The Edmonton Oilers (16-7-0) welcomed the Western Conference leading Minnesota Wild (17-6-1) to Rogers Place for the second game in their six-game homestand. Mikko Koskinen (12-3-0, 0.911%) got the start for the Oilers with former Oiler Cam Talbot (13-5-0, 0.915%) in goal for the Wild.
The Oilers seemed to start well enough, but found themselves on the PK just 33 seconds into the game via an Evan Bouchard hold. Minnesota took the lead on the man advantage through Joel Eriksson Ek, who you might remember was “who they were going to take anyway” with the 16th overall pick that became Mathew Barzal. Anyway. 0-1.
Edmonton pushed to try and find the equalizer but it was the Wild who scored next. Kris Russell provided Marcus Foligno with what could only be described as a courteous escort to the slot and the pass arrived just in time to leave Koskinen with no chance. 0-2.
Minnesota took two penalties in the next five minutes, but the Oilers PP has been a different animal over the past few games. In a bad way. Tonight was no different. Neither PP yielded the Oilers a foothold back into the game, and they went into the first intermission down by 2.
Edmonton started the second period with a bit more intent and found themselves on the PP again within the first 3 minutes. Again, though, they couldn’t find a goal.
But they were able to maintain their momentum from before the PP, and before long they were rewarded. Connor McDavid did what only he can do before circling behind the net and finding Jesse Puljujarvi out front. He took a touch and buried it far side with Zach Hyman creating havoc in the paint. Minnesota threatened to challenge but ultimately decided not to. 1-2.
The Oilers continued to carry the play for the next few minutes until the Wild drew themselves a penalty. Edmonton’s PK was stout this time, and were looking pretty comfortable out there until the Wild took a penalty to nullify their advantage. Edmonton enjoyed an abbreviated PP after a spell of 4v4 but couldn’t find the equalizer.
Edmonton kept after it for the remainder of the second period but Minnesota did just enough to keep them at bay. 1-2 after 2.
The first 5 or so minutes were extremely low event, with neither side able to generate more than one or two shot attempts to start the third. Eventually, the Oilers generated a lovely chance off the rush, but Darnell Nurse couldn’t bury from Leon Draisaitl’s corner office. Almost immediately, Minnesota went up the ice and scored an insurance marker. Rask, from Brodin. Right through the seam. 1-3.
Edmonton drew a penalty a few minutes later but, again, couldn’t get anything from it. 0/5 on the night. Hard to complain about the five opportunities, that feels like a generous night for these Oilers. You’ve got to figure they’re due to break this mini-slump soon, right?
Unfortunately, Minnesota made them pay. Former Oiler Dmitri Kulikov was sent in all alone — explain that one — and he beat Koskinen clean to put the game to bed. 1-4.
They’re 16-8-0 now. If this trajectory keeps up, pretty soon it’s going to be hard to point to the standings in response to anyone suggesting this team isn’t (wasn’t?) as good as its early record.
In fairness to Edmonton, they probably deserved better tonight. They were good enough to be ahead but Minnesota was able to find some goals from their chances while the Oilers simply couldn’t. In terms of process, you can appreciate what they did tonight. In terms of results? Well, I don’t know anyone who likes a 3-game losing streak.
CF% - 60.44%
FF% - 61.11%
xGF% - 56.33%
GF% - 33.33%
OVR - 16-8-0 (7-7-0 since 9-1-0 start)
Edmonton gets right back at it on Thursday night at home against the Boston Bruins. Puck drop slated for 7PM MST. Til then.