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GAME: Edmonton Oilers (32-22-10) at Minnesota Wild (30-28-7).
TIME: Sunday, 7 p.m. EST.
New Oilers goaltender Dwayne Roloson won't have to wait long for a chance to pay back his former team.
Roloson will likely face the Wild for the first time since being dealt before Thursday's trade deadline as Edmonton faces Minnesota in the start of consecutive games between the teams at the Xcel Energy Center.
After stellar seasons in 2002-03 and 2003-04, when he went 42-34-19 with nine shutouts, he slumped badly - going 6-17-1 with a 3.00 goals-against average - on a team noted for its defensive play.
"It's nice to have it done and actually know where I'm going to play," he said after being traded Wednesday for a 2006 first-round draft pick and future considerations. "I'm not going to be here, unfortunately, but at the same time I'm going to a team that has a chance to make the playoffs and win the Stanley Cup."
Roloson was expected to shore up shaky goaltending in Edmonton, but has continued to struggle. He has given up nine goals in two games, including an improbable goal to Columbus' Rostislav Klesla in the final minute of a 4-3 overtime loss on Saturday.
After failing to convert an almost point-blank shot into an empty net, Klesla retrieved the puck behind the goal line and ricocheted a shot off Roloson, who responded by breaking his stick in half.
"It hit my hand and went in the net," he said after Edmonton's third straight loss and seventh in nine games. "I had my stick there. That's the way the sticks are designed. The handle part is narrower, and that's where it hit."
Sergei Samsonov, another major acquisiton prior to the deadline, had two assists in his Edmonton debut.
The Wild can make a major push toward the final Western Conference playoff spot with a sweep of the Oilers. Minnesota begins play with 67 points and in 12th place in the West, seven points behind Edmonton.
The Wild, though, are coming off their second straight overtime loss after falling 2-1 to St. Louis on Friday.
"This is critical to play perfect in overtime to get out of this slump," said Manny Fernandez, who became the team's clear-cut starter after Roloson was dealt. "It's like we have a cloud over our heads right now."
Overall, the Wild have dropped six of their last seven, with three losses coming in overtime.
Marian Gaborik tied his own franchise record by scoring his 30th goal in the loss to the Blues. Gaborik reached the 30-goal mark in 78 games in 2001-02 and in 81 games the next season.
He has points in all four games this season against the Oilers, tallying four goals and two assists.
Minnesota will again host Edmonton on Tuesday.
STANDINGS: Oilers - 74 points, 4th place, 5 PB, Northwest Division. Wild - 67 points, 5th place, 12 PB, Northwest Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Oilers - Ryan Smyth, 30 goals; Ales Hemsky, 48 assists and 64 points; Jaroslav Spacek, 84 PIM. Wild - Gaborik, 30 goals; Brian Rolston, 40 assists and 65 points; Derek Boogaard, 139 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Oilers - Power play: 18 percent (72 for 401), 13th in NHL. Penalty killing: 83.0 percent (318 for 382), 12th. Wild - Power play: 17.4 percent (63 for 362), 19th. Penalty killing: 89.2 percent (314 for 352), 1st.
GOALTENDERS: Oilers - Roloson (6-18-2, 1 SO, 3.11 GAA); Jussi Markkanen (15-12-6, 0, 3.13). Wild - Fernandez (24-11-6, 1, 2.23); Josh Harding (no record).
SEASON SERIES: Wild, 3-1.
LAST MEETING: Feb. 10; Wild, 6-3. At Edmonton, Alberta, Pierre-Marc Bouchard set a team record by scoring goals 16 seconds apart, and Roloson ended a four-game losing streak with 23 saves. Jarrett Stoll had two assists for the Oilers.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Oilers - 17-11-4 on the road; Wild - 18-12-2 at home.
|Apr 06 '06||EDM 1 at MIN 2 - SO|
|Mar 28 '06||MIN 3 at EDM 2|
|Mar 14 '06||EDM 2 at MIN 1|
|Mar 12 '06||EDM 3 at MIN 4|
|Feb 10 '06||MIN 6 at EDM 3|
|Dec 28 '05||MIN 4 at EDM 2|
|Dec 26 '05||MIN 4 at EDM 1|
|Nov 23 '05||EDM 4 at MIN 3|