The Oilers were two seconds away from a 1-0 shutout before Minnesota's Dany Heatley beat Nikolai Khabibulin with 1.2 seconds left in regulation. After a scoreless overtime, Matt Cullen scored the only goal of the shootout, giving the Wild a 2-1 win that stunned the full house of 16,839 at Rexall Place.
Ryan Jones' tip-in of a pass from Ryan Smyth at 16:06 of the first period after a turnover by Minnesota defenseman Greg Zanon gave the Oilers the lead, and they held it until Heatley's sharp-angled shot squeaked across to the line behind Khabibulin with Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom on the bench in favor of an extra attacker.
"It felt good," Heatley said of his tying goal. "We've been in every game, we feel like, this season. We've lost by one or given up the lead. I thought we dominated the second and third periods tonight and I felt like we deserved it. It was nice to get that win."
The loss was especially painful to Oilers fans because of who got the tying goal -- Heatley is a non-favorite after turning down a trade to Edmonton two years ago.
"It was like he refused to lose that game tonight," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "I was pleased with the guys and their willingness to stick with it and keep battling. I was impressed how they believed they could get it done. I was happy to see Dany Heatley get that goal because he was one of the guys who was at the forefront."
Backstrom stopped point-blank shots by Smyth, Chris Potter and Jordan Eberle to get the Wild through the overtime, then stopped Eberle and Nugent-Hopkins in the shootout before Eric Belanger hit the post to end the game. Cullen, Minnesota's first shooter in the tiebreaker, came in slowly before whipping a backhander under the crossbar on the Wild's first try.
The Oilers, now 2-2-2, lost for the fourth time in five games even though they've led at some point in all six contests this season.
"We have to start closing games," Belanger said. "We're playing well but we need to finish."
The Oilers never could get the second goal that would have given Khabibulin some breathing room. Their best chance came with five minutes left in the second period when Belanger hit the crossbar on a shorthanded breakaway.
The Wild carried the play in the third period, but Khabibulin kept Minnesota off the scoreboard until the very end, making a big kick save on Heatley with three minutes left.
"I thought we played well, but it came down to tenths of seconds," Oilers coach Tom Renney said. "I have nothing but confidence in this team. They're a pleasure to coach because they want badly to do the right thing."