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  • A perfect night on special teams leads to big 4-3 win for Wild over the Oilers


    After falling to the Vancouver Canucks last night the Minnesota Wild looked to rebound against the Connor McDavid Oilers of Edmonton. Having had their 5-game win streak snapped in Vancouver, the Wild were looking to not make losing become regular. No easy task on the second night of back-to-backs and running up against a very potent Oilers offense. The Wild would once again have to come back from a deficit, but they seemed to have an answer for every Oiler goal, their special teams were 100% on both sides and they ultimately found a late lead to carry them to a 4-3 win in Edmonton.

    The Oilers came roaring out of the gate tonight, throwing 22 shots at Alex Stalock in the first 20-minutes of the game. Stalock stopped 21 of those, with his only blemish coming after a big flury in the paint with the puck eventually landing on the stick of Leon Draisaitl all alone on the weak side with a wide open net taunting him. Aside from the goal the Wild managed to to fight off the early onslaught from the Oilers and managed to gain a few chances of their own.

    The tie would come off the stick of Zach Parise cleaning up a rebound on the power play. Joel Eriksson Ek pinched in to break up a zone clear, the puck bounced over to Nino Niederreiter who tapped a pass over to Matt Dumba. The shot rebounded out to Parise who was lurking in the paint and able to put one past Cam Talbot. The power play strikes early, but the Wild were not done on the man-advantage in the game.

    The first period would end tied at 1 a piece, with a decided shot advantage for Edmonton 22-14. The Wild had some good stretches in there but Edmonton was playing fast and swarming the crease. Stalock had to be sharp in only giving up 1 goal in the period.

    Connor McDavid would of course score a goal in the game. Coming early in the second period on a play where he just blew past Ryan Suter like he was a potted plant and roofed one short-side against Stalock. At full speed McDavid’s supreme control was on full display on this play. Though McDavid would finish the game with just 1 point, he was buzzing around a lot and had several chances to take this game over.

    Once again the Wild would be able to tie it up, with their only even strength goal of the game. (spoiler alert?) Jared Spurgeon crept down into the slot and Eric Staal dished him the puck from behind the net. Spurgeon was able to get a stick on it and punched it home through some traffic. The Wild continued to show resiliency in not letting this game get out of control on them. They were playing a much stronger game in the second, limiting chances, and keeping the score close.

    Less than a minute later however, an Alex Chiasson deflection of a Matt Benning blast from the point would find its way past Stalock and put the Oilers back on top 3-2 late in the second period. Darnell Nurse would take a holding penalty though, and that would lead to the Wild’s second power play goal of the night.

    Ryan Suter would flip a wrister on goal that looked a lot like his goal on the power play last night in Vancouver. This time Eric Staal would redirect the shot past Talbot and bring the game back even at 3 to close out the second period. The period was kind of an odd duck. With the 4 combined goals being scored on just 15 combined shots. For the Wild, it was 2 goals off just 5 shots on goal.

    The third period saw a lot of back and forth hockey. The Wild and Oilers traded chances but after the Wild killed an early Eric Fehr high-sticking penalty Minnesota seemed to step it up a notch. With over 6 minutes remaining in the game, Drake Caggiula would take and interference penalty and give the Wild their third power play of the evening.

    Mikael Granlund would give the Wild their first lead of the game with just under 6 minutes remaining when he converted the teams third power play of the evening. Granlund was along the wall and just had a little space. He crept in closer to the net and roofed one short-side against Talbot.

    The story of the game was special teams. The wild were 3 for 3 on the power play and killed all 5 penalties against. Granlund continued his now 9 game point streak where he has scored 6 goals and 6 assists. Nino looked more involved tonight and although he still looks like he’s fighting it a bit I was seeing signs he may be coming around. Nino did notch 2 secondary assists on the night too.

    The Wild get a few days off before their next tilt in St. Louis against the Blues this Saturday. Mike Yeo and the Blues are really struggling since the season started. With a record of 3-4-3, the team has just 9 points in 10 games and will faceoff against the Vegas Golden Knights this Thursday prior to welcoming the Wild to town.

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