Oilers go Wild once again
80 down, two to go.
With only a couple of games remaining in the 2006-07 schedule, the Edmonton Oilers are looking for that spark to head into the summer on a positive note.
On Wednesday, the club recalled forward Rob Schremp who is expected to make his NHL debut tonight. Schremp will likely see some power play time as head coach Craig MacTavish looks for some answers offensively.
"You get quality chances, you've got to put quality shots in to score," said MacTavish. "
MacTavish was quick to point out that Schremp, Gilbert or any of the other young players are not the keys to the team's success, however.
"When your veterans don't provide anything, literally, in the hockey game and your young guys are holding their own that's an indictment of them. It's not an indictment of the situation," he continued.
Nik Backstrom's performance was solid on Tuesday, but MacTavish was also quick to note that the team needs to show more offensively in order to be successful against him.
"We have a history of making the opposition's dream come true. That was pretty much it (Tuesday)," said MacTavish.
Humorously, Wild head coach Jacques Lemaire also understated his goaltender's performance.
"He's a good player. He's okay," Lemaire said on Wednesday about the league's leading netminder.
The rookie Backstrom notched his fourth shutout of the season in Tuesday's 3-0 victory. Minnesota had a goal in each period to pace themselves to the win.
"We just played enough to win," the Wild coach remarked. "We don't want to see if (Backstrom) can do it every game."
With 100 points, the Wild are essentially cemented into the seventh seed with an outside chance of catching Dallas for sixth.
"The games don't mean a lot but what it means for me is we've got to get to our game that will be close for the playoffs," said Lemaire.
ROSTER UPDATES: Edmonton – Shawn Horcoff and Petr Sykora are both questionable. Mathieu Roy (concussion) is doubtful. Jarret Stoll (concussion) is out. Ethan Moreau (shoulder) is out. Steve Staios (knee) is out. Daniel Tjarnqvist (sports hernia) is out. Jan Hejda (shoulder) is out. Petr Nedved (knee) is out; Minnesota – Manny Fernandez (knee) is doubtful. Kim Johnsson (flu) is doubtful.
OILERS TO WATCH: Rob Schremp could make his NHL debut tonight for the Oilers. In 67 games with Wilkes-Barre of the American Hockey League, Schremp had 16 goals and 50 points... Dwayne Roloson could get his final start of the season tonight versus his old team. The former Wild netminder has played well of late with his most recent outing being a 2-1 defeat against Chicago.
WILD TO WATCH: Goaltender Josh Harding might get the start tonight for the Wild. In his last appearance against the Oilers, he shut them out on March 3. Harding has spent most of the season with the Houston Aeros of the AHL but has looked good at the NHL level. In seven games, he has a 3-2-1 record with a 1.16 goals-against average and .960 save percentage... However, the Oilers wouldn't be getting a break of Niklas Backstrom got the call once again. Two nights ago, Backstrom also shut the Oilers out while making several brilliant stops. It was his second straight shutout with the previous one coming in a 1-0 shootout loss to Calgary. Backstrom leads the league with a .927 save percentage and is tied with Dominik Hasek in GAA at 2.05.