Solid goaltending and timely offense helped the Minnesota Wild regain their confidence after a lopsided loss. They look to build on that as they return to Xcel Energy Center to play the opener of a three-game homestand against the slumping Edmonton Oilers on Saturday.
Niklas Backstrom made 46 saves as Minnesota (21-14-2) avoided a three-game losing streak with a 3-2 victory at Phoenix on Thursday. The Wild netted all their goals on the power play one night after being held scoreless in four man-advantage chances during an 8-3 road loss to Dallas.
"This was a very big game for us, and not just getting a win," said Backstrom, who halted a two-game slump of his own. "This was a chance to get our pride and identity back."
Backstrom's effort in the net held up thanks to goals from Eric Belanger, Mark Parrish and Brian Rolston. Brent Burns also provided two assists for the Wild, who have won five of their last seven games overall.
"Coming into this game, we did not have the best feeling," said Belanger, who added two assists for his fifth multipoint game. "That's the beauty of this game that you have a chance to bounce back, and we did that."
Minnesota looks to continue this success against the Oilers (16-19-3), whom the Wild are 3-0-1 against this season and have won eight of the last nine overall.
The Wild have won five straight over the Oilers in Minnesota, where they are 12-6-0 this season, and Backstrom has been key in each victory.
Backstrom is 3-0-0 versus the Oilers this season and defeated them 4-2 on Nov. 15 in the most recent meeting. He is 7-0-0 with three shutouts - all at home - and a 0.90 goals-against average lifetime against them.
The Wild hope Marian Gaborik can regain his scoring touch after going pointless in his last two games. He has only one assist in his last three games since his NHL record-tying five goals in a Dec. 20 win over the New York Rangers.
Gaborik could break out of the slump as he has 15 goals and 19 assists for 34 points - his most against any team - in 38 games against Edmonton. He has at least a point in nine of the last 10 games versus Edmonton, totaling eight goals and seven assists in that stretch.
Gaborik had a goal and an assist, and Belanger assisted on all four goals in the Nov. 15 win over the Oilers.
Edmonton begins a four-game road trip looking to bounce back from a tough 2-1 home loss to Anaheim on Thursday, its fourth straight defeat. Marty Reasoner scored the lone goal as the Oilers, who matched a season high with their fourth consecutive loss.
Their slump - the longest since dropping six straight from March 24-April 5 - was preceded by a three-game winning run.
The Oilers, though, might welcome this trip after losing three straight at home and five of their last six there.
"It's the thing that is keeping us out of the mix right now," Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said. "Our inability to have success at home."
Edmonton could be without right wing Alex Hemsky, who missed Thursday's contest with a knee injury. Hemsky, second on the team with 29 points, underwent an MRI and is day-to-day.