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Wild's Backstrom blanks Oilers

Apr 4, 2007 - 5:48 AM
ST. PAUL, Minnesota (Ticker) -- Niklas Backstrom kept the Edmonton Oilers skidding.

Backstrom stopped 25 shots for his fourth shutout of the season in the Minnesota Wild's 3-0 victory over the Oilers.

Edmonton has lost 17 of 18 games and eight consecutive road games - one shy of the franchise record set in 1980.

"It was a good step for us," Backstrom said of the win. "Every day is big to help us prepare for (the playoffs) next week."

Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said his team did little to challenge Backstrom.

"We have a history of being the opposition goaltender's dream come true," he said. "You're getting a lot of shots, so your save percentage is growing, and at the end of the day, you're maybe forced to make two tough saves. That was pretty much it tonight. He's been strong, we had some cross-crease passes that he was out there pretty quick."

The Oilers have been shutout five times in their last 18 games.

Mikko Koivu's power-play goal with 4:09 remaining in the first period was all Backstrom needed. Kurtis Foster scored in the second and Branko Radivojevic tallied a goal in the third. Radivojevic said the team hopes its netminder will continue his strong play in the weeks ahead.

"(Backstrom's) unbelievable," Radivojevic said. "He made a couple of big stops. He's confident right now and hopefully he'll be like that in the playoffs too."

Minnesota (46-26-8) already has clinched a playoff spot in the Western Conference and is holding down the seventh seed. The Wild trails the San Jose Sharks (49-26-4), Dallas Stars (48-25-6) by two points for fifth place.

The Oilers will miss the playoffs after appearing in the Stanley Cup finals a season ago.

"When your veterans don't provide anything in the hockey game and your guys are holding their own, that's an indictment against them," MacTavish said. "There are some guys that haven't played any good all year. It's clear that guys are not interested in trying to resurrect their game at this point. You don't need a lot to win a hockey game in today's NHL, and we need something out of our veterans.

The Wild hold a 5-2 advantage over Edmonton in the season series. The teams meet again Thursday in Minnesota.








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    EDMONTON 0 0 0 0
    MINNESOTA 1 1 1 3 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: MIN - (PP) MIKKO KOIVU 20 (MARIAN GABORIK, BRIAN ROLSTON)
    15:51
    2ND PRD: MIN - KURTIS FOSTER 3 (UNASSISTED) 17:38
    3RD PRD: MIN - (PP) BRANKO RADIVOJEVIC 10 (MARIAN GABORIK, BRENT
    BURNS) 5:51
    POWER-PLAY CONVERSIONS:

    Apr 3 10:30 PM


  • NHL
    EDMONTON 0
    MINNESOTA 3
    3RD PRD: MIN - (PP) BRANKO RADIVOJEVIC 10 (MARIAN GABORIK, BRENT
    BURNS) 5:51

    Oilers vs. WildApr 3 10:07 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 - (PP) MIKKO KOIVU 20 (MARIAN GABORIK, BRIAN ROLSTON)
    15:51
    2ND PRD: MIN - KURTIS FOSTER 3 (UNASSISTED) 17:38
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    EDM 4 16 20

    Apr 3 9:39 PM


  • NHL
    EDMONTON 0
    MINNESOTA 2
    2ND PRD: MIN - KURTIS FOSTER 3 (UNASSISTED) 17:38

    Oilers vs. WildApr 3 9:36 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 - (PP) MIKKO KOIVU 20 (MARIAN GABORIK, BRIAN ROLSTON)
    15:51
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    EDM 4 4
    MIN 10 10
    GOALIES: EDM - JUSSI MA

    Apr 3 8:42 PM


  • NHL
    EDMONTON 0
    MINNESOTA 1
    1ST PRD: MIN - (PP) MIKKO KOIVU 20 (MARIAN GABORIK, BRIAN ROLSTON)
    15:51

    Oilers vs. WildApr 3 8:36 PM