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Backstrom stops 22 shots to lead Wild past Oilers 3-0

The Canadian Press
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The Hockey News
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Backstrom stops 22 shots to lead Wild past Oilers 3-0

The Canadian Press
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Backstrom, who stopped 25 shots in 3-0 win against Edmonton on Tuesday night, got his fifth shutout of the season and improved to 4-0 against the Oilers. Minnesota has won five straight against Edmonton.

The Wild, currently in seventh place in the Western Conference, began the night three points behind division-leading Vancouver. The Canucks hosted Colorado later Thursday.

Mark Parrish and Keith Carney also scored for Minnesota, which has only one win and one overtime loss in its last 19 games. The Oilers traded leading scorer Ryan Smyth after the first game of that stretch.

Jussi Markkanen finished with 26 saves for the Oilers.

Gaborik capped the scoring at 9:58 of the second period on assists from Wes Walz and Brent Burns. Gaborik joined Brian Rolston as the only other player with 30 goals for the Wild this season, reaching the plateau for the fourth time in his career.

Rolston and Gaborik are the only two players in Minnesota history to reach the 30-goal mark, with Rolston achieving the milestone twice. Gaborik has a four-game point streak, with seven goals and 11 assists in his last 13 games.

Parrish got the Wild on the scoreboard with his 19th goal of the season at 5:57 of the first period on assists from Mikko Koivu and Kurtis Foster. Carney added his fourth goal of the year at 18:51 of the first, stealing the puck in the neutral zone and skating the length of the ice to beat Markkanen high on his stick side.

Notes: Minnesota forward Pavol Demitra, who has failed to score a point in a season-high five straight games, sat out of Thursday's contest with a strained leg muscle. He is day-to-day. Defenceman Kim Johnsson was also out after missing Wednesday's practice with the flu. ... Oilers defenceman Steve Staios missed his 14th straight game with a knee injury. Forward Shawn Horcoff was also a scratch. ... Thursday's game was the Wild's 271st consecutive sellout - including pre-season and playoff games - and Minnesota celebrated by rewarding the 5 millionth fan with a prize package and the ceremonial "Let's Play Hockey" announcement prior to the game.

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Backstrom stops 22 shots to lead Wild past Oilers 3-0