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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, February 27th (All times Eastern)

Minnesota Wild (31-21-7) at Edmonton Oilers (20-33-4), 9:30 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Minnesota Wild hope to maintain a firm grasp on a playoff spot as they visit the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night, when both clubs return to action following the Olympic break.

The Wild come out of the hiatus a distant 10 points behind the Colorado Avalanche for third place in the Central Division, but with a five-point edge for one of the two wild card spots in the Western Conference.

Minnesota won its final two games before the Olympic break and is 4-1-2 in its last seven games.

While Zach Parise and Ryan Suter return from a disappointing showing by Team USA in Sochi, Russia, Mikael Granlund had a solid performance to help Finland win bronze.

Granlund, who turned 22 on Wednesday, had three goals and seven points during the Olympics, getting named to the All-Tournament team.

"You can tell that they've been playing at a high speed over there, and I expect them to step right in where they left off," Wild coach Mike Yeo told his team's website of his three Olympians.

Minnesota is looking to get healthy for the stretch run and is close to getting forward Mikko Koivu back from a right ankle injury that required surgery. He suffered a break blocking a shot on Jan. 4 and was unable to play for Team Finland.

Koivu may return tonight or Friday versus the Vancouver Canucks.

Goaltender Niklas Backstrom, meanwhile, has been out since Jan. 30 because of a strained abdominal, but could suit up tonight. If not, John Curry would serve as the backup to Darcy Kuemper.

Backstrom is 25-4-1 with a 1.91 goals against average and four shutouts in his career versus the Oilers, while Kuemper has faced them once before. That came this season, a 4-1 home victory on Jan. 16 in which he made 20 saves.

Minnesota has won five of six and 14 of its last 17 versus the Oilers, including two straight and seven of eight in Edmonton.

With the playoffs about out of reach, the Oilers are looking to finish strong ahead of next season. They are last in the Western Conference with 47 points, 18 out of a playoff spot and five ahead of Buffalo for the fewest in the NHL.

Edmonton did win five of seven before the break and kick off a five-game homestand tonight.

One thing to watch for the Oilers is the situation in net, where the clubs have a pair of upcoming free agents in Ilya Bryzgalov and Ben Scrivens. Bryzgalov signed with Edmonton during the season, while Scrivens was acquired in a trade with the Los Angeles Kings.

Head coach Dallas Eakins is looking for both to play well and is unsure of how the starts will be split between the two.

"It's hard to say. I don't have a crystal ball next to me so it'll depend on their play," said Eakins. "It may come down to if Ben plays well and Bryz is playing well, yeah we may give Ben a couple of extra starts. I think Bryz would understand that. Or, we might split it down the middle. I won't know until we get started here."

Bryzgalov is 7-8-0 with a 2.64 GAA in his career versus the Wild, while Scrivens faced Minnesota for the first time in his career when he made his Oilers debut on Jan. 16 . He took that 4-1 loss, giving up four goals on 33 shots.

02/27 10:50:36 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
CAR 4
TOR 1
Final
DUKE 66
UCONN 56
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
CHA
 
Final
CHI 103
NYK 97
Final
HOU 90
NOP 99
Final
SAC 107
MIL 108
Final
GSW 114
OKC 109
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
CHA
 
7:00pm Tonight
ORL
UTA
 
7:30pm Tonight
CLE
BRK
 
7:30pm Tonight
BOS
MIN
 
7:30pm Tonight
DET
TOR
 
7:30pm Tonight
MIA
WAS
 
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
CHI
 
8:00pm Tonight
SAN
POR
 
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
LAC
 
10:30pm Tonight
LAL
OKC
 
Final
RICE 72
STTHOMASTX 61
 
Final
UVA 70
CLST 54
Final
LIU 69
FIU 58
 
Final
STET 67
GSOUT 76
 
Final
QUIN 80
LEH 65
 
Final
SFLA 69
SHU 89
Final
RICH 65
SALA 54
Final
CAN 60
USB 59
 
Final
DEL 62
TEMPL 82
Final
WCU 56
WRST 69
 
Final
VERM 56
YALE 57
 
Final
SDKST 75
IDST 72
 
Final
RIDE 62
MRGST 48
 
Final
LATU 79
NICST 54
 
Final
CHAR 75
APP 65
Final
MISS 71
CCAR 68
 
Final
DUKE 66
UCONN 56
Final
BRAD 80
EUREK 38
 
Final
PEAY 76
OAKC 52
 
Final
JST 66
SMISS 46
 
Final
SD 55
MNTST 53
 
Final
UAB 70
LSU 79
Final
EVAN 81
OHIO 69
 
Final
CSFU 72
CSDH 50
 
Final
ORST 90
DEP 59
Final
PAC 69
NEV 65
Final
USF 77
PORST 40
 
Final
IDAHO 86
WALLA 39
 
Final
UTST 57
CALST 56
 
1:30pm Today
YOUNG
WILB
 
2:00pm Today
TULA
JST
 
6:00pm Tonight
RAD
SIENA
 
7:00pm Tonight
MERC
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7:00pm Tonight
BUCK
CASEWEST
 
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LIB
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SCAR
CLEM
 
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CMICH
CONC
 
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MIAMI
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7:00pm Tonight
GWEBB
HIWASSEE
 
7:00pm Tonight
ODU
MDES
 
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NIAG
 
7:00pm Tonight
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7:00pm Tonight
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7:00pm Tonight
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MORE
NKENTUCKY
 
7:00pm Tonight
UCSB
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7:00pm Tonight
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STILL
 
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TENN
TENT
 
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WMARY
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FLGC
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7:30pm Tonight
CALST
SDKST
 
8:00pm Tonight
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NDAK
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LAMON
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PRIN
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LAM
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8:00pm Tonight
MINN
SEAT
 
8:00pm Tonight
LOYC
SUTAH
 
8:00pm Tonight
SELA
WINT
 
8:05pm Tonight
SILL
NO
 
9:00pm Tonight
MARQ
ALAAM
 
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TTU
ARKPB
 
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DEN
COLST
 
9:00pm Tonight
CREI
TXPA
 
10:00pm Tonight
CAL
EWASH
 
10:05pm Tonight
UTST
IDST
 
11:00pm Tonight
UTEP
ARZ
 
11:59pm Tonight
CHAM
HAW
 
Final
PIT 1
COL 0
Final
PHI 1
FLA 2
Final
CAR 4
TOR 1
Final
CLB 4
WAS 5
Final
MON 1
ANA 2
Final
SJS 4
EDM 3
Final
LOS 6
STL 4
7:00pm Tonight
NJD
TAM
 
7:30pm Tonight
OTT
ANA
 
7:30pm Tonight
DET
NYI
 
8:00pm Tonight
WIN
BOS
 
9:00pm Tonight
CAL
DAL
 
Final
JAC 21
TEN 13