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Edmonton Oilers bounce back from ugly loss with 3-1 win over Minnesota Wild

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EDMONTON - Andrew Cogliano sparked the offence with a pair of assists as the Edmonton Oilers erased the stench of Tuesday's 10-2 loss to Buffalo with a 3-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Friday night.

Ales Hemsky, Ethan Moreau and Lubomir Visnovsky scored for Edmonton.

It was the sixth win in the last eight games for the Oilers (25-20-3) who moved into a three-way tie for fifth in the Western Conference standings, two points up on eighth-place Minnesota.

James Sheppard replied for the Wild (24-21-3) who have now lost two of their last three.

The match started out with a bang just a minute and a half in as Oilers defenceman Steve Staios flattened Wild forward Stephane Veilleux with a mid-ice hit, leading to an extended tussle against Cal Clutterbuck.

The Oilers took a 1-0 lead six minutes in on a terrific effort by Hemsky as he swung behind the goal-line and banked the puck in off the skate of Wild starter Niklas Backstrom.

Edmonton had a bit of a scare midway through the first as Hemsky, who recently returned from a 10-game absence due to a concussion, was stapled to the boards on a hit from behind by Nick Schultz and lay face down on the ice for a while before getting up and returning to the game a couple shifts later.

The Oilers took a two-goal lead with three minutes to play in the opening period as Cogliano fed the puck to a speeding Moreau on the wing and the team captain rifled the puck into the top corner for his 100th goal as an Oiler.

Edmonton made it 3-0 early in the third on the power play as Visnovsky opted to take the puck from the point right through the Minnesota box for a point-blank shot on Backstrom before depositing the rebound on the backhand. Following the goal the Wild yanked Backstrom, who allowed three goals on 11 shots, in favour of backup Josh Harding.

Minnesota had a glorious opportunity late in the second when Marek Zidlicky got a clear breakaway coming out of the penalty box, but he was stopped by the quick glove of Edmonton goalie Dwayne Roloson.

Roloson didn't look nearly as good to start the third as he whiffed on a shot by Sheppard that dribbled behind him just 38 seconds in, but he was solid the rest of the way to earn the victory.

The Wild play again on Saturday night in Vancouver while Edmonton next welcomes the Nashville Predators on Sunday afternoon.

Notes: Forward Dan Fritsche made his debut with the Wild after being acquired from the New York Rangers in a trade on Thursday for defenceman Erik Reitz. Fritsche had a goal and three assists in 16 games with the Rangers this season. . . . Forward Ryan Potulny was on the Oilers second line after recently being recalled from Springfield. Potulny had three assists in four games in his previous stint with the big club. . . . Minnesota had been having nothing but success against the Oilers of late. Coming into the contest the Wild were 22-16-8 all-time vs. Edmonton, their best record against any opponent. . . . A lot of that success was thanks to the play of goaltender Niklas Backstrom who entered the game with an astounding 10-0-0 in 12 games against Edmonton in which he'd given up only 17 goals and had three shutouts before finally taking the loss on Friday. . . . Oilers assistant coach Bill Moores was not at the game, hospitalized for undisclosed reasons earlier in the day.

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