Wild slay Oilers 3-2 in shootout
|Minnesota's Kim Johnsson handles the puck while being defended by Ales Hemsky during the game at the Xcel Energy Center on February 8, 2009 in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The Wild went on to win 2-1 in a shootout. (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)
by Jen Sharpe | edmontonoilers.com
Goals by Sheldon Souray
and Sam Gagner
, as well as solid goaltending from Dwayne Roloson, carried Edmonton through 60 minutes and overtime Sunday afternoon, but a shootout goal by Minnesota's Mikko Koivu limited the club to one point.
The Oilers and Wild were tied in the standings with 55 points heading into the matinee contest, and they remained tied on the shot clock with three attempts each after the first five minutes. At that time, consecutive Minnesota penalties gave Edmonton two powerplays, including a 21-second five-on-three.
After taking a time-out to strategize, the Oilers wasted little time executing their plan. Only three seconds before James Sheppard completed his hooking minor, Denis Grebeshkov fed fellow blueliner Sheldon Souray
, who slapped the puck through traffic and past Niklas Backstrom to put the Oilers up 1-0 at 6:26. WATCH GOAL
Near the period's midway point, a slashing penalty to Derek Boogaard offered the Oilers their third powerplay, but Souray negated the man-advantage by taking a roughing penalty 11 seconds later.
The teams matched eachother shot for shot through the rest of the period. When the Oilers were unable to double their lead on a fourth powerplay, the Wild responded by tying things up. After skating up the left wing, Eric Belanger fooled Dwayne Roloson with a slapshot from the top of the face-off circle, putting both clubs on even terms heading into the middle frame.
The Wild dominated the first five minutes of the second, testing Roloson with five shots and then drawing a second penalty from Souray. But the Oilers outlasted the man-advantage to maintain the tie game.
Minnesota hit 20 shots with just over five minutes left in the frame, while Edmonton sat at the 13 mark. In the dying seconds, a partial breakaway for Sam Gagner
nearly resulted in a goal, but instead, the young forward was sent flying over the goalie and into the net, resulting in a roughing minor.
The penalty ensured the Wild would start the third period up one man and three shots.
With Gagner in the penalty box, the Wild set themselves up in the Oilers zone. The club's best scoring opportunity belonged to Belanger midway through the man-advantage, but his shot rang off the post and his teammates were unable to catch the juicy rebound.
1:38 after Gagner completed his term, the Oilers benefited from their fifth powerplay. But despite owning the advantage, the visitors were surprised by Antti Miettinen, who one-timed the puck past Roloson to give his club their first lead of the game with a shorthanded goal.
Back-and-forth play characterized the following 10 minutes. As the Wild neared the 30-shot mark, the Oilers posted their 25th -- and made it count. Although Backstrom stopped a surging Ladislav Smid
, the rebound went straight out to Gagner in the slot, who wristed it home to tie the game at two. WATCH GOAL
Exciting scoring opportunities in the final minutes of regulation kept coaches and fans on their toes. With 33 seconds left on the clock, a sixth Wild infraction gave the Oilers a final powerplay, but the club was unable to seal the deal and the game progressed to overtime.
Edmonton couldn't beat Backstrom on their four-on-three and then relied heavily on Roloson as Minnesota applied pressure in the tail end of sudden death. But goaltenders ruled the five-minute frenzy to force a shootout.
Opting for the same shooting order that secured a 2-1win in St. Louis two games ago, the Oilers put their hopes on Gagner, Robert Nilsson, and Ales Hemsky
to start the shootout. But Backstrom stopped all three shooters and then defenceman Tom Gilbert
to put the ball back in Roloson's court.
Roloson was perfect until facing Wild Captain Mikko Koivu, who scored on a wrist-shot to end the suspense and secure a 3-2 shootout win for Minnesota.
|Three star selections