Oilers outshoot but can't outscore the Wild
|Minnesota's Anti Miettinen deflects a shot from Matt Cullen on Nikolai Khabibulin during the first period of play. (Getty Images)
had a goal and an assist and the Oilers outshot Minnesota decisively by a count of 35 to 22 but it wasn't enough as the Wild held on to defeat Edmonton 4-2 at the Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul on Thursday night.
scored the other goal for the Oilers.
Edmonton carried the play in the early going, outshooting Minnesota 4 to 1 over the first seven minutes of the game. However, it was the Oilers' Theo Peckham
that got the game's first penalty. Peckham was sent off for tripping.
34 seconds into the man advantage, the Wild struck for a goal to take a 1-0 lead. Matt Cullen's shot from the left circle was deflected in front of the net by Antti Miettinen past Khabibulin for the goal.
35 seconds after the opening marker, Minnesota struck again to take a 2-0 lead. Pierre-Marc Bouchard had the puck behind the Oilers net before centering it in front to a pinching Marek Zidlicky in the slot. Zidlicky made no mistake, one-timing it in for the two-goal edge.
Edmonton returned to the box 23 seconds after the goal after a slashing penalty by Jordan Eberle
With eight minutes to play in the opening frame, Miettinen clipped Ryan Jones
with a high stick to put Edmonton on a four-minute power play with a chance to get back in the game.
During the five-on-four, Tom Gilbert
nearly scored the Oilers' first of the night. He deked around Wild netminder Niklas Backstrom and had an open cage but couldn't jam it in. Neither could Ryan Jones
who was perched in the crease during the scramble in front.
Heading back the other way, Khabibulin came up huge on a pair of saves, diving to deny John Madden on the rush. A third attempt by Madden was blocked by Gilbert.
After 20 minutes of play, shots on goal were 9-9 but Minnesota had a 2-0 lead.
The first five shots on goal in the middle frame were all Edmonton's but the sixth shot on goal was Minnesota and it extended the Wild's lead.
Brad Staubitz, John Madden and Eric Nystrom skated in on the three-man rush with Nystrom flipping the puck over to Staubitz whose shot just squeeked through Khabibulin and barely over the goal line to give the Wild a 3-0 lead.
Minnesota's lead increased to 4-0 with 6:47 to play in the middle frame. Martin Havlat teed up a shot from the top of the left circle that beat Khabibulin glove side.
Late in the period, Peckham, Ryan O'Marra
and Jones skated in on a three-on-one while the Oilers were shorthanded. O'Marra passed it across the slot to Jones but it just skipped over his stick. Peckham was clipped with a high stick on the play, sending Miettinen to the box and putting Edmonton back on the power play for the third time tonight.
With 28 seconds to go in the man advantage, the Oilers finally scored one to narrow the gap to three. Tom Gilbert
teed up a blast from the left point that made its way through a screen and into the back of the net to make it a 4-1 game. Jones and Paajarvi got the helpers.
Shots on goal after two periods of play were 22 to 19 in favour of Edmonton.
nearly made it a two-goal game and nearly ended his two-year NHL goal-scoring drought as he was set up with a great pass by Brule. He came in all alone and attempted to deke out Backstrom but the Wild netminder just got a toe on the puck.
With 8:50 to go in the game, Mikko Koivu was sent off for upending Jones to give the Oilers a man advantage. With 10 seconds left in that power play, Kyle Brodziak hooked Linus Omark
to set up a two-man advantage.
The Oilers managed several shots on goal during the man-power advantages but could not convert. Minnesota's parade to the penalty box continued with a Brent Burns slashing penalty while 26 seconds remained on the Brodziak minor.
Right after the Brodziak penalty expired, Linus Omark
wired a shot from the dot of the right faceoff circle up and over the shoulder of Backstrom to make it a 4-2 game. The goal was Omark's first since January 25.
Edmonton had a 13 to 3 shot advantage in the final frame but could not close the gap.
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