After opening their longest road trip of the season in disappointing fashion, the Minnesota Wild may have a tough time faring any better in their next stop.
The Wild continue their six-game swing Saturday night with a visit to Edmonton, where they have lost three straight against the Oilers.
Minnesota (30-25-5) - playing a stretch of 13 out of 16 games away from St. Paul - lost 4-1 to Northwest Division-leading Calgary on Friday night in the opener of this trip.
It was a rare poor performance for Minnesota's usually-reliable defense, which has allowed the second-fewest goals in the NHL with 141. Starter Niklas Backstrom, third in the league with a 2.20 goals-against average, made 25 saves but fell to 1-1-2 in his last four games.
Defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron scored with 3:26 remaining to keep Minnesota from being shut out, but it wasn't nearly enough to prevent the loss.
"It was a tough night for us. I don't think we were even close," Backstrom said. "They scored a couple big goals in the beginning of the second and the game was over. We need to get better (Saturday). It's going to take a whole 60 minutes."
Backstrom is 11-1-0 with a 1.80 GAA in 14 career matchups against the Oilers (30-26-5). The lone loss came Jan. 30, when he yielded three goals on 11 shots before being pulled in favor of backup Josh Harding early in the second period of a 3-1 defeat.
The home team has won all three games in this season's series, and the last seven meetings overall between these clubs since the Wild's last victory in Edmonton - a 4-2 victory Nov. 15, 2007.
A Minnesota victory Saturday would end that trend, and would also create a bit of breathing room in the crowded Western Conference playoff picture, where the Wild and Oilers are currently tied with Dallas and Anaheim for seventh.
"We've got to make sure that we're ready to go," said Bergeron, who played 189 games for the Oilers from 2002-07. "If they score one or two quick goals, we can't get our head between our legs and quit. We've got to keep playing and we've got to keep playing hard."
The Oilers haven't been overwhelming opponents lately, with four losses in their last five games. They defeated Tampa Bay 5-3 on Tuesday, but got outshot 32-19 on Thursday night en route to their fifth shutout loss of the season, 1-0 to Columbus.
"That was a real disappointing loss, one of the toughest of the year so far," defenseman Sheldon Souray said after Edmonton fell three points behind the Blue Jackets. "At this point, with the situation we are in battling for a playoff spot with that team, it's just too bad we couldn't come up with a little bit better of an effort."
Edmonton did get a solid performance from former Minnesota goaltender Dwayne Roloson, who finished with 31 saves but lost for the fourth time in five starts.
Roloson, whom the Wild dealt to Edmonton in March 2006, is 6-11-3 in 20 games versus his former team.