The Oilers and Wild are set to clash for the second time this season after Minnesota claimed a 2-1 shootout victory at home over Edmonton a week ago, with Devin Setoguchi's fourth-round winner handing the Oilers their 17th straight loss in Minnesota. That victory also ran the Wild's current winning streak in this series to seven straight, including three in a row at Rexall Place.
However, Minnesota is only 4-6-1 in its last 11 trips to Edmonton and the Oilers hope that trend continues as they look to avoid a second straight loss and fourth in five games.
Edmonton appeared like it would escape Calgary with a victory on Tuesday on Tom Gilbert's first-period goal, but the Flames' Jay Bouwmeester and Alex Tanguay scored 89 seconds apart late in regulation to hand the Oilers a 2-1 loss.
"We got that early goal and it just kind of seemed like we were just trying to hold on," said Shawn Horcoff. "We weren't skating like we can, we didn't get pucks deep enough, we didn't make it hard enough for them to come 200 feet."
Defenseman Ryan Whitney did return to the lineup for the first time since Dec. 28 because of ankle surgery, calling the loss a disappointing one.
"It's just a game we got to win, it's a frustrating loss," said Whitney. "We played pretty well for 50 minutes and then we don't even get a point out of it. It's games you've got to learn how to finish off."
Edmonton kicks off a four-game homestand against a Minnesota club that suffered a 4-2 home defeat to Pittsburgh on Tuesday. It was the Wild's fourth loss in five games.
"We came out a little flat tonight, and it is too bad. They are definitely a good team. You can't take anything away from them," said Minnesota's Greg Zanon.
The Wild went 0-for-5 on the power play, leaving them without a goal in their last 10 chances on the man advantage. Head coach Mike Yeo believes his players are trying to hard to score.
"I think the one thing that will help us right now is a little less focus on I'm going to be the guy to make the play. Everybody wants to score a goal when they're out there obviously," said Yeo.
Backstrom made 21 saves in last week's win over the Oilers, giving him a lifetime mark of 19-2-1 with a 1.70 goals-against average and four shutouts versus them.