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Edmonton
Oilers
32-43-7
Minnesota
Wild
48-26-8

20 SOG
27 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
EDM
MIN
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Oilers-Wild Preview

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 2:49 AM

Associated Press

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Oilers-Wild Preview
Edmonton Oilers vs. Minnesota Wild

The Minnesota Wild have played much better on the road lately after struggling earlier this season. Still, playing at home is much more to their liking.

The Wild look to improve one of the NHL's best home records Sunday when they face the Northwest Division rival Edmonton Oilers.

Although they have improved their play on the road, the Wild (34-23-5) would much rather be home, where they are 21-5-4 this season, including 4-0-2 in their last six. Only Detroit (three) has fewer home losses in regulation.

Second-period goals by Wyatt Smith and Todd White helped Minnesota continue its strong road play Thursday with a 4-3 victory over Colorado.

Adam Hall and Mikko Koivu also scored for the Wild, who have won nine of 12 away from home since an 11-game road losing streak.

"They are never easy. They aren't easy, and this one wasn't easy," Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire said.

Niklas Backstrom made his 10th straight start in net for the injured Manny Fernandez, who is out with a left knee sprain. Backstrom faced 16 shots through two periods and 15 in the third.

"They came at us," Backstrom said. "I didn't think they'd ever let up before the end of the game."

An 8-2-1 surge has moved Minnesota into sole possession of second place in the Northwest, three points behind Vancouver. The Wild also have moved seven points ahead of ninth-place Edmonton in the Western Conference.

Smith's goal was his first in 92 games since Feb. 13, 2004, when he was with Nashville.

"I'm here to provide other things," Smith said. "I know it is a thankless job. I have a role and I understand it. I have to accept the opportunities I have and finish and play hard. Most guys have pucks go off pads or sticks. I haven't had those kinds of breaks."

This will be the final stop on a seven-game, 14-day road trip for the Oilers (30-26-6), who improved to 2-2-2 on the trek with a 4-3 shootout victory over Detroit on Friday.

Ryan Smyth scored the only goal of the shootout and Dwayne Roloson stopped 27 shots as Edmonton ended the Red Wings' 13-game home win streak.

"It's a huge win for us. Everybody that we're chasing got points last night, we were able to stay in the pack with them," Roloson said. "We were able to play smart and simplify our game and capitalize on our chances."

The only bad news for the Oilers was the potential loss of right wing Joffrey Lupul, who left the game in the first period with a concussion after taking a hard check from Detroit's Niklas Kronwall. Lupul is tied for third on the team with 15 goals.

Edmonton begins a four-game homestand Tuesday against Phoenix before facing Minnesota on Thursday.

The Oilers have won two of three meetings with the Wild this season, including a 2-1 victory at Minnesota on Jan. 16. Edmonton has fared very well at Minnesota, losing only twice in regulation in 15 games - 10-2-2 with one tie.

2006-2007 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Apr 05 '07 EDM 0 at MIN 3 M. Parrish
Apr 03 '07 EDM 0 at MIN 3 M. Koivu
Mar 15 '07 MIN 2 at EDM 1 M. Gaborik
Mar 01 '07 MIN 5 at EDM 0 P. Demitra
Feb 25 '07 EDM 1 at MIN 4 B. Burns
Jan 16 '07 EDM 2 at MIN 1 M. Bergeron
Jan 12 '07 MIN 4 at EDM 2 K. Carney
Dec 14 '06 MIN 1 at EDM 3 J. Stoll