EDMONTON, Alberta -- With little margin for error, the Minnesota Wild are playing playoff hockey just to get into the postseason.
"The water is up to here," Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said. "We'll start with winning the next one. We want the guys to get ready for the next game and focus on one game at a time and hope the teams that are ahead of us lose."
"I'm happy for this team," Backstrom said. "We are never going to give up. That is not what we are all about. We have come back in different games and hope that we can do that in the standings right now."
Lemaire credited Backstrom.
"We were lucky that we had him," Lemaire said. "He was really on his game there. Especially at the end."
"We played poorly and got what we deserved," coach Craig MacTavish said. "Too many guys are too content to be a non-factor rather than be a factor and step up and be assertive in a game that you desperately need. With six games left we are still looking for a team that will take charge of an opportunity."
The Wild opened the scoring seven minutes in when Gaborik's whiffed shot was picked up in front of the net by Brunette, who stuffed a backhand shot past Dwayne Roloson for his 20th of the season. Minnesota made it 2-0 1:51 later when Skoula's shot from the point skittered between Roloson's legs.
"It's pretty much my fault, isn't it?" said Roloson, coming off a 51-save effort in victory over Anaheim. "Two bad goals. You don't let those two bad goals in and you win the game. I have to do my job and stop the puck. If I did that tonight than we would have won, case closed."
But the Wild restored their two-goal cushion only three minutes later with an extra man on the ice due to a delayed penalty call. Gaborik used a screen in front and deftly picked the corner for his seventh of the season.
Edmonton pulled within a goal with five minutes left. Ales Hemsky spotted Kotalik open at the top of the faceoff circle and he beat Backstrom to make it 3-2.
|The Oilers' Ales Hemsky crashes into Niklas Backstrom in the Wild's narrow victory. (Getty Images)|
|Minnesota (36-32-8) «||2||0||1||3|
|07:01||Andrew Brunette (20), Tip-In. Assist: Gaborik, Zidlicky|
|08:52||Martin Skoula (3), Slap Shot. Assist: Nolan, Sheppard|
|01:04||Fernando Pisani (6), Tip-In. Assist: Moreau, Grebeshkov|
|04:13||Marian Gaborik (7), Wrist Shot. Assist: Johnsson, Nolan|
|15:08||Ales Kotalik (18), Slap Shot. Assist: Hemsky, Horcoff|
|04:58||Moreau, 2 min, Tripping|
|11:34||Scott, 5 min, Fighting|
|11:34||Stortini, 5 min, Fighting|
|14:06||Weller, 2 min, Hooking|
|19.0||Koivu, 2 min, Tripping|
|02:05||Zidlicky, 2 min, Roughing|
|02:05||Cogliano, 2 min, Roughing|
|02:15||Grebeshkov, 2 min, Tripping|
|17:26||Hemsky, 2 min, Goaltender Interference|
|05:11||Johnsson, 2 min, Tripping|
|06:23||Zidlicky, 2 min, Roughing|
|06:23||Hemsky, 2 min, Roughing|
|Shots On Goal|
|Power Play Conversions|
|Attendance - 16839|
|Referees - Kerry Fraser, Eric Furlatt|
|Linesmen - Lonnie Cameron, Brad Lazarowich|