ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - The Minnesota Wild were well aware of Dwayne Roloson's struggles because they started while he still played for them.
Consistently generating shots inside the circles was important, to keep him from getting comfortable in the crease. But that didn't happen, and Roloson emerged with a victory he needed as badly as his old mates.
Roloson won for the first time with his new team, stopping 30 shots to lead the Edmonton Oilers to a 2-1 victory over the Wild on Tuesday night.
"I'm getting to know the guys a little bit and kind of getting into a groove," said Roloson, who pointed to Monday's practice in Minnesota as a key marker in his progress. "So I've got to take this and use it to create something good."
Chris Pronger and Ryan Smyth scored for Edmonton, which ended a four-game road losing streak and moved into a tie for seventh place in the Western Conference with Vancouver with 76 points. Anaheim is ninth, with 74 points. Minnesota is 11th, with 69.
"You never know what's going to happen," said Wild coach Jacques Lemaire, whose team fell to 2-6 since the Olympic break. "You've got to play until the end."
The Oilers weren't exactly relieved.
"This just compounds what's going to be a tremendously pressure-filled situation from now until the end," coach Craig MacTavish said.
After his team failed to score on its first six power plays, Kurtis Foster got a goal with a man advantage for the Wild early in the third period. But they wasted multiple chances to get more against Roloson, who shared time in the Minnesota net with Manny Fernandez from the beginning of the 2001-02 season until he was dealt.
Fernandez made 27 saves, missing a chance to beat Roloson twice in three days. The Oilers lost 4-3 here on Sunday night.
When the buzzer sounded, Roloson got a big hug from Smyth.
"After a tough loss in the last game, I'm sure he was raring to go," Foster said.
After giving up 13 goals and losing his first three games with the Oilers, Roloson picked the perfect opponent to reverse his slide against - his old club. The Wild traded him last week for a first-round draft pick this summer and future considerations.
An All-Star in 2004, Roloson (7-19-2) has had a rough season - seeing his share of bad bounces but failing to rediscover his pre-lockout form.
Roloson gave up his share of rebounds, and it finally cost him 3 minutes into the final frame. Todd White's shot trickled in front of the crease, and Foster knocked it in to pull the Wild within one.
Though the Wild picked up their pace down the stretch and found themselves in better scoring situations, they weren't able to put another one in against Roloson.
"I wouldn't say deflating," Foster said, "but I think if you watched the way we played the last minute out there you would see how much we wanted to win this one."
There was chaos in the Edmonton crease early in the first period, and the Wild's Wes Walz wrestled with Roloson for a puck he gloved but didn't cover. Mattias Weinhandl knocked it in for Minnesota, but after a replay review the score was disallowed for incidental contact with the goalie. Walz, who was stepping on Roloson as his former teammate toppled over, also appeared to have his skate across the goal line.
Lemaire argued that Walz was being pushed and suggested that Pronger's complaint to the officials influenced their decision.
The momentum shifted after that, and the Oilers scored soon after when Pronger's long slap shot from just inside the blue line that Fernandez couldn't stop after Andrei Zyuzin skated in front of him.
A few minutes after the Wild couldn't score on a 5-on-3 early in the second period, Alex Henry was called for interference. Edmonton capitalized on the power play, when Jaroslav Spacek's shot hit the post and landed behind Fernandez.
As he tried to fall back and cover the puck, Smyth poked it in for a 2-0 lead.
"This kind of salvaged the trip a little bit," center Shawn Horcoff said. "After all of that and the road trip, we actually gain a spot in the standings. It's funny how things work.
"It was a playoff atmosphere out there, and we're better when we add a little grit to our game."
Notes: Edmonton had White to thank for a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty in the first period. Seeing a shift change, White sent the puck toward the Oilers bench. It hit Raffi Torres, whose back was turned. ... Edmonton's last road win in regulation was Jan. 26 at Los Angeles, 5-3.
|Chris Pronger (11) ASST: Jaroslav Spacek (25), Ryan Smyth (23)|
1 - 0 EDM
|PPG - Ryan Smyth (31) ASST: Jaroslav Spacek (26), Ales Hemsky (50)|
2 - 0 EDM
|PPG - Kurtis Foster (10) ASST: Todd White (21), Pierre-Marc Bouchard (36)|
2 - 1 EDM
|Raffi Torres Too many men/ice - bench|
|Matt Greene Fighting (maj) against Alex Henry|
|Alex Henry Fighting (maj) against Matt Greene|
|Chris Pronger Hooking against Brian Rolston|
|Marian Gaborik Slashing against Ethan Moreau|
|Andrei Zyuzin Hooking against Georges Laraque|
|Michael Peca Slashing against Marc Chouinard|
|Chris Pronger Tripping against Brian Rolston|
|Alex Henry Interference against Steve Staios|
|Jason Smith Roughing against Derek Boogaard|
|Ethan Moreau Roughing against Derek Boogaard|
|Derek Boogaard Roughing against Jason Smith|
|Georges Laraque Fighting (maj) against Derek Boogaard|
|Derek Boogaard Fighting (maj) against Georges Laraque|
|Steve Staios Holding against Marian Gaborik|
|Fernando Pisani Hooking against Wes Walz|
|Shawn Horcoff Hi-sticking against Pascal Dupuis|