A trip to Alberta was just what the Minnesota Wild needed to revive their quest for a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
One night after ending a three-game losing streak with a 4-3 victory against the Calgary Flames, the Wild won consecutive games for the first time since March 25-27.
"I really liked a lot about our game tonight," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "I think the most important thing is that you're starting to see more resemblance of our game, longer stretches of it, more consistency of it. We talked about this earlier in the year -- the more consistency you see in our game, the more consistency you'll see with the results that we want to get."
Former Oiler Kyle Brodziak scored twice for the Wild (24-16-3), who remained in sixth place in the Western Conference. They are one point ahead of the St. Louis Blues, who have played one fewer game. The two-goal game was the first for Brodziak since Dec. 10, 2011.
"We all know what the standings look like," said Minnesota forward Zach Parise, whose power-play goal 20 seconds into the third period wound up as the game-winner. "Now hopefully we can finish the trip right in San Jose."
The Oilers are skilled but young, and Parise said an opponent that plays smart hockey can take advantage of that youth.
"They like to play aggressive, and if you play smart and don't make high-risk plays, you're going to get some chances," he said. "Their D likes to pinch, but we got them a couple of times for some 2-on-1s and some offense below their goal line.
The Oilers, who got a first-period goal by Nail Yakupov and third-period goals by Shawn Horcoff and Magnus Paajarvi, lost their sixth consecutive game and their first since firing general manager Steve Tambellini on Monday and replacing him with Craig MacTavish. With 39 points, their playoff hopes are all but gone.
"Whether we're in the playoffs or not, we have to start winning some games and changing the mood in here," Oilers forward Taylor Hall said.
Added coach Ralph Krueger: "We need to grab something positive out of what's left this season. I don't see anybody quitting on us here."
Minnesota opened the scoring 1:01 into the game when Brodziak beat Devan Dubnyk for an unassisted goal. Yakupov, the first player taken in the 2012 NHL Draft, tied it at 15:17 when he picked up a deflected puck and beat Backstrom with a bad-angle shot from the lower left circle.
The Wild took command in the second period. Charlie Coyle put Minnesota in front to stay at 2:56 when his deflection of Clayton Stoner's point shot beat Dubnyk, and Mikael Granlund bumped the lead to 3-1 at 6:23 when Torrey Mitchell one-touched the carom of Stoner's shot off the end boards to him and he put it home for his second of the season.
"I was real happy with the way we started the game," Yeo said. "Even when they scored their first goal, we had real good focus in the second period -- we got right back to our game."
Granlund had been reassigned to the Wild's AHL affiliate in Houston, but never made it to Texas and was recalled on an emergency basis when Mike Rupp was too banged up to play.
"It's been a pretty weird day," Granlund said. "First they told me to go back to Houston, and then I wound up playing tonight."
Parise put the puck into the crease, circled the net and still had to bang it home for a power-play goal 20 seconds into the third period, and Brodziak added his second of the night at 5:34 when he went in on a breakaway, was stopped but saw Dubnyk accidentally put the puck in his own net.
But the Wild began to show the effects of playing on back-to-back nights, and the Oilers mounted a late push.
Horcoff made it 5-2 at the 10-minute mark, finishing off a power-play feed from Taylor Hall on the Oilers' second shot of the period. Paajarvi scored 2:47 later when he tapped in a loose puck after Yakupov's shot beat Backstrom but hit the post.
The Oilers pulled Dubnyk with just under two minutes remaining and controlled the puck in the Wild zone for most of that time but couldn't get another puck past Backstrom.
"They have some offensive weapons over there, and we knew they were going to have a push," Yeo said. "They did."
Edmonton was in eighth place 15 days ago after routing the Calgary Flames. Since then, they've been outscored 22-7 in losing six straight times in regulation -- effectively ending their hopes of making the playoffs for the first time since 2006.
"We want to be good. We have to be that desperate all the time," Paajarvi said. "It's all about character and pride right now. "It's painful right now. Six games in a row is unacceptable, especially when we know how good we can be."
Material from team media was used in this report
|Kyle Brodziak (7) ASST: NONE|
1 - 0 MIN
|Nail Yakupov (11) ASST: Taylor Hall (29), Justin Schultz (15)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Charlie Coyle (7) ASST: Clayton Stoner (9)|
2 - 1 MIN
|Mikael Granlund (2) ASST: Torrey Mitchell (4), Clayton Stoner (10)|
3 - 1 MIN
|PPG - Zach Parise (16) ASST: Jason Pominville (18), Ryan Suter (28)|
4 - 1 MIN
|Kyle Brodziak (8) ASST: Jason Pominville (19), Pierre-Marc Bouchard (12)|
5 - 1 MIN
|PPG - Shawn Horcoff (7) ASST: Taylor Hall (30), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (20)|
5 - 2 MIN
|Magnus Paajarvi (9) ASST: Nail Yakupov (14), Jeff Petry (7)|
5 - 3 MIN
|Jordan Eberle Boarding against Jared Spurgeon|
|Sam Gagner Hooking against Mikko Koivu|
|Clayton Stoner Delaying Game-Puck over glass|