- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 29, 2009

EDMONTON, ALBERTA (AP) - Marian Gaborik had a goal and an assist and the Minnesota Wild remained in the tight Western Conference playoff race with a 3-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 on Sunday night.

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

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.

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 Edmonton starter 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.

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.

Notes:@ Captain Mikko Koivu returned to the Wild lineup after missing the last three games because of a leg injury sustained in a collision with Edmonton’s Kotalik. … Oilers defenseman Ladislav Smid left the game in the second period after breaking his left hand. … Roloson made his 32nd consecutive start for the Oilers.

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