Series (Game 4 of 6)

Minnesota leads 6-0

Game 1: Thursday, October 14th
Game 2: Thursday, October 21st
Game 3: Tuesday, January 18th
Game 4: Tuesday, February 22nd
Game 5: Thursday, March 31st
Game 6: Friday, April 8th

Oilers 1

(19-33-8, 46 pts)

Wild 4

(32-22-6, 70 pts)

8:00 PM ET, February 22, 2011

Xcel Energy Center, Saint Paul, Minnesota

1 2 3 T
EDM 0 1 01
MIN 0 1 34

P. Bouchard (Wild - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 2

M. Havlat (Wild - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

J. Spurgeon (Wild - D): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Oilers-Wild Preview


The Minnesota Wild have dominated the Edmonton Oilers in St. Paul over the last four years. The Oilers, though, could test them Tuesday night at Xcel Energy Center.

Locked in a tight race in the Western Conference, the Wild will try to win their 15th in a row at home over Edmonton, which is enjoying its role as spoiler.

Since a 2-1 loss Jan. 16, 2007, Minnesota (31-22-6) is undefeated at home against the Oilers (19-32-8). Edmonton has scored only 18 goals during its 14-game skid in St. Paul.

In the teams' only meeting there this season, the Wild won 4-2 on Oct. 14 as captain Mikko Koivu had two goals and an assist.

Minnesota's top-line center is not expected to be available for Tuesday's matchup after reportedly suffering a broken left index finger in Friday's 5-1 win over Anaheim.

The Wild hadn't played all season without Koivu, second on the team with 49 points, until Sunday's 2-1 shootout loss to Central Division-leading Detroit. Former Oiler Kyle Brodziak is likely to continue filling in for Koivu alongside Andrew Brunette and Antti Miettinen, with the Wild among a handful of teams tied for seventh in the West.

"When (Koivu is) gone, we want to step up and help him and make sure we're still in the race or in the playoffs when he comes back," Niklas Backstrom said after making 38 saves Sunday.

Backstrom is 6-3-1 with a 1.49 goals-against average since missing nine games with a hip problem. His return from that injury came a day after the Wild won 4-1 in Edmonton on Jan. 18 behind rookie Anton Khudobin's 31 saves.

Backstrom started and won the other two meetings this season -- both in October -- and is 16-2-1 with a 1.76 GAA lifetime versus the Oilers. He has won all 12 times he's faced them in St. Paul.

That streak could be in danger if the Oilers' offense continues to click. After being held to four goals and going winless halfway through a six-game homestand, Edmonton scored 13 while winning the last three.

Taylor Hall, last year's No. 1 overall pick, netted three power-play goals in the third period to power the Oilers past Atlanta 5-3 on Saturday.

Edmonton's last four-game winning streak was a season-best 4-0-0 run Nov. 29-Dec. 4.

"We're a team that is fighting to gain respect and create an identity, and at the same time throw a wrench in other teams' plans," said coach Tom Renney, whose team has a league-low 46 points. "Taylor seized the opportunity to really sign this one."

The Wild also have to keep an eye on All-Star forward Ales Hemsky, who has a team-best four goals and seven points during the Oilers' winning streak. Since suffering a concussion in the Jan. 18 matchup with Minnesota and missing the next four games, Hemsky has 11 points in 10 contests.

Devan Dubnyk turned away 28 shots Saturday and could be in net again for Edmonton considering Nikolai Khabibulin's struggles against Minnesota. The veteran has a 3.75 GAA while losing all three games versus the Wild this season and is winless in seven career starts in St. Paul.

Since being acquired from the Oilers prior to last season, Brodziak's only two goals in nine games versus his former team both came in a 4-2 victory in Edmonton on Oct. 21.