The Minnesota Wild game in Edmonton on Saturday night was not nice.
Well, at least the result wasn’t.
The Wild (39-23-7) saw a three-game winning streak end with a 4-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers (30-34-4). One of the NHL’s best scorers, Connor McDavid, scored a pair of second-period goals to put his team up 2-0. The loss snaps an eight-game winning streak for the Wild in Edmonton, dating back to Feb. 21, 2013.
Goaltender Devan Dubnyk got the nod on back-to-back nights, but his 200th career victory will have to wait. The former Oilers goaltender lost for just the second time to his former team; it was also his first loss in six games in Edmonton when facing the Oilers.
It was the second loss to the Oilers this season for the Wild; the clubs meet again in April.
The Wild outshot the Oilers 12-5 in the first period and seemed to have the better chances, but it was still a scoreless contest until McDavid tallied his 32nd of the season at 9:11 of the second period after skating around Wild defenseman Ryan Suter.
“That’s a bad guy to turn the puck over to,” said Wild coach Bruce Boudreau.
The Wild didn’t seem to show any sense of urgency and were outskated in the second period, giving Edmonton the edge they needed. McDavid scored again just about three minutes later on the power play when Matt Dumba had an unfortunate, yet perfect, screen of Dubnyk.
The Wild’s lone goal came from Charlie Coyle about halfway through the third period to make it a 2-1 game. He received a pass from Tyler Ennis on the doorstep and didn’t miss.
Coyle also just missed a wraparound chance in the first period. It’s his second goal in as many games and his 10th of the season.
With just the one goal in the game, the Mikael Granlund-Eric Staal-Jason Zucker line was held off the board. Zucker led the team with seven shots on goal.
“We were able to get some energy in the second half of the third period, but that’s not giving yourself much time,” Dubnyk said.
Late in the third, Matt Cullen took a tripping penalty, and the Oilers took advantage. As Granlund and a couple of his teammates went into the Oilers zone on the rush shorthanded, Granlund stopped and had the puck stripped. Next thing you know, Leon Draisaitl gives Edmonton a 3-1 lead with 3:35 to go in the game.
“I think Granny was trying to be too cute with the puck, quite frankly,” Boudreau said.
That goal killed any momentum the Wild had built up with the pressure they put on Edmonton looking to tie the hockey game. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins tallied his second point of the game with the empty-net goal with 2:33 remaining in the game. McDavid had the primary assist to give him a three-point night.
Boudreau was pleased with the first period and the third, for a while.
“In the third period, I thought we were taking the play to them until they got the third one, and then that was sort of it,” Boudreau said.
The Oilers capitalized on the power play, going 2-for-2. It’s unfortunate for the Wild, since the Oilers came in with the worst power play in the league. They’ve scored just 26 goals with the man advantage this season. But, the Wild’s penalty kill ranks near the bottom as well.
The Wild just had trouble getting the puck out of the zone, especially when they had it on their own sticks.
“Special teams killed us today,” Boudreau said.
Dubnyk (30-13-5) with 24 saves on 27 shots. Cam Talbot (25-26-2) with32 saves on 33 shots.
The Wild are 4-7-1 on the second night of back-to-back games.
The Oilers outhit the Wild 43-21 in the game.
The Wild outshot the Oilers 33-28.
Zach Parise’s six-game points streak was snapped.
The Wild return home for a game against Colorado on Tuesday night.
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