NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, April 16th
(All times Eastern)
Minnesota Wild (23-16-3) at Edmonton Oilers (16-18-7), 9:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Minnesota Wild will try to win consecutive games for
the first time in three weeks on Tuesday night as they take on the Edmonton
Oilers, who will play their first game under new general manager Craig
The Wild have lost seven of 10 since winning seven straight from March 14-27.
Six of those seven setbacks came in regulation, though Minnesota was able to
snap a three-game slide with Monday's 4-3 win over the Calgary Flames.
Jason Pominville scored twice, giving him four goals and six points in six
games since being acquired in a trade with the Buffalo Sabres. It was his
first two-goal game since March 2.
Mikko Koivu and Pierre-Marc Bouchard each had a goal, while Niklas Backstrom
made 20 stops in the win.
"We can be better in a few areas, but it was a good road win," said Minnesota
head coach Mike Yeo. "I find that when you're doing the right thing a lot of
the time you see the game's breaks like that."
The Wild now have 49 points on the season and sit sixth overall in the Western
Conference, one point ahead of the St. Louis Blues with one more game played.
Minnesota, though, is also only two points ahead of the Detroit Red Wings and
Columbus Blue Jackets, who are tied for eighth in the conference.
The Oilers are still chasing that eighth spot as well, but a five-game slide
has dropped the club eight points back in the race with seven to play. All
five defeats have come in regulation and followed a five-game winning streak.
Edmonton has been idle since dropping a 4-1 decision to visiting Calgary on
Saturday and has scored just four times over its current skid. The Oilers
capped their five-game winning streak with an 8-2 win at Calgary on April 3.
Lennart Petrell scored the lone goal on Saturday, while Nikolai Khabibulin
gave up all four goals on 38 shots.
"If you want to win games you have to play together and not care about your
personal stats," said Edmonton defenseman Nick Schultz. "All the good teams do
it for one another and want to win for the guy next to you and we're not doing
that right now."
In danger of missing the postseason for a seventh straight year, the Oilers
turned to the last man to get them to the playoffs in MacTavish, who was the
head coach of the club when it made a surprise run to the Stanley Cup Finals
MacTavish spent eight seasons as the coach of Edmonton before being let go
after the 2008-09 campaign. He returned to the organization last summer as the
senior vice president of hockey operations.
MacTavish replaces Steve Tambellini, who was in his fifth season as Oilers GM.
"Despite showing improvement in areas this season, we are not where we want to
be right now, nor where we should be," said Oilers president Kevin Lowe. "We
feel strongly we need to make changes right now.
"We need to get better immediately. That starts today with this announcement."
The Oilers have lost both of their previous meetings with the Wild this season
and have dropped three straight and 13 of the last 16 encounters. Minnesota
has won six of its past seven in Edmonton and hosts the Oilers on April 26.
04/16 10:35:33 ET
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