The Minnesota Wild were just shut out at home for the first time this season but figure to have a good chance to get back on track.
The injury-plagued Wild will be looking for some offense Thursday night as they try to hand the lowly Edmonton Oilers a sixth straight road defeat.
Minnesota (25-19-5) fell 3-0 to Ottawa on Tuesday, blanked for the first time since Dec. 6 at Columbus and first at home since April. The Wild continue to play without Mikko Koivu, who has a team-high 35 points, and Zach Parise, second on the club with 15 goals.
Koivu will miss his sixth straight game after ankle surgery while Parise will sit out his 12th in a row with a bruised foot. Minnesota won five of six without them before Tuesday.
"That's our challenge right now with the group that we have," coach Mike Yeo said. "For the most part lately we've done a good job whatever the outcome of the previous game is (on) getting focused on the next one. I don't think we did a very good job this time."
Yeo's club could bounce back against an Edmonton team which allows a league-worst 3.51 goals per game, including 24 during its 0-4-1 skid on the road. The Oilers (15-29-5) haven't had a longer losing streak away from home since an 0-7-1 stretch Jan. 3-Feb. 8, 2012.
This is the teams' first meeting after Minnesota captured three of four last season behind four points apiece from Koivu and Charlie Coyle.
Taylor Hall led Edmonton with five points and Jordan Eberle and Nail Yakupov each had four in those games. Hall has 15 points in his last 11 games.
Yakupov, meanwhile, is an NHL-worst minus-30 for the season and has been yanked at times by first-year coach Dallas Eakins due to his defensive frailties.
The Oilers could be without winger Ales Hemsky, who was hobbling on a swollen ankle late in Tuesday's 5-2 defeat at Dallas.
"It was swelling up on him quite quickly," Eakins said. "The early X-ray doesn't show anything, but I think we're going to have to delve a little deeper."
Both teams will be looking to get off to better starts that they did Tuesday. Edmonton fell behind 3-1 after one period.
The Wild trailed 1-0 after getting outshot 15-3 in the first 20 minutes against the Senators.
"Our first period wasn't good enough," forward Jason Pominville said. "We were better in the second, but unfortunately gave up the first goal. It's tough to come back when you give up the first goal."
Pominville has a team-high 18 goals, but has gone a season-high six games without scoring.
The Wild remain without top goalie Josh Harding, who owns an NHL-best 1.65 goals-against average. Harding has not played since Dec. 31 due to his recovery from an adjustment to his multiple sclerosis treatment.
Darcy Kuemper has started the last two games over Niklas Backstrom, whose 3.02 GAA is one of the league's worst.
The Oilers will likely go with Ilya Bryzgalov, who has a 3.79 GAA over his last six games, after trading former starter Devan Dubnyk to Nashville on Wednesday for forward Matt Hendricks. The 32-year-old Hendricks, who signed a four-year deal worth $7.4 million in July, played in 44 games for the Predators this season but had only four points.
Edmonton filled Dubnyk's spot by acquiring Ben Scrivens from Los Angeles on Wednesday for a third-round pick in the upcoming draft. Scrivens went 7-5-4 with a 1.97 GAA in 19 appearances for the Kings.
These clubs rank among the league's worst in shots per game, with Edmonton averaging 27.3 and Minnesota 27.1.
The Associated Press News Service
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