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MINNESOTA WILD (40-27-9) at
EDMONTON OILERS (38-33-5)
Start Time: 7:38 p.m. MDT
Television: Sportsnet (HD)
Radio: 630 CHED, Oilers Radio Network and online at edmontonoilers.com. Game Notes | Oilers/Wild Stats Comparison | Player Head-to-Head Statistics The Edmonton Oilers wrap up a four-game homestand by opening a crucial home-and-home series with the Northwest Division leading Minnesota Wild.
In their last game, the Oilers overcame a surge from the Colorado Avalanche that saw their opponents turn a 4-1 Edmonton lead into a 4-4 tie in the opening five minutes of the third period. The victory proved to be an enormous one, moving the Oilers within three points of Colorado for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
LAST GAME: Oilers 7, Avalanche 5
The Oilers have another crack at the Avalanche this upcoming Friday but between now and then they play the Minnesota Wild twice - tonight on home ice and then Wednesday in St. Paul.
With only six games left in the regular season, tonight's game - and every game from here on out - holds a huge amount of importance as the room for error is very marginal.
This is the seventh meeting of the season between these two clubs with the Oilers winning twice (once in a shootout) and Minnesota winning four times, including once in OT.
Just The Facts...
Pre-game comments from Gagner, Gilbert, Nilsson, Pouliot, Roloson & MacTavish: 700K Pre-Game Audio... Pre-Game vs. Minnesota: Sam Gagner
Pre-Game vs. Minnesota: Robert Nilsson
Pre-Game vs. Minnesota: Tom Gilbert
Pre-Game vs. Minnesota: Marc Pouliot
Pre-Game vs. Minnesota: Dwayne Roloson
Pre-Game vs. Minnesota: Craig MacTavish
Pre-Game vs. Minnesota (in order: Gagner, Gilbert, Nilsson, Pouliot, Roloson and MacTavish) News Update...
Western Conference playoff race - The Edmonton Oilers are very much in the playoff hunt only three points behind the Colorado Avalanche for the eighth and final playoff spot. Here's a look at the standings and remaining games for teams in contention. ...more The Other Side
'I am doing well' - Saying, "I want the guys to know I'm thinking about them and rooting for them," Kurtis Foster released a statement on Saturday to update his condition and to thank so many fans and friends for their support ...more Wild falls to Flames - Despite two goals from Benoit Pouliot, including his first in the NHL, and Kim Johnsson, the Wild dropped to 1-1-1 on its four-game trip with a loss, 5-4 (multimedia: photo gallery | click PLAY above for full game highlights), Saturday in Calgary ...more Item of the Game
From the Fans
Click here to read today's gameday thread on the Oilers message board. Odds and Ends
Reasoner's Awarded Goal - In the dying seconds of Saturday's game, Marty Reasoner was hooked from behind by Colorado's Paul Stastny moments before he missed the open net. As a result, he was given an awarded goal. Reasoner and Greene comment on the goal. ...more From the Wire
The Edmonton Oilers are playing their most consistent hockey of the season - they just hope they have enough time to claim a playoff spot.
The Oilers will be trying to inch closer to postseason position on Monday when they host the Northwest Division-leading Minnesota Wild.
Edmonton (38-33-5) has won 11 of its last 14 games, including Saturday's 7-5 victory over Colorado. The Oilers are in last place in the Northwest, but have moved within three points of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Sam Gagner scored twice on Saturday as Edmonton won despite blowing a three-goal lead heading into the third period.
"I'm down to my last nerve," coach Craig MacTavish said. "It wasn't easy. It should have been a lot easier than it was. We had a great start and then we lacked a little composure in those key situations. Perhaps the youthfulness comes into play. The good thing is that we are getting the experience and still winning the games."
The Oilers scored at least seven goals for the second time in three games, including an 8-4 win over Phoenix on Tuesday, and bounced back from Thursday's 4-1 loss to Vancouver. Not counting shootout goals, Edmonton has averaged 3.57 goals during its 14-game run.
For the season, the Oilers are scoring just 2.68 goals per game.
"We had two great periods, scored a lot of goals and then the first 10 of the third they scored three right away and had the momentum," Marc Pouliot, who had a goal and an assist, told the Oilers' official team Web site. "It was a high scoring game, but we'll take it for sure."
Marty Reasoner was awarded a goal with 10 seconds left after being hooked by Paul Stastny while going in with a clear shot at an empty net.
Ales Hemsky, who leads the team with 47 assists and 67 points, had three assists after also getting three against the Coyotes on Tuesday.
"We were able to battle through the adversity and that's a big building block for the team," said goalie Dwayne Roloson, who made 29 saves in his fifth straight start. "We took a couple steps backwards in our last game but we found a way to get moving forward again."
Edmonton has dropped nine of its last 11 against Minnesota (40-27-9), going 2-8-1. However, the Oilers won 4-2 at home on Feb. 12 in the last meeting behind two goals from Kyle Brodziak.
The Wild lost 5-4 to Calgary on Saturday, trimming its division lead over the Flames to just one point. Minnesota and Edmonton are both playing the third game on a season-ending eight-game stretch of division games.
"All the teams keep on winning, it's pretty scary to watch, but if we keep winning there shouldn't be a problem," said Benoit Pouliot, who scored his first two NHL goals.
Defenseman Kim Johnsson also had two goals for Minnesota, which lost in regulation for the first time in eight games (3-1-4).