SUN Hockey Pool

Wild keep pace in race

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 6:52 AM ET

It was the second time in a week the Edmonton Oilers could have killed off the Minnesota Wild.

And it was the second time in a week the Wild were able to come up with a key victory.

Last night's 3-2 win over the Oilers at Rexall Place propelled the Wild back to within three points of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

"We're like this," said Wild head coach Jacques Lemaire, tilting his head back and sliding his hand under his nose.

"The water is up to here and may be going in on one side (of his nostril)."

Regardless, with six games left to play, the Wild are still in the playoff race. They have pulled themselves to within a point of the Oilers who lost ground on the three playoff contenders above them.

The Wild now return home to host the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames before heading off to visit the Detroit Red Wings.

They finish the season with home games against the Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators before closing out the year in Columbus against the Blue Jackets.

"We want the guys to get ready for the next game and just focus on a game at a time," Lemaire said. "Then we have to hope the teams that are ahead of us get beat."

A loss to the Oilers last night would have put the Wild five points out of playoff spot. Last week, the Oilers went into Minnesota with an opportunity to go up by six points over the Wild in the standings. However the Wild were able to pull out a 3-0 victory. Now the margin between the Oilers and Wild is just a single point.

"I think that shows the character of our team, we're not going to give up," said Wild centre James Sheppard. "We're not going to make excuses and say that we have injuries and give up. We're going to keep playing hard until the final whistle."

DEREK.VANDIEST@SUNMEDIA.CA


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