Oilers
Wild
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Backstrom gets best of Oilers once again

Apr 6, 2007 - 8:25 AM
ST. PAUL, Minnesota (Ticker) -- Rookie Niklas Backstrom continued his stellar preparation for the postseason.

Backstrom stopped 22 shots for his fifth shutout of the season as the Minnesota Wild claimed a 3-0 victory over the Edmonton Oilers.

It was the second shutout over the Oilers in the past three days for Backstrom, who had 25 saves in a 3-0 win on Tuesday. He is 4-0 this season against Edmonton.

Backstrom credits his defense for helping him with the back-to-back shutouts.

"I think the guys in front of me, they're working really hard to block the shots, and help me see the pucks," he said. "And when there are rebounds, they are there to clear it away, so it's great to play behind these guys. I like to see the puck. That's the biggest thing."

Improving to 17-3-3 since the start of February, the 29-year-old goaltender has stepped up in stellar fashion in place of the injured Manny Fernandez, helping the Wild make a run for the Northwest Division title.

"He's been good," Minnesota coach Jacque Lemaire said. "He's been steady. The guys have a lot of confidence in him."

"You need your goalie having confidence and playing well," defenseman Keith Carney said. "He has had a strong year, all season. It's great to see he is focused and he is preparing for the playoffs. He controls his rebounds, and he does everything well."

With its latest win, Minnesota (47-26-8) closed within a point of division-leading Vancouver (48-24-7), which dropped a 3-1 decision to Colorado on Thursday.

The Wild will finish the regular season against St. Louis, while the Canucks have two road games remaining at San Jose and Phoenix.

Mark Parrish opened the scoring 5:57 into the first period with his 19th goal of the season. Carney also scored to provide a 2-0 advantage heading into the second.

"I am a little bit more focused on the win and the style of play than starts right now," Parrish said. "Goals are goals, and assists are assists. I am worried about getting my game perfect for the playoffs."

Despite playing just 47 games this season, Marian Gaborik registered his 30th goal midway through the second. It was the second straight 30-goal season for the talented but oft-injured right wing.

Jussi Markkanen finished with 26 saves for Edmonton, which lost for the sixth straight time.

"We haven't had any scoring for 15, 20 games, so it is tough," Markkanen said. "It is tough to win any hockey games. At least, we were kind of in there. They got their third goal pretty early, so it was easier for them."

Overall, the Oilers have just one win and one loss in overtime over their last 19 games and will miss the playoffs for the third time in their last 10 seasons.

Edmonton will play in its season finale at Calgary on Saturday.

"I want to see a good, spirited effort again," Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said. "We've got a ton of young guys in the lineup, and sometimes they don't know how to act in situations. Well, they don't know how to act in situations."








  • NHL
    EDMONTON 0
    MINNESOTA 3
    2ND PRD: MIN - MARIAN GABORIK 30 (WES WALZ, BRENT BURNS) 9:58

    Oilers vs. WildApr 5 9:15 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    EDMONTON 0 0
    MINNESOTA 2 2 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: MIN - MARK PARRISH 19 (MIKKO KOIVU, KURTIS FOSTER) 5:57
    MIN - KEITH CARNEY 4 (UNASSISTED) 18:51
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    EDM 5 5
    MIN 12

    Apr 5 8:39 PM


  • NHL
    EDMONTON 0
    MINNESOTA 2
    1ST PRD: MIN - KEITH CARNEY 4 (UNASSISTED) 18:51

    Oilers vs. WildApr 5 8:39 PM


  • NHL
    EDMONTON 0
    MINNESOTA 1
    1ST PRD: MIN - MARK PARRISH 19 (MIKKO KOIVU, KURTIS FOSTER) 5:57

    Oilers vs. WildApr 5 8:17 PM