Edmonton at Minnesota

Minnesota's Backstrom continues domination of Edmonton

CBSSports.com wire reports

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Missing their top two forwards again, the Minnesota Wild let loose.

They got goals up and down the lineup from all over the ice, with little resistance by the depleted Edmonton defense.

Niklas Backstrom kept up his mastery of the Oilers, and Mark Parrish scored twice for the Wild in a 5-2 victory Monday night.

"Some pretty goals, some backdoor goals, some ugly tip goals. We had it all going, and that's good," said Parrish, who is second on the team with six goals.

Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Kurtis Foster and Stephane Veilleux also scored and Mikko Koivu was credited with three assists for the Wild, who woke up their power play with four extra-skater goals in 10 chances provided by their undisciplined and frustrated opponent. They fired away at former teammate Dwayne Roloson and forced a goalie change for the Oilers after the first period.

"A lot of times I talk about confidence when you're doing certain things, and it seems like we got that confidence," said coach Jacques Lemaire.

Edmonton has a league-low 10 standings points in 15 games and a handful of injuries to veteran defensemen, including All-Star Sheldon Souray, but Minnesota was missing its entire original top line.

The absences didn't hurt the Wild as much as they could have.

Pavol Demitra missed his fifth game with a groin strain, and Marian Gaborik was out for the third time due to the same injury. Wes Walz, who centered the Slovakian stars when the season started, has been away from the team since last Thursday for unspecified personal reasons.

But that gave others a chance for more time on the power play, and the additional minutes led to better production. Petteri Nummelin moved from defense to the wing and had two power-play assists. Foster, one of the team's best slap shooters, finally scored his first goal on a blast barely inside the blue line.

"It was nice to get some chances tonight and really contribute, when we're missing two big guys," said Foster, who contended that the Wild can be more prone to shoot with Demitra and Gaborik gone because their games are based on so much puck control.

Backstrom made 22 saves for the Wild, improving to 6-0-0 in his career against the Oilers. His streak of three consecutive shutouts against them ended, but he has only given up four goals in those six starts.

Edmonton scored a rare power-play goal, a tip-in by Dustin Penner, but went 1-for-6 with the man advantage and fell to a league-worst 4-for-60 this season.

"We're a close-knit team, and we're going to stay positive," said Shawn Horcoff, who scored in the second period. "We've got a lot of injuries, but we're not making any excuses when it comes to losing games here. We're going to let go of this one and work hard tomorrow."

Edmonton just didn't play any defense. Roloson let three of the eight shots he faced get by, and he was pulled for Mathieu Garon after the deficit grew to 3-0. Coach Craig MacTavish was disappointed he didn't save Foster's long shot with 52 seconds left in the first period.

On Parrish's first goal, a simple give-and-go from Nummelin, Denis Grebeshkov let Parrish sneak behind him and Dick Tarnstrom let Nummelin's pass slip through the crease without interference.

"I think everybody in the building knew where the puck was going," MacTavish said.

The coach limited his criticism, though.

The crush of injuries to his blue line has forced defensemen like Grebeshkov, Tarnstrom and Tom Gilbert into significant time on the penalty kill that they're not ready for. MacTavish was mostly upset with what he called desperate, undisciplined 5-on-5 play that led to all the penalties.

"You can commend the effort and intensity, but you've got to play this game with your head or else you're going to get picked apart. We were moving around the ice like chickens with our heads cut off," MacTavish said.


  • The Oilers will have a better feel for how they fare among their Northwest Division foes over the next two weeks. They began an eight-game stretch of division-only competition, with one against each opponent at home and on the road. "We've got a lot of good quality people in this room, and we all believe in each other that we can get it done," Horcoff said.
  • The Wild won't play again until Sunday, an unusual stretch of five consecutive days without a game. Lemaire said each player will get at least one day off from practice this week.
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Minnesota goalie Niklas Backstrom deflects a shot by Edmonton LW Raffi Torres in the third period. (AP)
Minnesota goalie Niklas Backstrom deflects a shot by Edmonton LW Raffi Torres in the third period. (AP)
Related Links
Edmonton (5-10-0)0202
Minnesota  (9-4-2) «3205
Three Stars
M. Parrish

Goals: 2
Assist(s): 0
M. Koivu

Goals: 0
Assist(s): 3
K. Foster

Goals: 1
Assist(s): 1

Related Video

Scoring Summary
04:55Power Play - Mark Parrish (5), Snap Shot. Assist: Petteri Nummelin, Mikko Koivu
18:57Power Play - Pierre-Marc Bouchard (4), Slap Shot. Assist: Mikko Koivu, Eric Belanger
19:08Power Play - Kurtis Foster (1), Slap Shot. Assist: Pierre-Marc Bouchard, James Sheppard
03:21Power Play - Mark Parrish (6), Tip-In. Assist: Kurtis Foster, Petteri Nummelin
05:18Power Play - Dustin Penner (3), Snap Shot. Assist: Ales Hemsky, Jarret Stoll
14:59Stephane Veilleux (2), Backhand Shot. Assist: Mikko Koivu, Kim Johnsson
15:24Shawn Horcoff (5), Backhand Shot. Assist: Robert Nilsson, Dustin Penner
Penalty Summary
04:13Nilsson, 2 min, Hooking
05:43Johnsson, 2 min, Goaltender Interference
06:30Stoll, 2 min, Interference
08:16Staios, 2 min, Delay of Game - Puck Over Glass
12:55Belanger, 2 min, Holding
17:19Grebeshkov, 2 min, Hooking
18:57Tarnstrom, 2 min, Hooking
02:16Stortini, 2 min, Interference
04:41Carney, 2 min, Hooking
06:57Hemsky, 2 min, High-Sticking
10:23Cogliano, 2 min, Hooking
24.0Veilleux, 2 min, Hooking
03:30Carney, 2 min, Hooking
07:42Stoll, 2 min, Hooking
14:27Grebeshkov, 2 min, Hooking
15:22Rolston, 2 min, Holding
Shots On Goal
Mathieu Garon39:59162
Dwayne Roloson19:5953
Niklas Backstrom59:47222
Game Information
Attendance - 18568
Referees - Steve Kozari, Kevin Pollock
Linesmen - Ryan Galloway, Jonny Murray
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NJ 0
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Ana 0
Wash 0 Final
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TB 3 Final
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Buf 0 Final
Mon 2
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Cal 1 Final
Colo 4