(Sports Network) - The Minnesota Wild will try to nail down a playoff spot on
Friday, as they host the Edmonton Oilers in the regular-season finale at Xcel
With 53 points, the Wild are even with Columbus and one point behind Detroit,
but Minnesota could claim one of the final two playoff spots with a win on
Friday. The Wild are the only team in that group with two games left, as the
Red Wings and Blue Jackets are both idle on Friday ahead of their regular-
season finales on Saturday.
Detroit will visit Dallas to close its schedule, while the Blue Jackets will
be at home against Nashville. If the Wild fail to secure a playoff spot
tonight, a win tomorrow in Colorado would serve the same purpose as Minnesota
holds the tiebreaker over Columbus.
Getting two points against tonight's opponent should be a cinch, if the Wild
are able to continue their recent mastery of Edmonton. Minnesota is 3-0
against the Oilers this season and has outscored Edmonton by a combined 12-6
margin during the series. The Wild have claimed four straight and 13 of the
last 15 meetings in this series overall, while the Oilers have lost two in a
row and 19 of 20 in St. Paul.
Minnesota was able to halt a two-game slide and win for the third time in five
games with Tuesday's 2-1 home win over the Los Angeles Kings. Niklas Backstrom
posted 22 saves to backstop the Wild to the important win at Xcel Energy
Cal Clutterbuck and Charlie Coyle each scored once to help the Wild get their
playoff push back on track.
"That's how you respond," Wild coach Mike Yeo said of his team rebounding from
back-to-back losses. "You have to deal with adversity."
Minnesota did lose forward Jason Pominville to a head injury on Tuesday, when
he was elbowed up high by Los Angeles captain Dustin Brown, who was suspended
two games for the hit. Meanwhile, Pominville, who was acquired from Buffalo at
the trade deadline, is day-to-day and he figures to be a game-time decision
The Wild are playing their final home of the regular season tonight before
completing the schedule Saturday at Colorado. Minnesota, which is guaranteed
to begin the playoffs on the road if it qualifies, is 14-7-2 as the host this
season compared to an 11-11-1 mark on the road.
The Oilers, who are tied for 13th in the West, have lost three straight and
nine of their last 10 games. The club was dealt a 4-1 setback by visiting
Chicago on Wednesday. The easy win allowed the Blackhawks to clinch the
Nail Yakupov scored the only goal of the game for the Oilers, while Devan
Dubnyk allowed three goals on 29 shots in the loss.
"I wish I had an answer for you," said Dubnyk. "We need to be a group of
professionals in here and we need to be proud. These games are learning
experiences for us and it's not acceptable for any of us with the way we've
been playing lately."
Edmonton, which will complete its season Saturday against the visiting
Vancouver Canucks, is 9-11-3 as the road team this season.
The Sports Network