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At the Rink blog

Wild look to keep up mastery of Oilers, clinch spot

Friday, 04.26.2013 / 1:16 PM

By Dan Myers - NHL.com Correspondent / 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

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2012-2013 At the Rink blog
Wild look to keep up mastery of Oilers, clinch spot

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild can clinch a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a victory Friday at Xcel Energy Center against the Edmonton Oilers.

The Wild currently occupy the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, tied with the Columbus Blue Jackets and one point back of the Detroit Red Wings. Minnesota has a game in hand on both teams and play at the Colorado Avalanche Saturday.

Minnesota could climb as high as sixth in the west if it wins both of its remaining games and the Los Angeles Kings defeat the San Jose Sharks Saturday.

It would be somewhat surprising if the Wild didn't clinch Friday. Not only are the Oilers in a deep funk as their season draws to a close, Minnesota has won 19 of its last 20 meetings with Edmonton in this building. Goaltender Niklas Backstrom is 17-0 at home against the Oilers, with a 1.34 goals against average and a save percentage approaching 95 percent.

That's not good news for Edmonton, which is 1-9-0 in its last 10 games and has scored just 13 goals in that stretch.

Here is a look at how the lineups could look for both teams this evening:

OILERS

Taylor Hall - Sam Gagner - Jordan Eberle

Magnus Paajarvi - Shawn Horcoff - Nail Yakupov

Teemu Hartikainen - Anton Lander - Ryan Jones

Ryan Smyth - Jerred Smithson - Mike Brown

Ladislav Smid - Jeff Petry

Nick Schultz - Justin Schultz

Mark Fistric - Corey Potter

Nikolai Khabibulin

Devan Dubnyk

Scratched: Andy Sutton, Ryan Whitney, Lennart Petrell

Injured: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (shoulder)

WILD

Zach Parise - Mikko Koivu - Charlie Coyle

Cal Clutterbuck - Matt Cullen - Devin Setoguchi

Pierre-Marc Bouchard - Kyle Brodziak - Torrey Mitchell

Mike Rupp - Zenon Konopka - Jake Dowell

Ryan Suter - Jonas Brodin

Clayton Stoner - Jared Spurgeon

Justin Falk - Tom Gilbert

Niklas Backstrom

Josh Harding

Scratched: Carson McMillan, Brett Clark, Nate Prosser

Injured: Jason Pominville (upper-body), Dany Heatley (shoulder)

Quote of the Day

The groove of being behind a bench is going to be interesting at first, but thank God we have a few exhibition games to get rid of those cobwebs. Overall the excitement of it all and the freshness and coming back refreshed, all those things are going to be assets. If [the players] come ready to give their best effort in practice and games, good things are going to happen. I'm always looking for results. It's not always on the scoreboard. It's winning and building something.

— Bryan Trottier on making his return to coaching as an assistant with the Sabres