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Wild continue strong home play, top Oilers

Feb 26, 2007 - 12:22 AM
ST. PAUL, Minnesota (Ticker) -- The Edmonton Oilers concluded their season-high road trip in the wrong building.

Pierre-Marc Bouchard had a goal and an assist and Brian Rolston set up a pair of tallies as the Minnesota Wild continued their impressive play at home with a 4-1 triumph over the Oilers.

Marian Gaborik, Todd White and defenseman Brent Burns also scored for the Wild, who improved to 13-2-3 in their last 18 games at Xcel Energy Center.

"We've been sticking to our system," Burns said. "It's important that we've been working hard every night. On the road, we've turned the corner, too, with Gabby back and (goaltender Niklas) Backstrom playing so well."

Minnesota also moved two points ahead of eighth-place Calgary (73) in the Western Conference and nine in front of Edmonton, which occupies the ninth spot.

"These are big games against our division rivals," Gaborik said. "We got another couple of points ahead of them."

"It was a playoff game," Rolston added. "Each game is going to be a playoff game, which is good for us because in the end, we'll be prepared for the playoffs when they're here."

After going 0-2-2 in the first four contests of its seven-game road trip, Edmonton posted victories over Columbus and Detroit to avoid a completely disastrous trek. But the Oilers were unable to keep the momentum going as the Wild tallied late in each of the first two periods and quickly answered Edmonton's lone goal in the third to win their third straight game and ninth in the last 12.

White opened the scoring with 99 seconds to go in the first period and Burns doubled the advantage with 68 seconds left in the middle session. Fernando Pisani halved the deficit seven minutes into the third, but Gaborik netted his sixth goal in seven games just 59 seconds later to restore Minnesota's two-goal bulge.

"They really took away the ice," Edmonton's Shawn Horcoff said. "When you play a team like that, you really have to focus on getting the puck in. Once we did that, we really took it to them, but we didn't get a lot of luck around the net."

Bouchard added an empty-netter in the final minute and Niklas Backstrom made 19 saves for the Wild, who remained perfect (21-0-0) when scoring three goals or more.

"You have to have the feeling every time you go out there that you are going to win, no matter who you play," Backstrom said. "But this was one of the biggest games of the season. ... The way (Minnesota's defensemen) have played has been unbelievable. It seems easy when they play, but they work so hard."

"He's been tremendous for us," Rolston said of Backstrom. "If we didn't have him, I think we'd be in trouble."

Former Minnesota goaltender Dwayne Roloson stopped 23 shots for Edmonton, which still trails idle Calgary by seven points for the final playoff spot in the West.

"There is still a lot of hockey left to be played," Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said. "We got our game at a high level (last season) and now we're repeating it, and that leads me to believe that we've got a shot at it.

"We ended up going 2-3-2 (on the road trip), but we played much better than that on the road. Tonight's game was a good example of what's happened this trip. We played well, we didn't get a lot of breaks around the net and they got a couple breaks to win the hockey game."

White netted his second goal in as many games for a 1-0 lead late in the first, tapping in a pass by Bouchard from the right wing boards while on the doorstep. During a power play in the latter stages of the second, Burns unleashed a wrist shot from the left point that got past Roloson, who was screened by Mark Parrish.

"That's Parrish, he's unbelievable," Burns said. "I'm surprised I got the goal because he usually gets his stick on those. He does a great job."

In his second game back from a concussion, Pisani carried down the right wing and wristed a shot from the top of the right faceoff circle that found the top left corner of the net, drawing Edmonton within 2-1.

However, Gaborik converted a 2-on-1 rush off a feed from Pavol Demitra for his 20th tally, restoring Minnesota's two-goal cushion.

"We did a little give-and-go. Demitra made a great play," Gaborik said. "We were up 2-0 and then they scored, so it was a big goal. We played real tight (defensively) after that."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    EDMONTON 0 0 1 1
    MINNESOTA 1 1 2 4 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: MIN - TODD WHITE 11 (PIERRE-MARC BOUCHARD, BRIAN ROLSTON)
    18:21
    2ND PRD: MIN - (PP) BRENT BURNS 3 (KIM JOHNSSON) 18:52
    3RD PRD: EDM - FERNANDO PISANI 12 (STEVE STAIOS) 7:00
    MIN - MARIAN GABORIK 20 (PAVOL DEMITRA, WES

    Feb 25 4:32 PM


  • NHL
    EDMONTON 1
    MINNESOTA 4
    3RD PRD: MIN - (EN) PIERRE-MARC BOUCHARD 17 (BRIAN ROLSTON) 19:21

    Oilers vs. WildFeb 25 4:32 PM


  • NHL
    EDMONTON 1
    MINNESOTA 3
    3RD PRD: MIN - MARIAN GABORIK 20 (PAVOL DEMITRA) 7:59

    Oilers vs. WildFeb 25 4:11 PM


  • NHL
    EDMONTON 1
    MINNESOTA 2
    3RD PRD: EDM - FERNANDO PISANI 12 (STEVE STAIOS) 7:00

    Oilers vs. WildFeb 25 4:08 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    EDMONTON 0 0 0
    MINNESOTA 1 1 2 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: MIN - TODD WHITE 11 (PIERRE-MARC BOUCHARD, BRIAN ROLSTON)
    18:21
    2ND PRD: MIN - (PP) BRENT BURNS 3 (KIM JOHNSSON) 18:52
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    EDM 7 5

    Feb 25 3:37 PM


  • NHL
    EDMONTON 0
    MINNESOTA 2
    2ND PRD: MIN - (PP) BRENT BURNS 3 (KIM JOHNSSON) 18:52

    Oilers vs. WildFeb 25 3:37 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    EDMONTON 0 0
    MINNESOTA 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: MIN - TODD WHITE 11 (PIERRE-MARC BOUCHARD, BRIAN ROLSTON)
    18:21
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    EDM 7 7
    MIN 10 10
    GOALIES: EDM - DWAYNE R

    Feb 25 2:42 PM


  • NHL
    EDMONTON 0
    MINNESOTA 1
    1ST PRD: MIN - TODD WHITE 11 (PIERRE-MARC BOUCHARD, BRIAN ROLSTON)
    18:21

    Oilers vs. WildFeb 25 2:38 PM