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Hex broken: Wild end losing streak with win vs. Oilers

Colten Teubert, Justin Falk, Nick Johnson

Edmonton Oilers’ Colten Teubert, center, is caught between Minnesota Wild’s Justin Falk, left, and Nick Johnson during a scuffle in the first period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011, in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)


If the Minnesota Wild come up with some collective New Year’s resolutions, “Beating the Edmonton Oilers” shouldn’t be one of them. In a strange scheduling quirk, Thursday’s slump-busting 4-3 win will be their last game against the Oil this season - unless the two meet in an unlikely playoff series.

They might just miss the Oil a bit - they went 4-2-0 in their 2011-12 series - although the Wild’s other three wins against Edmonton came via shootouts.

Either way, the Wild will take this win, which ends an eight-game losing streak in which they went 0-5-3. Mikko Koivu scored a goal and an assist while Marek Zidlicky looked like his old, offensively potent self with a trio of helpers.

Oh, and Brad Staubitz did this to Theo Peckham:

Yup, that’s about all the Wild could really ask from a game.

The Vancouver Canucks will maintain the first spot in the Northwest regardless of how their game against the Anaheim Ducks turns out tonight (they’re currently leading the hapless Ducks 2-0), but Minnesota is currently “tied” with them at 48 points. Perhaps most importantly, Minnesota has a chance to go into the New Year on a positive note, as they’ll finish 2011 with a winnable game against a Phoenix Coyotes team that is struggling without Mike Smith.

In the big picture, the Wild are still in a better position than they likely expected to find themselves in, so they can focus on the positive with that eight-game monkey off their backs.