The Edmonton Oilers dropped a 7-3 decision to the Minnesota Wild on Sunday night. The game was put to bed early when the Wild scored four goals on their first seven shots, effectively chasing Mike Smith from the game in the first period.
Evander Kane and Tyler Benson got the only markers for the Oilers as the team’s undefeated streak under Jay Woodcroft stops at five games.
Minnesota didn’t wait long to get the scoring started in this one. A relentless forecheck by the Wild led to Nick Bjustad powering the puck in front of the net and finding Brandon Duhaime in the slot for a one-timer that beat Mike Smith. Less than five minutes into the game and the Oilers find themselves in a 1-0 hole.
Kailer Yamamoto gave the Wild a chance to extend that lead on the first shift following the goal. He got caught tripping Kirill Kaprisov to give Minnesota the first powerplay of the game. Joel Eriksson-Ek would do just that as he whizzed a shot from the slot past the glove hand of Smith. Wild take an early 2-0 lead.
Kevin Fiala followed that up by dangling around a sprawling Darnell Nurse on a 2-on-1 to beat Smith AGAIN to give the Wild a 3-0 lead. Mike Smith beat three times on five shots and the Oilers are in a gigantic hole less than 10 minutes in.
If you thought it couldn’t get any worse for the Oilers, you’d be wrong. an errant puck sprung Fiala on a breakaway where he zipped his second of the game past Smith. The Wild now had a commanding 4-0 lead and Smith would be pulled to make room for Mikko Koskinen.
Evander Kane would eventually stop the bleeding on the powerplay after he redirected a Ryan Nugent-Hopkins pass with his skate. The Oilers faithful have something to cheer for as the lead is cut to 4-1 late in the period.
Edmonton gets the last goal of the period but still found themselves down by three heading into the second.
The second started a lot better than the first for the Oilers, granted the bar was pretty low for that to happen. Edmonton seemed to find a bit of their groove back as they had some extended time in the offensive end to start things off. The one problem they were having trouble with was getting good looks on Kappo Kahkonen.
That early pressure didn’t matter as a Connor Dewar point shot hit the post and bounced in off of Koskinen. 5-1 game and it honestly felt like this one was already far out of Edmonton’s reach with more than half the game remaining.
Matthew Boldy scored Minnesota’s sixth goal on their fifteenth shot not too long after to make it 6-1 for the Wild.
It wasn’t all bad in this period for the Oilers. Tyler Benson was able to net his first NHL goal shortly after the Boldy marker. He was in the perfect spot at the perfect time as he jammed in a rebound in tight to make it a 6-2 hockey game.
That is how we would end the first 40 minutes.
Another period, another goal for the Minnesota Wild. This time it was Mats Zuccarello who got sprung on a breakaway and roofed it over Koskinen. The ugly score got even uglier as it hit 7-2.
Zach Hyman would end it off on a slightly positive note with a shorthanded goal in the final minutes. It would be much too late to mount any sort of comeback as the final score reads 7-3 in favour of the Wild.
The Oilers drop this one with an ugly 7-3 final score.
- Well, the undefeated streak had to come to an end at some point. The Oilers looked like an unorganized and defensive mess against a really good Minnesota Wild team tonight. I didn’t think they were as bad as the final score suggested, but they weren’t all that great either. Let’s see if they can shrug this one off and look to regain their form in the next one.
- Goaltending was abysmal tonight. Mike Smith got lit up four times on the first seven shots he faced. Of course, there were some no doubters from Minnesota but it’s hard to get something going when your goaltender plays to a .429sv% in the first 10 minutes. Koskinen also fought the puck in his relief appearance.
- It might’ve been a dismal night for the Oilers but you have got to be happy to see Tyler Benson get his first NHL goal. The kid has looked good in his first extended NHL look and hopefully, it’s the first of many for him in an Edmonton uniform.
- I still think Evan Bouchard has the highest potential on the Oilers blueline. He possesses so much skill and poise at such a young age. That being said, he had a night to forget. One only hopes Woodcroft and Manson can help him reset his game moving forward.
- Connor McDavid went down gingerly about halfway through the third period. He seemed to favour his leg heading off the ice but he did remain in the game. It appears he’ll be healthy moving forward but that would’ve been the icing on the cake in a game like tonight.
- The Oilers winning streak is stopped at five games tonight as their record falls to 28-19-3. They’ll look to keep up their pursuit of the Vegas Golden Knights this Wednesday when they embark on a road trip to Florida with a date with the Tampa Bay Lightning.