The Minnesota Wild needed to find its game on home ice after being away from Xcel Energy Center for 12 days. Eric Staal’s nice move and shootout goal in the sixth round would eventually seal Minnesota the victory.
The first period saw a disinterested Wild squad that looked like a team that just came home from a long ass 12 day road trip. Minnesota got the benefit of a power play, yet still couldn’t muster more than 5 shots on goal through the first ten minutes of the period. Dubnyk made a nice sweeping glove save on an early chance by Connor McDavid. The Wild goalie was very good in the period. Leon Draisaitl’s goal with under a minute to go in the frame was initially made a great stop on the German winger, but the rebound ended right back up on Draisaitl’s stick, and Dubnyk was a little tardy on getting the pad out to block the second attempt.
Matt Dumba would get the Wild’s offense going after a great shift by the fourth line led to Nino Niederreiter coming in to take over. Niederreiter’s work on the half wall allowed him to keep the puck in the zone. He turned and fed a hard pass to Dumba at the point for a wrist shot past Cam Talbot. Minnesota and Edmonton would skate to a 1-1 tie in at the end of two periods. Wild had a couple good chances. Tyler Graovac drove the net with a good chance. Eric Staal was robbed by the toe of Talbot. Though no goals would come of them.
The Wild are still a brutally bad team when it comes to scoring on an odd-man rush. Jason Zucker and Mikael Granlund had a a 2-on-1 in which a pass from Zucker was placed behind the Finn. But, the two stuck with it and Granlund gathered the puck off the wall and put a pass behind Adam Larsson, who got all twisted around, to find Zucker alone to the left of Talbot for an easy goal.
However, the Oilers would not be denied. After Kurtis Gabriel and Matt Dumba go back-to-back into the penalty box, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins would find the equalizer on the power play. Wild had some great chances, but were unable to find the net. Both teams went to overtime.
Minnesota started with possession and got some good pressure. Parise would take a high stick from McDavid and the resulting 4-on-3 power play would see the Wild garner a bunch of shots, most coming off the stick of Mikko Koivu, and some great hustle plays by Suter to keep the puck in at the line. Talbot stood on his head.
Sixty-five minutes wouldn’t be enough and off to the shootout.
It would take until Round Six of the shootout before the Wild would prevail. Big points for the hometown team. Minnesota isn’t playing on top of its game at the moment, but taking points is always a good thing to stay in the playoff picture as the team looks to get through the month of December.