Oilers doubled up by Wild 4-2
|Edmonton's Shawn Horcoff prepares to slide the puck past Niklas Backstrom Thursday night at Rexall Place. The Oilers lost the game 4-2. (Photo by Andy Devlin / Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club)
Despite benefiting from five more power-plays and tallying 11 more shots than their opponents, the Oilers were unable to battle back from an early 2-0 deficit and lost 4-2 to the Wild Thursday night.
and Shawn Horcoff
scored Edmonton's first two goals, while rookie Taylor Hall
earned second-star honours for his spirited play. Goalie Nikolai Khabibulin
finished with 21 saves in the loss.
Under the Scope
Three minutes into the contest, the Wild struck. Although Khabibulin made an initial stop and caught the puck beneath him, former Oiler Kyle Brodziak prodded it loose and across the line to make it 1-0 for the visitors.
Three minutes later, Brodziak did it again. From inside the right face-off circle, the Alberta native sunk a top-shelf snipe, setting the score 2-0.
The Oilers got some help from the officials following the goal. Consecutive penalties to Nick Schultz and Chuck Kobasew gave the Oil two power-plays, including a 34-second five-on-three, but the club couldn't beat Niklas Backstrom.
Although Edmonton struggled in its first two man-advantages, the team pulled together for a third near the 12-minute mark. After applying steady pressure in the Wild zone, blueliners Ryan Whitney
and Kurtis Foster
got the puck to Hemsky, who snapped it over Backstrom to get the Oilers within one.
But with Dustin Penner
serving a hooking minor, Minnesota countered with a power-play marker of their own. Approaching from Khabibulin's right, Guillaume Latendresse converted a centering pass from Martin Havlat into a renewed two-goal cushion for the Wild.
Penalty box doors kept swinging as the period wrapped up. The infractions for charging and too many men ensured both teams would start the middle frame with four skaters.
The power-plays passed without additional scoring, but by the game's midway point, the Oilers had added 11 shots to assume a 20-8 shot lead.
The Wild narrowed the gap as the period progressed, but the extra shots had no effect on the score. After 40 minutes and a handful of excellent scoring chances for Hall, the Oilers were up nine shots but down two goals.
Four infractions early in the third, including a high-sticking minor and 10-minute misconduct to Penner, had the Oilers and Wild trading power-plays. The man-advantages were unsuccessful until 8:09, when Horcoff slipped the puck under Backstrom to make it 3-2.
Edmonton topped 30 shots and Minnesota hit 20 in the latter half of the third.
In the final two minutes, the Oilers opted for an extra skater and pulled Khabibulin. The strategy backfired, however, and Brent Burns added an empty-netter to seal a 4-2 win for the Wild.
|Three star selections