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Radivojevic, Koivu help Wild regain division lead

Mar 27, 2008 - 4:10 AM
ST. PAUL, Minnesota (Ticker) -- The Minnesota Wild are back atop the air-tight Northwest Division.

Branko Radivojevic had a goal and an assist and Niklas Backstrom stopped 32 shots as the Wild posted a 3-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday in the finale of a home-and-home series.

Defenseman Sean Hill and Brian Rolston also scored and Mikko Koivu collected three assists for the Wild (41-28-9), who moved one point ahead of idle Calgary (40-27-10) for first place in the Northwest.

"I think everyone forgot to look at the stats the last couple days because it seems like it changes every hour," Backstrom said. "You wake up in the morning and it's different. (You) just try to focus on your games and what you can do, and if you play well and get some wins, we've got a good chance of being up there."

"The next game gets bigger, and the next game gets bigger, and the next game gets bigger," Rolston added.

Fernando Pisani scored the lone goal for Edmonton (39-34-5), which remained three points out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference with four games remaining. The Oilers, who entered having won 12 of their previous 15 games, lost despite outshooting the Wild, 33-21.

"The one thing they did a heck of a lot better than us was capitalize on chances," Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish said. "We gave them two 2-on-1s they capitalized on. Outside of that, we didn't have any puck luck."

Two nights after spotting Edmonton an early 3-0 lead on the road, Minnesota wasted little time getting on the scoreboard in this one.

"I know a lot was made of that game in Edmonton," Rolston said. "We were on our heels, we didn't look good, we didn't have the energy, and that was the bottom line. Those games happen. It was good we put that one behind us and came out with a big effort tonight."

Radivojevic opened the scoring at 3:01 of the first period, when he converted a nice pass from All-Star Marian Gaborik.

Gaborik raced up the right wing and headed toward the net and was met by goaltender Dwayne Roloson. He made a backhand pass to the trailing Radivojevic, who fired the puck into a vacant net for a 1-0 lead.

Koivu helped Minnesota double its advantage by setting up Hill's power-play goal at 7:19 of the second.

Koivu took a pass in the crease and deked before dishing back to Hill, who easily beat an out-of-position Roloson with a wrist shot from the left faceoff circle for his second tally of the campaign.

Rolston made it 3-0 with his 29th of the season, a shorthander at 10:55 of the middle period.

Scoring shorthanded against an Oilers team that went 0-for-6 on the power play turned out to be the back-breaker.

"They got to us quickly and pressured us quickly, and the few times we got (the power play) set up, we turned the puck over," MacTavish said. "To have that many opportunities on the power play and end up giving up one is tough to overcome."

Pisani got Edmonton on the board with a wrist shot from the slot at 4:40 of the third, but it was all the Oilers could muster.

Roloson stopped 18 shots for Edmonton, which had scored 21 goals in its previous four games. It was just his second loss in seven starts since replacing the injured Mathieu Garon.








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    EDMONTON 0 0 1 1
    MINNESOTA 2 1 0 3 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: MIN - BRANKO RADIVOJEVIC 7 (MARIAN GABORIK, MIKKO KOIVU)
    3:01
    MIN - (PP) SEAN HILL 2 (MIKKO KOIVU, BRANKO RADIVOJEVIC)
    7:19
    2ND PRD: MIN - (SH) BRIAN ROLSTON 29 (MIKKO KOIVU) 10:55
    3RD PRD: EDM - FERNANDO PISANI 13

    Mar 26 10:28 PM


  • NHL
    EDMONTON 1
    MINNESOTA 3
    3RD PRD: EDM - FERNANDO PISANI 13 (MARC-ANTOINE POULIOT, MARTY
    REASONER) 4:40

    Oilers 1, Wild 3  3rd - 15:20Mar 26 10:00 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    EDMONTON 0 0 0
    MINNESOTA 2 1 3 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: MIN - BRANKO RADIVOJEVIC 7 (MARIAN GABORIK, MIKKO KOIVU)
    3:01
    MIN - (PP) SEAN HILL 2 (MIKKO KOIVU, BRANKO RADIVOJEVIC)
    7:19
    2ND PRD: MIN - (SH) BRIAN ROLSTON 29 (MIKKO KOIVU) 10:55
    SHOTS ON GOAL:

    Mar 26 9:33 PM


  • NHL
    EDMONTON 0
    MINNESOTA 3
    2ND PRD: MIN - (SH) BRIAN ROLSTON 29 (MIKKO KOIVU) 10:55

    Oilers 0, Wild 3  2nd - 9:05Mar 26 9:19 PM
  • 10
    roots
    Againigan Added 5 roots

    Oilers 0, Wild 2  End of 1stMar 26 9:00 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 - BRANKO RADIVOJEVIC 7 (MARIAN GABORIK, MIKKO KOIVU)
    3:01
    MIN - (PP) SEAN HILL 2 (MIKKO KOIVU, BRANKO RADIVOJEVIC)
    7:19
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    EDM 11

    Mar 26 8:42 PM


  • NHL
    EDMONTON 0
    MINNESOTA 2
    1ST PRD: MIN - (PP) SEAN HILL 2 (MIKKO KOIVU, BRANKO RADIVOJEVIC) 7:19

    Oilers 0, Wild 2  1st - 12:41Mar 26 8:20 PM


  • NHL
    EDMONTON 0
    MINNESOTA 1
    1ST PRD: MIN - BRANKO RADIVOJEVIC 7 (UNASSISTED) 3:01

    Oilers 0, Wild 1  1st - 16:59Mar 26 8:13 PM
  • 5
    roots
    Flyboy Added 5 roots

    Oilers vs. WildMar 21 2:57 PM