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Wild, Torchetti top Oilers

Minnesota wins third in row under new coach

by Derek Van Diest / NHL.com Correspondent

Vanek scores in front of traffic

MIN@EDM: Vanek rifles one through the Oilers' defense

2/18/16: Thomas Vanek gets the pass from Mikko Koivu, then directs the puck over Cam Talbot's shoulder for a top-shelf goal

  • 00:42 •

EDMONTON -- The Minnesota Wild remained undefeated under new coach John Torchetti with a 5-2 victory against the Edmonton Oilers at Rexall Place on Thursday.  
 
Jason Pominville, Matt Dumba, Thomas Vanek, Mikael Granlund and Charlie Coyle scored for Minnesota (26-22-10), which swept its Western Canada road trip. Goaltender Darcy Kuemper made 31 saves. 

The Wild scored five goals in each of their first three games under Torchetti, who replaced Mike Yeo on Saturday. They had not scored five goals in a game since Dec. 17. 

"It's a world of difference, it feels like," Coyle said. "All of a sudden, we feel good about ourselves, our confidence is growing each game, and it's a huge road trip for us. This is my first time going through someone like this [coaching change]. We're playing a complete game, guys are stepping up, and whether it's coincidence or not, we like the way things are going right now." 

Connor McDavid and Nail Yakupov scored for Edmonton (22-31-6), which has lost three in a row. Cam Talbot made 22 saves. 

Minnesota lost eight straight games and 13 of 14 (1-11-2) before Yeo was fired. 

"It's good; we're playing good hockey right now and we're getting rewarded for it," Kuemper said. "I think it's a fresh start for everyone. A lot of guys had a lot of negative things going on, and it's almost like a new season, in a sense. I think it gave everyone a fresh start, and we can just go out there and play." 

Video: MIN@EDM: Pominville finds loose puck, scores

Pominville scored on the power play at 9:30 of the first period to give Minnesota a 1-0 lead. The Wild right wing collected a long rebound off a shot from Vanek and snapped the puck past Talbot. 

McDavid tied it 28 seconds later, taking a pass from forward Benoit Pouliot on a 2-on-1 rush and tapping it into an open net. 

Dumba put Minnesota up 2-1 at 13:16 of the first with another power-play goal, banking a centering pass off Edmonton defenseman Darnell Nurse's skate and past Talbot. 

The goal initially was credited to Coyle, who was in front of the Oilers net, but it later was awarded to Dumba for his eighth of the season. 

"The power play obviously was a big part of their success, getting the two off the bat," Oilers coach Todd McLellan said. "They [completed cross-seam passes] a number of times, which we wanted to prevent, but we were unable to do that. Then they scored on some secondary chances in and around the [crease]. Credit to them, but obviously an area we need to fix." 

Yakupov tied it 2-2 with 2:41 left in the first, pouncing on a turnover by Wild defenseman Nate Prosser at the right faceoff circle and shooting the puck over Kuemper's shoulder. 

Vanek gave Minnesota a 3-2 lead at 4:48 of the second period. Left open in the slot, he converted a centering pass from Mikko Koivu.  

"The guys know that if they compete for each other, they'll be successful, that's the thing moving forward," Torchetti said. "Our wall plays were huge for us tonight. Everybody wanted to take a hit; everyone was driving through the puck, taking the body. We were getting pucks out of the zone and we were getting the job done defensively." 

Video: MIN@EDM: Pouliot sets up McDavid for wrister

The Oilers thought they tied it at 8:24 of the second when Taylor Hall knocked in a loose puck sitting in the crease on a delayed penalty to Wild defenseman Mike Reilly. However, the officials ruled Minnesota defenseman Jared Spurgeon touched the puck first, resulting in a whistle prior to Hall knocking it into the net. 

Yakupov came close to tying the game on the ensuing power play, one-timing a shot from the top of the faceoff circle off the goal post. A few minutes later, Kuemper stopped Yakupov on a breakaway. 

"We kind of got caught on a change there, and they sprung him and he's fast and has a lot of skill," Kuemper said. "I just tried to wait on him, and he pulled it to his backhand, and luckily I got a good read on it and was able to close him off." 

Granlund put Minnesota up 4-2 at 15:37 of the second, getting to a rebound off a shot from Dumba and putting it past Talbot. 

Coyle scored into an empty net with 3.2 seconds left. 

"It's not like we didn't have our chances," Pouliot said. "We were buzzing the first two periods, but we couldn't really finish. And they got a little momentum off their power play. Once they got the lead, they sat back and shut us down." 

The Oilers will play the fifth of a six-game homestand Saturday against the Colorado Avalanche. 

The Wild return home to host the Chicago Blackhawks in a 2016 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series game at TCF Bank Stadium on Sunday, in Torchetti's first home game as their coach. 

"I'm looking forward to it," Torchetti said. "For me, I'm just looking forward to playing the Blackhawks. They're the Stanley Cup champions, so we have to come out, we have to be ready. We'll have some fun with the family business, have some fun with the [outdoor] practice, and then let's get to work and be ready for the game." 

Video: Wild score final three goals to top Oilers

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