|MIN||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||3|
|EDM||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||2|
by Jen Sharpe | edmontonoilers.com
Although Ales Kotalik revitalized his club with a goal late in the third period, it was too little, too late for the Oil. With 31 saves, Niklas Backstrom backstopped the Wild to a 3-2 victory Sunday night at Rexall Place. Fernando Pisani scored Edmonton's first goal, while Dwayne Roloson stopped 18 shots in the loss.
Five minutes into the game, Oilers captain Ethan Moreau was assessed a tripping penalty, and though the club killed that initial man-advantage, they couldn't keep the Wild off the board afterwards.
Only two seconds after the return of five-on-five, Marian Gaborik fired a weak shot on net. Andrew Brunette intercepted the puck and wrapped it around Roloson's left skate to give Minnesota a 1-0 lead. 1:51 later, Martin Skoula doubled it. From the left point, the Wild defenceman directed a slapshot through traffic and into the net for a 2-0 visiting lead.
In the latter half of period, tempers flared between Zack Stortini and John Scott, resulting in dropped gloves, clenched fists, a handful of landed punches, and fighting majors.
With six minutes left on the clock, a hooking minor to Craig Weller secured him a seat beside Scott in the Wild penalty box. Unfortunately for hometown fans, the Oilers powerplay struggled and failed to register a shot on Backstrom. As such, the visitors carried their 2-0 lead into the second period.
19 seconds into the second, the Oilers got another powerplay chance to narrow the goal gap thanks to a tripping penalty to Marek Zidlicky. Although the club assumed an 11-8 shot lead on the man-advantage, Backstrom turned away each attempt and then watched his club draw -- and complete -- their second powerplay when Denis Grebeshkov served his full two minutes for tripping.
Midway through the middle frame, Oilers blueliner Ladislav Smid left the game due to injury. It was later announced that he fractured his left hand and would not return.
Edmonton and Minnesota stayed neck-and-neck on the shot clock throughout the period. A late goaltender interference penalty to Ales Hemsky offered the Wild the chance to increase their lead, but Roloson held out for a scoreless second period to keep his club within two heading into the third.
The Wild tallied the first two shots of the final frame, but one minute in, the Oilers made their first attempt count. Moreau cut up the right wing and deep into the offensive zone when he hit Fernando Pisani with a centering pass. #34 forced the puck past Backstrom to get the Oilers on the board and back within one.
The one-goal game wouldn't last long, however. On a delayed penalty three minutes later, Gaborik skated to the middle of the face-off circle and tucked the puck under the crossbar for a 3-1 Wild lead and his second point of the game.
The Oilers stayed on top of the shot clock as the period progressed, and the extra attempts paid off in a second goal. With a set-up courtesy of Shawn Horcoff and Hemsky, Ales Kotalik wired the puck past Backstrom to set the score at 3-2 with five minutes left in regulation.
With just over one minute left, an exciting scoring opportunity by Andrew Cogliano got fans on their feet, but Backstrom made a miraculous pad save to prevent the equalizer. Six skaters got Edmonton over the 30-shot hump but a third goal would remain elusive. Minnesota came away with a 3-2 win.
|Andrew Brunette (20) ASST: Marian Gaborik (5), Marek Zidlicky (28)|
1 - 0 MIN
|Martin Skoula (3) ASST: Owen Nolan (18), James Sheppard (15)|
2 - 0 MIN
|Fernando Pisani (6) ASST: Ethan Moreau (12), Denis Grebeshkov (29)|
2 - 1 MIN
|Marian Gaborik (7) ASST: Kim Johnsson (22), Owen Nolan (19)|
3 - 1 MIN
|Ales Kotalik (18) ASST: Ales Hemsky (41), Shawn Horcoff (33)|
3 - 2 MIN
|Ethan Moreau Tripping against Eric Belanger|
|John Scott Fighting against Zack Stortini|
|Zack Stortini Fighting against John Scott|
|Craig Weller Hooking against Ales Hemsky|
|Mikko Koivu Tripping against Shawn Horcoff|
|Andrew Cogliano Roughing against Marek Zidlicky|
|Marek Zidlicky Roughing against Andrew Cogliano|
|Denis Grebeshkov Tripping against James Sheppard|
|Ales Hemsky Interference - Goalkeeper against Niklas Backstrom|
|Kim Johnsson Tripping against Kyle Brodziak|
|Marek Zidlicky Roughing against Ales Hemsky|
|Ales Hemsky Roughing against Marek Zidlicky|
|SA: 33||TOI: 59:53|
|Saves: 31||EV: 25 - 27|
|PIM: 0||PP: 3 - 3|
|SV%: .939||SH: 3 - 3|
|SA: 21||TOI: 58:55|
|Saves: 18||EV: 16 - 19|
|PIM: 0||PP: 2 - 2|
|SV%: .857||SH: 0 - 0|