The Minnesota Wild suffered a rare home loss to the Edmonton Oilers 5-2 Friday at Xcel Energy Center.
The Wild were unable to stop the Oilers’ talented young group of forwards, led by four first round draft picks.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, the No. 1 overall selection last June in St. Paul, scored a pair of goals.
Taylor Hall, the previous No. 1 overall pick, had a goal and an assist.
The Wild were uncharacteristically sloppy in the defensive zone, which accounted for three of the five Oiler goals.
“We were flat out not good around the net,” Mike Yeo said.
When the Wild did have the puck in the offensive zone, the Oilers forced it into long shots and did not have second chances.
The play of the night for the Wild came on its second goal, which tied the game at two nine minutes into the second period. Pierre-Marc Bouchard stole the puck from Nugent-Hopkins at the blue line and out skated the defenseman toward Oiler goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin for a shot breakaway. Instead of doing his spin-o-rama for the third time on the veteran netminder, he slid the puck between his legs while deking to his forehand.
The Oilers (12-8-2) jumped on the Wild early and got the first goal on a redirection by Ryan Smyth just over five minutes into the game.
“We have been spotting teams a lead,” Yeo said. “They are nice stories about coming back. As a team we didn’t enough to win. As a result is what you saw.”
Devin Setoguchi got the Wild on the board late in the first period to cut the deficit in half with a power play tally. He fired a loose puck at a short-angle to Khabibulin’s left, just under the cross bar. Mikko Koivu and Jared Spurgeon got the assists with a good passing and shot play that got the loose puck to Setoguchi.
Brad Staubitz found himself in the doghouse early the game after what he felt was a high hit from Darcy Hordichuk. Staubitz took two double minor penalties while trying to retaliate.
“Obviously, we’re not happy about it,” Yeo said. “On the first, we gave him the benefit of the doubt. We Thought Hordichuk dove and when (Staubitz) dropped his gloves, didn’t do anything with it.”
The Wild return to action Sunday against the Calgary Flames at Xcel Energy Center.
No. 3 – Shawn Horcoff. The Oiler forward recorded a goal and an assist.
No. 2 – Taylor Hall. The Oiler forward recorded a goal and an assist, including the game-winning goal.
No. 1 – Nikolai Khabibulin. The Oilers goaltender made several big saves to preserve the win.
Edmonton 2 1 2 – 5
Minnesota 1 1 0 – 2
First Period – 1, Edmonton, Smyth 12 (Eberle, Peckham), 5:15. 2, Edmonton, Nugent-Hopkins 9 (Gagner, Belanger), 16:29 (pp). 3, Minnesota, Setoguchi 7 (Koivu, Spurgeon), 19:50 (pp). Penalties – Staubitz, Min, double minor (interference, roughing), 6:35; Staubitz, Min, double minor (cross checking, roughing); Gagner, Edm (slashing), 18:13; Peckham, Edm (cross checking), 19:20.
Second Period – 4, Minnesota, Bouchard 2 (unassisted), 9:00. 5, Edmonton, Hall 7 (Gilbert, Horcoff), 15:29. Penalties – Gilbert, Edm (interference), 19:34.
Third Period – 6, Edmonton, Horcoff 7 (Hemsky, Hall), 7:28. 7, Edmonton, Nugent-Hopkins 10 (Eberle, Smyth), 18:37. Penalties – Hordichuk, Edm (hooking), 3:50.
Shots on goal – Edmonton 8-10-11 29. Minnesota 13-6-13 32.
Goalies – Edmonton, Khabibulin (30-32). Minnesota, Harding (24-28). A – 18,092. Referees – Eric Furlatt, Greg Kimmerly. Linesmen – Ryan Galloway, Thor Nelson.