Trying for a third straight win, the Wild look to continue their home dominance of the lowly Oilers on Tuesday night.
Mikko Koivu(notes) had a goal with two assists and Josh Harding(notes) made 36 saves in Minnesota’s 4-2 home win over St. Louis on Sunday. After losing four in a row, the Wild (33-29-6) have won two straight to remain in the hunt for their first postseason appearance since 2008. Minnesota is 11th in the Western Conference, eight points out of the final playoff spot.
“I’m feeling happy,” coach Todd Richards told the Wild’s official Web site. “We found a way to win two games in a row, but our focus has to be on our next game. It doesn’t matter where we are in the standings or what anybody else is doing. We have to worry about ourselves.”
With a visit to playoff contender Nashville on Thursday, Richards hopes his team doesn’t look past Edmonton (21-41-7), which has lost 12 in a row at Minnesota since winning 2-1 there on Jan. 16, 2007.
The Wild, who’ve outscored the Oilers 43-14 during that 12-game home winning streak, have scored seven goals in their last two contests after totaling six during the four-game skid.
“We know we have two solid goaltenders, and we know we can rely on them each and every night,” Koivu said. “We’re trying to make it a little bit easier on them.”
Harding, however, is 1-4-1 with a 2.68 goals-against average versus the Oilers and made 14 saves in a 5-2 loss at Edmonton on Oct. 16. Backstrom, meanwhile, is 14-1-1 with four shutouts and a 1.60 GAA against Edmonton in his career.
The Oilers, 1-14-1 away from home since mid-December, have a league-low 49 points and been eliminated from playoff contention.
“We haven’t recovered from the loss of certain personnel,” coach Pat Quinn said in reference to injuries to stars Ales Hemsky(notes), Sheldon Souray(notes) and Nikolai Khabibulin(notes). “We have got ourselves in a mentality that we’re poor guys that have had some misfortune that’s happened. We’re not mentally tough enough to play through those things for long periods of time.”