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Backstrom stops 25 shots to help Minnesota blank lowly Edmonton 3-0

The Canadian Press
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The Hockey News
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Backstrom stops 25 shots to help Minnesota blank lowly Edmonton 3-0

The Canadian Press
By:

Mikko Koivu and Branko Radivojevic scored power-play goals for Minnesota, which reached 100 points for the first time in franchise history. Kurtis Foster scored the team's first even-strength goal in four games, and Marian Gaborik added two assists.

The loss was the fifth straight for Edmonton, and eighth in a row on the road. The Oilers have lost 17 of 18, and have been outscored 65-21 in that stretch.

It was an important two points for Minnesota, which concludes its regular season at home against Edmonton on Thursday and St. Louis on Saturday. The Wild entered the night three points behind Vancouver in the Northwest Division, but two points ahead of Calgary for seventh place in the conference standings.

Koivu gave Minnesota a 1-0 lead on the power play late in the first. He took a pass from Gaborik and fired a shot from the left circle that Jussi Markkanen got a piece of before the puck trickled in.

Minnesota finished 2-for-5 on the power play, while Edmonton was 0-for-5 - and is 3-for-62 in its past 18 games.

Markkanen, who hasn't won in seven starts, stopped 23 shots for Edmonton, playing the fourth game of a season-ending six-game road trip.

Backstrom, who entered second in the NHL with 2.11 goals-against-average and tied for first with a .925 save percentage, was at his best in the second. He stopped 16 shots, including sliding across the crease to get a glove on a shot by Danny Syvret, stopping Toby Petersen twice in front and Marc-Antoine Pouliot near the left post. Backstrom is 11-1-2 in his last 16 starts.

Foster put Minnesota up 2-0 late in the second when his harmless-looking wrist shot from the right point went through the skates of six-foot-seven Derek Boogaard and past Markkanen. The play was reviewed for about three minutes to see if Boogaard touched the puck.

Boogaard, who entered seven shots in his first 45 games and leads the team with 111 penalty minutes, had two prime scoring opportunities for the Wild, but was stopped twice by Markkanen.

Radivojevic culminated a rush from his own end by putting a wrist shot past Markkanen nearly six minutes into the final period.

Notes: Koivu's goal was his 20th, giving Minnesota four players with at least 20 goals for the first time in franchise history. ... Edmonton assigned LW Jean-Francois Jacques to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League. Jacques was scoreless in 37 games with the Oilers this season. ... Boogaard hasn't scored since Jan. 7, 2006. ... The Oilers' franchise record for longest road losing streak is nine, set from Nov. 25-Dec. 30, 1980.

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Backstrom stops 25 shots to help Minnesota blank lowly Edmonton 3-0