The Edmonton Oilers (16-12-0) were on the road again, this time in Minnesota for the second half of a home and home with the Minnesota Wild (14-11-2). This marked the third meeting between the two teams already this season, with the season series tied at 1-1. Stuart Skinner (9-6-0, 0.919) — who is comfortably Edmonton’s number one goaltender and definitely did not cost $5MM per over five long years this summer — was back between the pipes for the Oilers, with Marc-Andre Fleury (9-7-1, 0.891) reprising his role as Goalie Who Let Five In on Friday for Minnesota.
Minnesota started the game with a bit more verve than their guests, with Stuart Skinner called into action on more than one occasion in the first few minutes. During that span, Leon Draisaitl was high sticked deep in the Wild zone, but the refs missed it.
They didn’t miss Jared Spurgeon’s hook on Draisaitl with about 5 minutes gone in the period, but the ensuing Oilers PP left a lot to be desired.
The Wild were able to settle after successfully killing the penalty, and eventually drew a penalty of their own — a trip on Tyson Barrie, officially — after a spell of what even the most generous observers would call low event hockey. Minnesota capitalized on their man advantage and, through Matthew Boldy, scored the game’s first goal.
matt boldy opens the scoring. 1-0 wild. pic.twitter.com/AxPiV3aUJV— zach (@zjlaing) December 13, 2022
Edmonton drew another penalty about 40 seconds later thanks to a Mason Shaw cross-check on Klim
Shady Kostin. This time, the league’s best power play broke through via Zach Hyman’s reintroduction to the scoresheet:
zach hyman is off the schneid. he ties it up at 1. pic.twitter.com/wxpE4EVZeW— zach (@zjlaing) December 13, 2022
The goal was challenged by Dean Evason and Co. for goaltender interference, but it was unsuccessful, which meant Edmonton went right back to the power play. Unfortunately, they couldn’t find the go-ahead goal.
The rest of the period played out scoreless and, frankly, relatively uneventful. The two teams went into the first intermission tied 1-1 with Edmonton ultimately outshooting the wild 9-6 after 20 minutes.
The Wild found themselves back on the power play within the first minute of the period thanks to Tyson Barrie’s second minor of the night. Edmonton was able to kill it off, but the Wild seemingly used the man advantage to get on top of the Oilers and, from then on, were the better team in the period. It didn’t tell right away, but it would.
Roughly 5 minutes into the second period, the Oilers went shorthanded again through a Philip Broberg hold on Jonas Brodin. Minnesota didn’t score on the power play, but did appear to get their noses in front just as Broberg was stepping back on the ice and returning to the DZ. Matt Dumba had a couple of cracks at it, and eventually fooled Skinner from the high slot on a shot he caught high on the blade.
But Jeremy Coupal astutely noticed the entire sequence began with a clear offside at the Oilers blue line, and the goal was wiped.
If you thought the Oilers would use that bit of good fortune to get their butts in gear and steal a lead, you’d be wrong. Entirely wrong. Almost embarrassingly so.
In fact, it was one-way traffic for Minnesota, and eventually it paid off through a Freddie Gaudreau goal that capped off a nice sequence from Boldy:
frederick gaudreau scores to make it 2-1. pic.twitter.com/9RSmJkqYAW— zach (@zjlaing) December 13, 2022
The rest of the period was, unfortunately, frustratingly, annoyingly, more of the same. Minnesota completely dominated the last 10 minutes of the second period, and it wasn’t until the last few shifts the Oilers even hinted at stablizing at 5v5. Just in time for the buzzer.
1-2 after 40 minutes, with Minnesota outshooting Edmonton 22-15.
Edmonton started the third period with a little bit of impetus, for a change, and drew a penalty within the first two minutes, as Matt Dumba slashed Draisaitl just as he was whistling one just wide of Marc-Andre Fleury’s far post.
The first minute was uninspiring. The second moreso. Less so? Either way, it was bad. Unfortunately, it seemed to set the tone for the remainder of the period. Edmonton did generate one half-decent chance in the first 10 minutes: a 3-on-1 that McDavid, for some reason, decided to defer to Darnell Nurse on. He flubbed the pass and the chance went begging.
That was — and I’m not exaggerating at all — about as close as they would come in the third period. It was really uninspiring. They really didn’t threaten at all. They rolled a couple of consecutive shifts together of keeping the puck in the Minnesota zone, but generated effectively nothing from the OZ time.
There were a couple of odd-man rushes around the ~5 minutes left mark, but those, too, came and went without even so much as a shot on goal. Edmonton couldn’t get a single thing going.
Edmonton was given a lifeline with 51 seconds remaining as Draisaitl was spilled away from the puck after Skinner had to be sharp to keep the puck out during a chaotic scramble just before.
But they couldn’t tie it. Hyman deflected a pass through Fleury’s legs and the crease, but it slid just outside the far post. That was literally the closest they came in the period.
1-2 final. Minnesota outshot the Oilers — who trailed for a long time in this game — 30-21 in the game, 8-6 in the third period.
The Oilers would do very well to trade Darnell Nurse for Jacob Chychrun, IMO.
They’d do even better to trade Ken Holland for a bar of soap.
Also — at some point Mr. Jay Woodcroft needs to wear some percentage of these performances. I was a big IJWT guy last year. He’s underwhelmed me so far this year. This is not a team greater than the sum of its parts right now.
Nashville. Tomorrow. 6PM MST.