Oilers overwhelmed by Wild 5-1
|Edmonton's Andrew Cogliano has his pass blocked by Minnesota's James Sheppard at the Xcel Energy Center on January 15, 2009 in Saint Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)
by Jen Sharpe | edmontonoilers.com
Although rookie Liam Reddox
put the Oilers on even terms with his third of the season midway through the first period, it was all Wild after that as Minnesota tallied four unanswered goals to secure a 5-1 win Thursday night.
With both clubs carrying identical 21-18-3 recods into the contest, it was no surprise that they spent equal time in eachothers' zone through the first five minutes. At the six-minute mark, Ladislav Smid
and James Sheppard participated in an unexpected battle that resulted in a bloody nose for Sheppard and fighting majors to both brawlers.
Only nine seconds after the following face-off, the Wild responded with a goal. After receiving a bang-on centering pass from Antti Miettinen, Krys Kolanos tucked the puck under Dwayne Roloson to give Minnesota a 1-0 lead.
Kyle Brodziak took a hooking penalty after the goal, but the Oilers killed the two minutes and then killed the home lead. As Dustin Penner
persistently plugged at the puck while Minnesota goalie Niklas Backstrom struggled to control it, Liam Reddox
swept in and provided an extra nudge to push it across the line and tie the game at one.
Like their counterparts earlier in the period, the Oilers followed up their goal with an unsuccessful powerplay. But after being shaken up deep in the Wild zone and spending a minute on the bench, Andrew Cogliano
returned to the ice and drew a tripping penalty from Marek Zidlicky.
Although the Oilers assumed a 10-7 shot-lead on the second powerplay, they couldn't beat Backstrom and then couldn't stop Cal Clutterbuck from putting his club back on top. With both teams at even strength, Clutterbuck converted a pass from Sheppard into a high snap-shot and 2-1 lead heading into the second period.
A late tripping penalty to Brent Burns ensured the Oilers would start the second with a third consecutive powerplay, but like during the first two, they were limited to one shot by the Wild's penalty killers.
Edmonton and Minnesota traded a trio of penalties through the first half of the middle frame, but the one-goal game continued despite the scoring opportunities. With less than a minute on the clock, a cross-checking penalty to Sheldon Souray
offered the Wild their fourth powerplay of the night and a five-on-four to start the final frame.
The Wild dominated the early part of the third, testing Roloson with his 17th shot five minutes in. At the eight-minute mark, Pierre-Marc Bouchard intercepted a pass deep in the Oilers zone and slapped an 18th shot on the visiting net -- an attempt that found the mesh and gave Minnesota a 3-1 lead.
With just under nine minutes left in regulation, fightin' words escalated to a fight between Sheldon Souray
and Craig Weller. A fistful of Souray's jabs quickly sent Weller to the ice and then both players to their respective penalty boxes. Holding and slashing penalties to Gilbert Brule
and Kolanos put two players in the sin bins shortly after the scrap.
Less than a minute into four-on-four, the Wild tallied a fourth goal. With Mikko Koivu at his side, Burns avoided two white jerseys, closed in on Roloson, and then snapped the puck into the net to give Wild a three-goal cushion late in the third period.
and Ethan Moreau shared space in the Oilers penalty box late in the game, and the Wild wasted no time on the two-man advantage. From a sharp angle, Eric Belanger scored his club's fourth consecutive goal to secure a 5-1 win over the Oilers Thursday night.
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