|MIN||0||0||1||0||1 (1 - 2)||2|
|EDM||1||0||0||0||0 (0 - 3)||1|
The Oilers held a 1-0 lead for 43:52, but Dany Heatley and the Wild scored at the most opportune time, equalling the score with only 1.2 seconds to play before winning 2-1 in a shootout Thursday night at Rexall Place.
Nikolai Khabibulin got the start in goal, posting 30 saves in the loss.
Minnesota went to the power-play at 2:58 when Ryan Smyth crashed the crease a little too hard on Wild 'tender Niklas Backstrom. Corey Potter's point shot provided the game's initial attempt, but No. 94's enthusiam at the goal-mouth pressured referee Marc Joanette into a call. The Wild registered a pair of shots, but nothing of great danger.
The orange and blue's best chance came when Magnus Paajarvi burst down the wing, snapping a quick shot on goal for Linus Omark to pounce on; the 24-year-old was unable to corral the rebound, however, and the game remained scoreless.
Eberle continued his strong start later in the period, setting up Taylor Hall on the rush for a shot and ensuing set-up of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins with (what appeared to be) an empty-net tap-in. Minnesota D man Marco Scandella stepped to deny the talented threesome, preserving the 0-0 score in a mad, doorstep scramble.
On the Oilers' eighth shot at 16:06, Ryan Smyth scooped a Greg Zanon turnover, sliding a well-placed pass to Ryan Jones at the crease's lip. The gritty 27-year-old made contact, tipping the puck behind Backstrom for the opening tally.
With 2:44 on the clock, Ben Eager got into the action, picking up a slashing minor and engaging in a spirited, 30-second bout with Wild winger Brad Staubitz. The Oilers killed the two-minute disadvantage with ease and headed to the locker room with a 1-0 lead on the scoreboard and 9-7 edge in shots.
The 94-10-28 combination worked wonders early on, dominating the visitors in a minute-long lesson before drawing a hooking minor from Nick Schultz. The Oilers' power-play tallied three shots, but sputtered when Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was charged for intereference 1:25 in.
Neither side could generate a scoring chance during the 35-second 4-on-4 sequence and ensuing Wild advantage.
As the period's midway point approached, the Oilers held a 14-13 lead in shots and had counted on Nikolai Khabibulin to help maintain the 1-0 edge. Minnesota's Matt Cullen was sprung on a breakaway behind Andy Sutton and Ladislav Smid. The Wild pivot burned in goal, snapping a shot low stick-side, but the Oilers' 38-year-old veteran closed the wickets in time.
A frenetic, near two-minute long pushed forced Cam Barker to take a cross-checking minor at 13:58. It was the Oilers, mind you, that got the better of the chances. Eric Belanger raced down the middle on a break while being chased by Jared Spurgeon; his quick backhand attempt caught iron, keeping the game in a 1-0 score.
With 40 minutes in the books, the Oilers continued to lead 1-0 and were in possession of an 18-17 shot advantage.
The Oilers and Wild combined to record nine shots in the opening eight minutes, but the teams' end-to-end pace was largely inconsequential, as no further damage was done on the scoreboard. The Oilers' 23-21 lead on the shot clock carried through to the period's midway mark.
Looking to cash the equalizer, Minnesota pulled ahead with a 26-24 advantage in attempts, but Khabibulin looked sharp, stunning Wild shooters in the game's waning moments.
Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo pulled Backstrom for an extra-attacker in the final minute; and on their only shot with the man-advantage, and with only 1.2 seconds to play, Dany Heatley's sharp-angle shot squeaked across to the line behind Khabibulin to send the game to overtime.
Fuelled by the momentum of the late-game marker, Minnesota cracked the 30-shot barrier 36 seconds into the extra period, while the Oilers, still reeling, had trouble generating much early.
The Oilers did get to Backstrom late in the period, mind you. Point-blank chances by Smyth, Potter and Eberle pulled the Oilers even on the shot clock, 31-31, but the game remained tied and was headed to shootout.
Jordan Eberle was first to shoot, and his backhand-forehand deke was denied on the goal line by the Wild netminder. Matt Cullen stepped up for Minnesota, and his slow-speed backhand move beat Khabibulin under the bar to give the Wild a 1-0 advantage.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was next up looking to equal the score, but his backhand try was stopped. Pierre-Marc Bouchard looked to end it with his attempt, but Khabibulin came up big with a sliding pad save.
Eric Belanger stepped up in a must-score situation. His cheeky mock-slapper pulled Backstrom out of position, but a sharp-angle shot toward the gaping cage caught iron, allowing the Wild to escape Rexall Place with a 2-1 shootout win.
Follow me on Twitter | @ryandittrick
|Ryan Smyth Interference on goalkeeper against Niklas Backstrom|
|Kyle Brodziak Hooking against Taylor Hall|
|Brad Staubitz Fighting (maj) against Ben Eager|
|Ben Eager Fighting (maj) against Brad Staubitz|
|Ben Eager Slashing against Brad Staubitz|
|Nick Schultz Hooking against Shawn Horcoff|
|Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Interference against Darroll Powe|
|Cam Barker Cross checking against Pierre-Marc Bouchard|
|SA: 31||TOI: 64:02|
|Saves: 30||EV: 26 - 27|
|PIM: 0||PP: 3 - 3|
|SV%: .968||SH: 1 - 1|
|SA: 31||TOI: 65:00|
|Saves: 30||EV: 24 - 25|
|PIM: 0||PP: 6 - 6|
|SV%: .968||SH: 0 - 0|