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Minnesota Wild Playing Home Opener Against Edmonton

(Sports Network) - Things didn't go quiet Minnesota's way in its season- opening set in Finland. A return to North American and a visit from Edmonton could help the club turn things around.

The Wild aim to extend a 13-game home winning streak over the Oilers this evening when they make their 2010-11 debut at Xcel Energy Center.

Minnesota was one of six NHL teams to open up the season in Europe, where it battled the Carolina Hurricanes in two games. After losing a 4-3 decision in their season opener on last Thursday, the Wild came out on the losing end of a 2-1 shootout the following day.

Andrew Brunette scored the lone goal for Minnesota, but Mikko Koivu, Brent burns and Antti Miettinen were all denied in the shootout. Helsinki, Finland native Niklas Backstrom made 36 saves, but gave up a goal to rookie Jeff Skinner in the deciding session.

"We had some great chances," Wild coach Todd Richards told NHL.com. "We had opportunities, and sometimes when it happens like that, when you have those long power plays, guys stay out too long. I don't think we managed ourselves there very well. It was a game that you're disappointed with the result but you look at every aspect and you're happy with the way the team competed."

Minnesota could be without Brunette tonight as he has missed two straight practices with a hip flexor.

The Wild now play three straight at home and face an Oilers club that hasn't won on the road in this series since Jan. 16, 2007. Edmonton is 0-11-2 at Minnesota since, but did win all three of its matchups at home over the Wild last year to split the season series.

Backstrom won his first 10 career decisions versus the Oilers and is 11-0-0 with a 1.08 goals-against average and four shutouts in his career against them at home.

The Oilers will be aiming to start a season with three straight wins for the second time in three years and are coming off Sunday's 3-2 home victory over the Panthers.

Ryan Jones, Shawn Horcoff and Dustin Penner all scored in the second period despite Edmonton being out-shot 12-4 in the frame. The Oilers managed just 13 shots to the Panthers' 28, but Nikolai Khabibulin made 26 saves.

"He stood tall," Jones said of Khabibulin, who has stopped 63 of the 65 shots he has faced so far this year. "He's a phenomenal goalie. One thing that surprises me is how he finds the puck in traffic."

Taylor Hall, the top pick of the 2010 draft, notched an assist on Horcoff's goal for his first NHL point.

Khabibulin, limited to just 18 games last year due to a back injury, is 4-7-2 with a 2.38 GAA in his career against the Wild.

The Oilers opened their season with a 4-0 home win over the Flames a week ago and play their next two on road.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.