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Gaborik helps Wild drill slumping Oilers

PA Stats Inc
By:
The Hockey News
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Gaborik helps Wild drill slumping Oilers

PA Stats Inc
By:

EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) -- With little margin for error, the
Minnesota Wild are playing playoff hockey just to get into the
postseason.

Marian Gaborik had a goal and an assist and the Wild remained in
the tight Western Conference playoff race with a 3-2 victory
over Edmonton 3-2 on Sunday night.

"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."

Andrew Brunette and Martin Skoula also scored, and Niklas
Backstrom made 31 saves to help the 11th-place Wild move within
three points of eighth-place St. Louis.

"I'm happy for this team," Niklas 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."

Fernando Pisani and Ales Kotalik scored for Edmonton. The
10th-place Oilers have lost four of their last five to fall two
points behind the Blues.

"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 7 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."

Edmonton got on the board 1:04 into the third period. Ethan
Moreau held off Marc-Andre Bergeron and sent a backhand pass in
front of the net, where Pisani was able to tap it through the
goalie Niklas Backstrom's legs.

But the Wild restored their two-goal cushion just 3 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 5 minutes left. Ales Hemsky
spotted Kotalik open at the top of the faceoff circle and he
beat Backstrom to make it 3-2.

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Gaborik helps Wild drill slumping Oilers