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Wild get first victory by beating Edmonton 4-2 @NHLdotcom

After losing two games in Europe, the Minnesota Wild were more than happy to welcome the Edmonton Oilers to the Xcel Energy Center for their home opener.

The Wild have owned the Oilers in St. Paul over the last few years, and that trend continued Thursday night. Mikko Koivu had two of Minnesota's four power-play goals as the Wild beat the Oilers 4-2 for the 14th consecutive home victory over their Northwest Division rival.

Antti Miettinen and Matt Cullen each had a goal and an assist for Minnesota, which tied the longest current home winning streak by team against another. Nashville has beaten Columbus 14 straight times at Bridgestone Arena.

Niklas Backstrom made 24 saves and is now 12-0-0 with a 1.16 goals-against average at home against the Oilers. The Wild also improved to 9-0-1 in home openers, including nine wins in a row.

It was a welcome change after the Wild got just one of four points in two games against Carolina during their two Compuware NHL Premiere games in Helsinki, Finland, last week.

"You always have to be desperate to get wins," Koivu said. "I think we were tonight and it worked for us."

Dustin Penner and Minnesota native Tom Gilbert scored for Edmonton, which has been outscored 50-18 during the streak and has scored more than two goals just once.

"As a pro, you need to come in and think you'll be victorious," Penner said.

Minnesota trailed 2-1 before Koivu found himself all alone at the left edge of the crease for an easy tip of a pass from Cullen at 14:31 of the second period. Edmonton's Jim Vandermeer took an interference penalty 2 seconds after the ensuing faceoff, and Koivu was credited with his second goal 52 seconds later when Edmonton's Ladislav Smid appeared to accidentally knock the puck past Nikolai Khabibulin with his skate as he tried to clear Andrew Brunette out of the crease during a scramble.

Prior to the quick burst, Wild coach Todd Richards said, he wasn't happy with his team's play in the middle period.

"We were standing around watching a lot of the period. But our power play stepped up and the guys that you need had the opportunities," Richards said. "That really switched the momentum around and got the crowd back into the game."

The Wild got some insurance when Cullen's slap shot went off Gilbert's skate and into the Edmonton net for another power-play goal 7:37 into the third.

There was no question which club won the battle of special teams.

The Wild now have scored eight goals in their three game -- seven on the power play. Edmonton had been 9-for-9 on the penalty kill in its first two games, wins over Calgary and Florida, but had no answers for the Wild.

"They got pucks to the net, got bodies there. You can't expect your goalie to make all the saves all the time," Gilbert said. "They caught us running around a little bit and they got guys that can make a lot of passes and that's exactly what they did."

Edmonton coach Tom Renney said there was plenty of blame for everyone to share.

"Penalty-killing starts in your own end, and there's a centerman that's got to win a draw, and I had one guy over 50 percent tonight," Renney said. "We had a difficult time in our own end tonight for the first time in three games.

"It's about discipline. It's about avoiding the penalty box. We may have lost the game on the specialty teams tonight, but there are other things in our game that we'll continue to work on that will continue to allow us to compete."

Miettinen gave Minnesota a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal 7:48 into the game by tipping in a feed from Brunette.

Penner tied it on a power play 2:57 into the second, taking a feed from Ales Hemsky near the top of the slot and putting it between Backstrom's pads for his second goal in two games. Gilbert, who grew up about 15 miles from the arena, beach Backstrom with a slap shot at 8:24 to give the Oilers a 2-1 lead.

Material from team media and wire services was used in this report

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