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Gaborik helps Wild drill slumping Oilers

EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) -- With little margin for error, the

Minnesota Wild are playing playoff hockey just to get into the


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


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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