Minnesota Wild Drop 2-1 Decision To Edmonton Oilers


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The Minnesota Wild’s home winning streak was snapped at 6 games with a 2-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers Tuesday night. Former Wild first round draft pick Benoit Pouliot scored twice for the last-place Oilers. Thomas Vanek had the lone goal for the Wild.

Good morning, Minnesota Wild fans. The only word I can think of to describe last night’s game is heartbreaking. After a rough first period, the Wild came out in force and dominated play for the final 40 minutes, but couldn’t get a shot past Edmonton Goalie Ben Scrivens. Devan Dubnyk made 17 saves on 19 shots for his first loss against the team that drafted him. Don’t forget to check out Dustin’s coverage of Sean Bergenheim, the newest member of the Minnesota Wild acquired just before puck drop last night.

First Period:

I’m not sure if the Wild was tired or just too confident in its ability to win this game, because they looked flat. It took nearly 5 minutes for the Minnesota wild to register a shot on goal, coming off the stick of Nate Prosser after a very brief time of sustained offense of pressure. Prosser shot, became characteristic of the entire night. Every shot was towards the torso of Scrivens, and very few rebound chances were made available.
Zach Parise took a penalty for holding Justin Schultz in the eighth minute, sending Edmonton to the power play.

Before the Oilers could get a shot away, Erik Haula broke up play at the blue line and turned on the jets for a breakaway bid. Cutting to Scriven’s left, Haula tried the patented Mikko Koivu backhander, but hit the goalpost. Marco Scandella also took a Jeff Petry shot to the ankle on the penalty kill and limped around for a bit, but never left the ice. That kid is tough as nails.

Benoit Pouliot opened the scoring in the 11th minute. After Oscar Klefbom forced a Mikael Granlund turnover in the Wild’s end, Jordan Eberle snagged the loose puck and carried it down to the crease before putting a perfect pass on to the stick of Pouliot. Pouliot deflected Eberle’s pass in to the net just as Devan Dubnyk put out his right leg pad for the stop. 1-0 Oilers at 11:12of the first period. In the video below, you can see the reaction of Dubnyk, and he looks like he wants that goal back.

As if Edmonton’s goal was made of smelling salts, the Wild woke up and pressured Edmonton until the 3rd line tied it. Jordan Schroeder worked tenaciously along the boards, fed Scandella at the point, and Scandella fired a shot on goal. Scrivens gave up a rebound that Charlie Coyle and Schroeder both got a whack at the puck before it settled in the crease behind Scrivens where Thomas Vanek tapped it home. 1-1 tie at 15:14 of the first period. Take a look at the video below where you can see how important Schroeder was to that play. I’ll have more on him later.

Unfortunately, Edmonton took the lead back before the crowd of 19,044 had time to finish cheering. After winning the face-off right after Vanek’s goal, Edmonton’s top line pushed in to the zone led by Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Eberle shook off Ryan Suter on his way to the net and set up a quick drop pass to Pouliot who buried his 13th goal of the year through Dubnyk’s armpit on the glove side to make it 2-1 Oilers at 15:46 of the first period.

Parise’s second penalty of the night in the 17th minute only added to the Wild’s possession deficit, but the Wild’s penalty kill held them from scoring again to keep the game manageable.

Consider this: Edmonton’s top line had an even strength corsi-for of 100% after the first period. Every time they were on the ice, they had control of the puck. That’s an insane margin to overcome.

Shots after one period: Edmonton Oilers 9, Minnesota Wild 6

Second Period:

Nino Niederreiter drew a tripping penalty just 30 seconds in, giving the Wild its first shot at the power play. The man advantage put one shot on goal in what proved to be a frustratingly futile effort.

Around the 5th minute, the Wild caught up in shot attempts and took over control of play. Jordan Schroeder, Christian Folin, and Charlie Coyle all put shots on goal; however, all of the Wild’s shots seemed directed right at Scrivens’ torso. Mathew Dumba rang a slap shot off the post in what looked to be a promising chance.

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Thomas Vanek had a breakaway chance towards the end of the second period. With a clear shot at Scrivens, the Austrian sniper put on a couple sick moves before promptly firing the puck squarely in to Scrivens’ leg pads. Frustrating.
Shots through two periods: Edmonton Oilers 14, Minnesota Wild 19
Third Period:

Eberle sent the Wild back to the power play in the second minute of the third period. The Wild’s top unit stayed on the ice for most of the power play time and put 3 shots on goal, but CONSTANTLY tried to force passes rather than shoot and move for rebounds.

Tons of chances by all four lines for the Wild, including a huge slap shot by Stephane Veilleux, went nowhere.

The Wild’s 3rd and final power play on the night came in the 8th minute. Once again, the choice to pass held the Wild to two shots on goal. Incredibly frustrating, no?

Around the 14th minute, Justin Fontaine put home a Niederreiter rebound, but the play had been whistled dead before Scrivens actually froze the puck. There was no review on the play.

Devan Dubnyk went to the bench with just over a minute left. Even with an extra skater, the Wild was unable to put a shot on goal and spent most of their time in the defensive zone. Simply not good enough, folks. Game over. Minnesota Wild lose 2-1 in regulation.

Final shots on goal: Edmonton Oilers 19, Minnesota Wild 34

Trembley’s Take:
Heartbreaking loss tonight, wasn’t it? The Wild could’ve won this game easily. The fact of the matter is that the Wild had every opportunity to win the game, but frustration overtook them and they forgot how to play their game. All the Wild’s shots were right in to the goaltender. There were no deflections, no rebounds, and no tip-ins. They made it easy for Edmonton. Let’s not take anything away from Scrivens, he’s a great netminder, but this was still a winnable game.

Niederreiter (40%) and Suter (49%) were the only Wild Skaters with negative possession stats, and they still lost.

Jordan Schroeder continues his bid to stay with the big club. He had a team leading 5 shots on goal in just over 13 minutes on ice along with a corsi-for of 66%. He was also a +1.

I thought Haula played a pretty good game today, but I also imagine he’ll be waived for Iowa with the addition of Bergenheim. That’s a Finn for Finn trade I can live with.

Dubnyk played pretty admirably last night. He had the right view of both pucks and both goals just barely squeezed through. Once again, I’m a little shocked that Darcy Kuemper didn’t get the start last night. Maybe there’s some fatigue setting in and the schedule doesn’t get any easier with the Wild headed to Nashville on Thursday night.

Thanks for reading!! Talk to you Thursday, when the Wild visit Nashville to take on the Predators, the #1 team in the NHL.