The Minnesota Wild did something they had not done in two months when they defeated the Edmonton Oilers 5-2 Thursday at Rexall Place for their third win in as many games. However, the game could have gone the other way.
The Oilers had the better zone time and controlled more of the play throughout all 60 minutes, but the Wild never trailed and limited the good scoring chances. The Wild evened some of the play in the third.
The Wild (26-22-10) got power play goals from Jason Pominville and Matt Dumba on their first two man advantage opportunities to hold a pair of one-goal leads in the first period. Pominville one-timed a rebound past Cam Talbot from the face-off dot to the goaltender’s right to get the Wild on the board 9 minutes, 30 seconds into the game. Dumba gave the Wild their second lead when his centering pass to Charlie Coyle hit an Oilers defender and deflected into the open net at the 13:16 mark.
The Oilers (22-31-6) answered both Wild goals fairly quickly with help from defensive miscues. Rookie Connor McDavid scored 28 seconds after Pominville scored the game’s first goal. He re-directed a pass from Benoit Pouliot off a 2-on-1 rush into the open net behind Darcy Kuemper. The Oilers tied the game again at 2-2 4 minutes, 3 seconds after Dumba scored. Nail Yakupov intercepted a breakout pass from Nate Prosser and caught Kuemper too deep in his net with a wrist shot over the goaltender’s shoulder.
Thomas Vanek put the Wild ahead for good with a wrist shot past Talbot in the slot off a pass from Mikko Koivu. Mike Reilly pinched down from the point to keep the puck in the zone and passed it to Koivu behind the net for his first career NHL assist.
Mikael Granlund gave the Wild their first multi-goal lead of the game at the 15:37 mark of the second period by driving the net. He was able to get position and knock a rebound from a shot by Dumba into the open net behind Talbot. Reilly recorded his second assist of the game for his first career multi-point game in the NHL by starting the breakout to Granlund at center ice.
Coyle moved into a tie with Zach Parise for the team lead in goals with an empty net tally with 3.3 seconds left in the game. He was given a gift when Oilers defenseman Adam Clendening fanned a pass attempt after chasing the puck deep into his own zone. Coyle caught the puck at the goal line and tucked it into the net.
No. 3 – Nail Yakupov. The Oilers forward scored a goal.
No. 2 – Thomas Vanek. The Wild forward had a goal and an assist.
No. 1 – Matt Dumba. The Wild defenseman recorded a goal and an assist.