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Oilers hope to make it three in a row against Wild

by Brian Compton
OILERS (18-31-6) at WILD (27-25-4)

Last 10: Edmonton 2-7-1; Minnesota 4-5-1.

Season Series: This is the third of six meetings between the Northwest Division rivals. After Edmonton earned a 5-2 win on Oct. 16, Minnesota responded with a 3-1 victory on Dec. 23 at Xcel Energy Center.

Big Story: Edmonton has won two in a row. No, that is not a misprint. After going winless in January, the Oilers improved to 2-0 in February with Wednesday night's 1-0 win against Philadelphia at Rexall Place.

Team Scope:

Oilers: After ending a 13-game skid on Monday night with a 4-2 win against Carolina, Edmonton made it two in a row behind a 33-save performance by Jeff Deslauriers. The teams avoided overtime when Ryan Potulny broke a scoreless tie via the power play with just 17 seconds left in regulation.

"When you lose 12 or 13 in row it does a lot to your confidence late in games," Oilers forward Sam Gagner said after Wednesday's win. "Being able to pull that one out against Carolina gave us a lot of confidence and it showed. Tonight we weren't tentative. We were playing aggressive right to the very end. We were able to draw a penalty and score on the power play."

Wild: With both of its goaltenders suffering from injuries, Minnesota needed Wade Dubielewicz to go right from the American Hockey League on Monday to the big club on Tuesday, and the quick turnaround showed. Dubielewicz allowed four goals on 18 shots as the Wild lost in Dallas for the 12th straight time in a 4-2 decision at the American Airlines Center.

Niklas Backstrom and Josh Harding had been the only goalies to play for the Wild since March 6, 2007, a streak of 234 games.

"It's disappointing," Dubielewicz said. "I thought we put out a pretty good effort. We should have won this game. You double them in shots ... we battled hard enough where I had to come up with one more save, and I couldn't do it. That's pretty tough to swallow right now."

Who's Hot: Gagner has a goal and an assist in the last two games. … Guillaume Latendresse has two goals and an assist in his last four games for Minnesota, while Andrew Brunette has earned points in three of the last four.

Injury Report: Oilers goalie Nikolai Khabibulin (back) and forward Ales Hemsky (shoulder) are done for the season, while defenseman Sheldon Souray (hand) is out until March. Steve Staios and Ladislav Smid are both suffering from concussions and are day-to-day. Ryan Stone (knee) is out indefinitely. … Harding is bothered by a hip injury but backed up Dubielewicz on Tuesday, while Backstrom has battled both back issues and the flu. Clayton Stoner has missed the last 13 games with a groin injury and Derek Boogaard (hamstring) was unable to play Tuesday. Chuck Kobasew (MCL, ACL) and Pierre-Marc Bouchard (concussion) are out indefinitely.

Stat Pack: The Wild have only five games before March 3 -- all in Minnesota, where they have the sixth-best points percentage in the NHL (.732).

Puck Drop: "I'm expecting we're still going to be in a competitive position with respect to the playoffs. And we like our group. We're trying to make the playoffs and we believe we can make the playoffs. That's our focus, so we're always looking to improve our team." -- Wild GM Chuck Fletcher   
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