Oilers blanked by Wild 3-0
|Patrick O'Sullivan is denied in front of the net by Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom. (Getty Images)
by Marc Ciampa | edmontonoilers.com
Owen Nolan scored twice and Niklas Backstrom stopped 31 shots for his seventh shutout of the season as the Edmonton Oilers dropped the final game of their three-game road trip 3-0 to the Minnesota Wild Sunday afternoon.
The Oilers did manage to get four out of six points on the road trip, however, and head home three points up on a playoff spot.
made his return to the Oilers lineup for the first time since February 24 as he was inserted in place of the injured Liam Reddox
A giveaway by Marc-Andre Bergeron within the first minute of the game gave Robert Nilsson a breakaway. Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom made a nice pad save on the play.
Edmonton had another great chance about two minutes later. Shawn Horcoff
's shot from the top of the left circle was redirected on its way to the net by Patrick O'Sullivan but rang off the post behind Backstrom.
Bergeron took the game's first penalty, holding up Ales Kotalik and getting ticketed for interference. Edmonton moved the puck well for the first 90 seconds of the man advantage then Minnesota had a chance of their own going the other way. Cal Clutterbuck skated it on a two-on-one and had Roloson out of position but couldn't pull the trigger.
Shots on goal 15 minutes into the period were 13 to 1 for Edmonton as they continued to pepper Backstrom with shots and quality scoring opportunities.
The Oilers got their third power play of the period when Dan Fritsche railroaded Ladislav Smid
at the end boards in the Oilers zone. Minnesota's penalty killers were once again able to step up and kill off the two minutes.
Shots on goal after one period were 15-2 for Edmonton.
Minnesota came out flying to start the second period. Shots on goal were 10-2 through the opening six minutes.
Penalties to Ales Hemsky
and Sheldon Souray
about 30 seconds apart gave the Wild a two-man advantage as they attempted to get the game's first goal.
Edmonton's penalty kill unit did a good job, killing off both man disadvantages.
Just past the midway point of the period, Robert Nilsson lost the puck at his blueline to Pierre-Marc Bouchard who carried the puck back in the zone. Owen Nolan jammed at the puck in front but Roloson was there to make the save.
Minutes later, Steve Staios cross-checked Marian Gaborik from behind into the boards putting the Wild back on the power play. On the ensuing man advantage, Owen Nolan put home the loose puck for his team-leading 21st goal of the season giving Minnesota a 1-0 lead.
Roloson made a big stop on Nolan late in the period as the veteran Wild forward skated in on a partial break. He switched quickly from the backhand to forehand but Roloson came across to make the stop.
Shots on goal after two periods were 27 to 25 for Edmonton. Minnesota had 23 shots while Edmonton had 12 in the middle frame.
Minnesota extended their lead to 2-0 in the third period. James Sheppard had the puck in the corner where he passed the puck to Nolan at the top of the crease. Nolan made no mistake, flicking it past Roloson for his second of the game.
Nolan nearly had a hat trick midway through the third. He redirected a centering pass from Bouchard but Roloson came across to make a nice save.
An unfortunate bounce made it 3-0 for Minnesota in the latter half of the final frame. Tom Gilbert
's outlet pass ricocheted off Sam Gagner
's skate in front and into the net past a surprised Roloson.
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