Edmonton's Ryan Nugent-Hopkins squares up with Minnesota's Matt Cullen during second period action at Rexall Place on Nov. 30, 2011. The Wild won the game 3-2 in a shootout. (Photo by Andy Devlin / Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club)
With the loss, the Oilers' record drops to 12-10-3 as the orange and blue sit 10th in the Western Conference.
The Oilers' six-game homestand continues on Friday when the Columbus Blue Jackets come to town. Game time is 7:30 p.m. MDT and it can be seen on Sportsnet West.
65 minutes solved nothing, as the Oilers and Wild required a six-round shootout to determine a winner. Jordan Eberle, Sam Gagner and Shawn Horcoff each scored in the skills competition, but the home side was bested as Minnesota's Kyle Brodziak scored the shootout-winner, edging the Oilers 3-2 Wednesday night at Rexall Place.
The Oilers and Wild registered a shot each in the opening 2:12 so, looking to create a spark, Darcy Hordichuk dropped the mitts with Minnesota's Brad Staubitzh in a heavyweight tilt everyone saw coming. Both sides landed several good punches, but the Oilers' enforcer was given the decision in the near minute-long dust-up.
40 seconds later, Ales Hemsky broke in a partial breakaway but was held en route by Mike Lundin, putting the orange and blue's 20.8-percent power-play to work. The home added a pair of attempts on Niklas Backstrom, but were unable to convert.
With 10:02 on the clock and during a strong home push, an in-deep Andy Sutton (who missed six games with a groin pull) placed a seeing-eye cross-crease pass to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on the doorstep. No. 93 made no mistake, pulling the trigger and beating Backstrom with an along-the-ice one-timer on the Oilers' eighth shot.
44 seconds later, ex-Oiler Kyle Brodziak picked up a tripping minor, sending the home side back to the man-advantage. That soon became a non-issue, as the Oilers were caught with too many men with 12 seconds remaining in it, putting the Wild on their own power-play 12:30 into the opening period.
Minnesota's sputtering PP struggled to execute, conceding the chance without registering a single shot; and by this point in the period, the Oilers had gained a commanding 8-2 edge in that department.
Penalties to Ryan Jones and Ladislav Smid late in the period put the Wild on an extended, 1:16-long two-man advantage. Nikolai Khabibulin was assigned to make three saves, but he did so with ease, pushing the Oilers' 1-0 lead into the intermission, along with a 9-6 advantage in shots.
5:10 into the period, the Oilers extended to a 2-0 lead. With Minnesota's Greg Zanon in the box serving a roughing minor, Nugent-Hopkins located Jordan Eberle near the goal line; No. 14 collected the puck with quickness, snapping a backhand shot past Backstrom from a near-impossible angle to put his team up by a pair.
As the period's 10-minute mark passed, the Oilers extended to a 13-8 lead on the shot clock while upholding their well-deserved 2-0 edge on the scoreboard.
That was short-lived, however. With 8:29 to play, Wild captain Mikko Koivu made a strong centering pass to Devin Setoguchi in Khabibulin's grill. The 24-year-old redirected the disc through the veteran's wickets, cutting the Oilers' lead to a one-goal margin.
The sequence began with an ill-advised breakout pass by Tom Gilbert, who was unable to get solid wood on his neutral zone attempt.
An interference minor to Sutton put the Wild's 0-for-3 power-play back on the ice. Another centering pass helped orchestrate the play, but Kyle Brodziak's persistence in driving the net helped cash the goal, when he bulled his way to the net on a mad goal-mouth scramble.
The Oilers were granted another power-play chance late in the period when Wild winger Nick Johson was assessed a high-sticking minor, but the home team's push came up empty. As such, the teams skated to the dressing rooms locked in a 2-2 score with the Oilers holding a 17-16 edge in shots.
At 4:44 and with the shots even at 19, Theo Peckham was assessed a roughing minor, which put the Wild's PP back to work as they searched for the game's go-ahead tally. Minnesota peppered Khabibulin with four high-octane scoring chances but, unlike their previous attempt, were unable to score.
With 6:53 on the clock, Ales Hemsky drove wide and snapped a quick shot on goal; the rebound popped loose into the slot where Sam Gagner tapped it back, but Backstrom recovered to make a nice desperation save to keep the game knotted 2-2.
The teams traded chances in the game's waning moments, but nothing too dangerous came about. As such, the clock expired with the Oilers up 29-26 in shots, but the game required extra time to decide an outcome.
15 seconds into the extra period, Minnesota's Pierre-Marc Bouchard raced down the wing and rifled a snapshot that struck Khabibulin's crossbar, keeping the overtime period rolling but putting a scare into the home side.
3:07 in, Wild D man Jared Spurgeon went down easily behind his net, drawing a tripping minor to Ryan Smyth. Minnesota added three shots, but staunch shot-blocking by the home side kept the Wild's attack at bay, sending the game to a shootout. Through 65 minutes, the Oilers were up 30-29 on the shot clock
Jordan Eberle opened the skills competition with his trademark backhand deke, scoring upstairs and putting the home side up 1-0, but Minnesota's Bouchard responded with an equally as skilled marker.
In Round 2, Ales Hemky's along-the-ice shot attempt was turned aside by Backstrom's paddle, providing the visitors with a chance to go up; Mikko Koivu did, indeed, score to put the pressure back on the Oilers.
Sam Gagner came up big in Round 3, scoring with a forehand deke that squeaked through Backstrom's wickets and across the line. Still with an opportunity to win, Matt Cullen stepped up but was stopped by Khabibulin.
Neither team could score in the next round, but they both did in Round 5 (Shawn Horcoff and Dany Heatley). Ryan Smyth was next to shoot for the Oilers in Round 6, but his shot was stopped. Again with a chance to lock up the win, Devin Setoguchi stepped up and cashed on his turn, capping a 3-2 win for the Wild at Rexall Place.