The Oilers orchestrated a three-goal second period to pull even 3-3, but Jared Spurgeon's late power-play goal propelled the Minnesota Wild to a 4-3 victory Tuesday night at Rexall Place.
Nikolai Khabibulin started in goal for Edmonton, stopping only four of the seven shots he faced.
The Wild got on the board early when Jared Spurgeon's long-range point shot eluded traffic and beat Oilers netminder Nikolai Khabibulin glove-side.
Near the seven-minute mark, late lineup add Darcy Hordichuk made an immediate impression. He lined up and crushed Wild blueliner Nate Prosser, sending him violently to the ice. In response, Matt Kassian challenged Hordichuk and the two dropped the mitts in a highly-spirited and evenly-matched bout.
Following that, Linus Omark was assessed the game's first penalty, sending the Wild to the power-play. The man-advantage chance without incident and the game remained scoreless.
Moments later, the Oilers peppered Josh Harding for the equalizer. Taylor Hall was sprung on a breakaway, but his backhand deke was cleverly denied by the Wild 'tender.
At 13:58, camp invite Kirill Tulupov was charged for hooking, sending the Wild to their second power-play opportunity.
This time, they made good. A scrambled play near the crease, combined with sloppy coverage in the slot, allowed centre Jarod Palmer to scoop a rebound chance and pop the puck above Khabibulin to put Minnesota up 2-0.
The goals continued to come when an odd-man rush choreographed by Pierre-Marc Bouchard put the Wild up 3-0. The 5'10", 172-pound pivot snapped the puck up up high, allowing his squad to take a commanding lead on their seventh shot.
Late in the period at 19:17, Omark was assessed a roughing minor. The Wild were unable to generate much and the power-play chance carried into the middle frame.
Once Omark's penalty was successfully killed, the Oilers got their chance to respond. Matt Cullen was assessed a hooking minor, sending Edmonton to the power-play at 2:42.
Late in the advantage, a point shot by Martin Marincin eluded Harding, sitting deep in the crease behind him. Rookie Anton Lander was quick to the scene, tapping the puck home to cut Minnesota's lead to 3-1 at 4:52.
At 8:30, early-hero Lander was charged for tripping, putting Minnesota back on the power-play. The Oilers killed the chance once again, leading 14-10 on the shot clock as the midway point passed.
With 9:09 remaining in the period during a TV timeout, Khabibulin was replaced by Tyler Bunz between the pipes; at the other end, Harding was replaced with Matt Hackett.
The Oilers' dangerous PP went back to work at 11:25 when Wild rearguard Jordan Hendry was send to the box. The team's shot clock advantage was extended to 19-10 during the two-minute chance, but none could be cashed.
That changed quickly. Edmonton's all-Swedish line combined to make it a one-goal game. An amazing play orchestrated by Lander, poking the puck toward Hackett in a mode of desperation, allowed Magnus Paajarvi to hammer the puck at the goal-mouth, securing the Oilers' second tally.
With 4:06 remaining in the period on the Oilers' 24th shot, Taylor Fedun's initial point blast sat in the crease, where Antti Tyrvainen pounced, sliding the puck past Hackett for the tying marker.
Edmonton's three-goal second period pulled the score even 3-3, and the home side also doubled-up the Wild 24-12 in shots.
3:33 into the period, Wild tough-guy Darroll Powe crunched Taylor Fedun with a dirty hit square in the numbers. Cameron Abney come to his teammate's aide, dropping the gloves with Powe and feeding him several punches before the linesmen stepped in.
Fedun recovered quickly, but Powe had already been charged for boarding. Abney picked up two for roughing, netting in a three-minute Oilers power-play that passed without a scoring chance.
With 8:22 on the clock, Ryan Jones was sent off for tripping. The Wild closed the gap on the shot clock (29-17 Oilers), but the 3-3 tie remained on the scoreboard.
With 1:51 to play, Taylor Hall was called for high-sticking, putting the Wild back on the man-advantage. It took them only seven seconds to cash, as Jared Spurgeon scored his second of the evening off another long-range wrister.
The Oilers pulled Bunz for an extra-attacker in the game's waning moments, but the tying marker could not be recorded.
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