the pipes by stopping
Backstrom has yielded just five goals over his last three starts -- all
Minnesota wins -- and currently ranks third among all NHL netminders in goals-
against average (2.23) and save percentage (.923).
The victory was the third straight as the visitor for the Wild, who conclude a
key three-game road trip with a visit to division-rival Calgary on Saturday.
Since January 11, Minnesota is 13-3-2 in away games.
The defending Western Conference champion Oilers have taken themselves
completely out of the playoff race and are currently mired in their longest
losing streak in nearly 12 years. Edmonton has dropped eight games in a row,
the franchise's longest slide since a nine-game skid from March 23-April 9,
The Oilers have been outscored by a whopping 32-6 margin during the streak and
are coming off Monday's lopsided defeat to lowly Los Angeles. Michael
Cammalleri scored twice and Rob Blake compiled a goal and two assists as the
Kings cruised to a 5-1 win at the Staples Center.
Toby Peterson scored the lone Edmonton goal and Jussi Markkanen finished with
31 saves in the loss.
The Oilers begin a six-game homestand this evening. The club is 18-15-2 at
Rexall Place for the season, but has fallen four straight times on home ice.
Minnesota posted a 5-0 victory in Edmonton earlier this month and has taken
nine of the last 12 games in this series. The Wild are also 7-1-2 (2 ties) in
their 10 regular-season visits to Rexall Place.
03/15 10:53:48 ET