SAINT PAUL, MN - The Edmonton Oilers fell 4-2 to the Minnesota Wild at the Xcel Energy Center on Sunday night. The Oilers goals were scored by Magnus Paajarvi and Sam Gagner as the team was outshot 43 to 21 after a late charge to tie the game fell short.
Not since November 8, 2006 in a game against Detroit had the Oilers gone an entire period without a shot on goal. That was the case tonight as Edmonton was blanked in the second period.
"It was an extremely disappointing second period, there's no question," said Oilers head coach Ralph Krueger after the game. "I thought we had a bit of a slow start and in the second period it was amazing how we just lost almost every battle there was and they really maintained the pressure in our end."
Paajarvi, who had a goal and four of the team's 21 shots, said the team simply needed to get more pucks on net.
"That was embarrassing," he said. "We talk about it every practice that we need to get shots. We couldn't get the puck on net today."
Shots after 40 minutes were 29 to 7 for the Wild after a tight opening frame that saw each team score and Minnesota outshoot Edmonton 11 to 7.
"We couldn't create anything," Krueger remarked. "Which the shot clock showed. Being 1-1 after two, we almost had to say 'hey, we've got a good shot at this now. We can play a lot better."
As the third period got underway, the Wild floodgates opened once again. Minnesota wasted no time taking the lead, skating into the Edmonton zone off the faceoff. Mikko Koivu corralled the puck in the slot and fired a wrist shot past Dubnyk to make it 2-1.
"The start of the third period just really put the knife into us. It was difficult to recover," stated Krueger.
The Oilers finally registered their first shot on net since the opening period during a scramble in front of the Wild goaltender Nik Backstrom. It was Jordan Eberle who registered the shot.
Minnesota extended that lead to 3-1 with 13:51 to play in the final frame. Charlie Coyle backhanded a shot past Dubnyk from the left circle.
The Oilers got back in the game on a crazy bounce with seven minutes to play in the period. The puck ricocheted off the skate of Sam Gagner behind the Minnesota net and it bounced off the back of Backstrom and in to make it a one-goal game.
"I thought the guys tried to push at least in the last five or six minutes. They didn't lie down completely but overall Minnesota took it to us today. They outbattled us. They were more aggressive in every situation. They just wanted it more."
Several minutes later, with Jeff Petry in the penalty box for goaltender interference, Minnesota connects on the man advantage. The initial shot from the right point by Koivu is stopped by Dubnyk but Heatley is right at the doorstep to bang home the rebound to seal the deal.
"We obviously can't play that way if we expect to win," said Gagner. "It's a wake-up call. We need to find a way to raise our level."
Krueger added that the team needs to play with more compete come Tuesday in Columbus.
"We need to learn from this one and just get much, much hungrier in our next game."
It only took the Wild 2:37 to open the scoring in the game. Jared Spurgeon took the puck at the right point and wristed it past Dubnyk to put the Wild up by one.
Moments later, Pierre-Marc Bouchard was sprung in alone on a breakaway but Dubnyk gave him nothing to shoot at so his shot went wide.
From that point, the Oilers started to turn the momentum in the opening period in their direction with some productive shifts deep in the Minnesota end.
The Oilers tied the game up with some hard work around the Wild crease. Magnus Paajarvi's first shot was denied by he managed to bank his second attempt in off Backstrom to make it a 1-1 game.