Wild aim to end skid in Edmonton
The Minnesota Wild hope to put the brakes on a season-high game losing streak when they close out a three-game road trip tonight against the Edmonton Oilers at Rexall Place.
Minnesota is 0-3-2 since ripping off seven wins in a row and dropped a 2-1 decision at Calgary on Tuesday. Pierre-Marc Bouchard scored the lone goal for Minnesota and Josh Harding made 28 saves.
"We were good enough to win that hockey game," Wild head coach Mike Yeo said. "We got away from our game and didn't execute the right way a little bit in the second period and that was the difference."
The Wild are winless in their last three road games and own a 10-6-2 record away from home this season. They still lead the Northwest Division by one point over Vancouver.
Center Mikko Koivu is expected to miss tonight's game with a leg issue and hasn't played in the last three games. Koivu has eight goals and 20 assists this season and last played Dec. 14 in a 4-3 overtime loss versus Chicago. He is riding a six-game points streak (4g, 4a).
Edmonton looks to end a four-game slide tonight and has lost nine of its last 11 contests, including Monday's 3-2 home loss versus Detroit.
Ryan Jones and Jordan Eberle scored and goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin collected 25 saves.
"We played a pretty good game," Eberle said. "We played well in the third and we just couldn't find anything around the net and obviously you let a team like that get a point shot and it seemed like they were tipping everything in sight, so yeah, it's frustrating for sure."
The Oilers are last in the Northwest Division and will begin a seven-game road trip Monday against the Canucks, Wild, Islanders, Blackhawks, Sabres, Blues and Stars. Edmonton is a solid 9-6-2 at home this season as opposed to its 5-10-1 road ledger.
Center Sam Gagner (neck) is doubtful for Thursday and forward Ales Hemsky (illness) is listed as questionable. On a positive note, Eberle has 10 goals and 13 assists in his last 17 games.
Minnesota is 3-1 against the division-rival Oilers this season and has won 15 of the previous 20 meetings between the two clubs. Backstrom is 3-0-0 against the Oilers this season with a 1.24 goals-against average and .952 save percentage. The Wild are unbeaten in five straight trips to Rexall Place.