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Big third period lifts Oilers to win

by Staff Writer / Edmonton Oilers
For the first several shifts of the game, the Oilers controlled the play and even fired the first three shots on net but it was Minnesota that opened the scoring.

Todd White took a pass from Pierre-Marc Bouchard and broke in along the left side. At the bottom of the left circle he flicked a shot past Roloson to make it 1-0 for the visitors.

Several minutes later, Roloson came up with a couple of quick saves on Bouchard who had the puck alone in front. On the play, Jarret Stoll was sent off for holding Brian Rolston behind the Minnesota net.

On the ensuing power play, the Wild barely got near the Oilers net as the Edmonton penalty killers did a good job clearing any loose pucks.

Most of the opening period was very fast-paced with not a lot of whistles though the scoring chances were few and far between.

With five minutes to go in the first, Minnesota had a chance when Rolston found Bouchard at the right hashmarks. His high shot was gloved down by Roloson.

Solid forechecking by the line of Alexei Mikhnov, Patrick Thoresen and Marty Reasoner led to Minnesota's first penalty as Petteri Nummelin hooked Mikhnov along the side boards.

Edmonton's best chance on that power play came when Minnesota was caught on a bad line change. Horcoff broke for the net but couldn't get a handle on the pass to him in the slot.

After one period, shots were 10-7 in favour of Minnesota.

The Wild came out strong in the second and Roloson had to be sharp in turning away a number of shots during a scramble in front. He handled close-in shots from both Demitra and Koivu as Minnesota pressed to get their second goal.

Penalties to Wes Walz and Keith Carney 20 seconds apart gave the Oilers a great opportunity to tie the game near the midway point. With a two-man advantage, the club put Mikhnov on the ice to play in front of the net and Petr Sykora back on the left point.

During the power play, the Oilers moved the puck well but had trouble getting shots through the Wild defence.

While killing a penalty with about four minutes to go in the period, Reasoner created a turnover which developed into an odd-man rush as him and Horcoff skated down the ice. Reasoner fed the puck over to Horcoff but his backhand attempt just went over the net.

After 40 minutes, shots were 18-16 for the Wild.

3:33 into the third, Matt Greene scored his first career NHL goal to tie the game at 1-1. Greene took the puck at the right point before charging to the front of the Minnesota net. Greene then backhanded it just inside the far post for the goal.

Following the goal, both teams had some good chances during the end-to-end non-stop action. J-F Jacques let go a bullet from the left circle that Fernandez had to be sharp on.

At the other end, Wes Walz and Pascal Dupuis both had whacks at the puck and Roloson stood tall to keep the game tied.

At one point in the period, the teams went 5:36 between whistles.

With eight minutes to go in the third, Mikko Koivu made a nice move in front of the Oilers net to set up a scoring chance but Roloson got down low to block the shot.

A minute later, Roloson made a pair of saves on Todd White, kicking the first one out with his right pad and then smothering the second shot.

With 4:38 left in the third, Jarret Stoll scored to put the Oilers in front 2-1. Stoll picked up a rebound in the slot, sat the puck down and then wired it into the top corner.

14 seconds later, Shawn Horcoff stripped puck from a Wild defender while rushing up ice and backhanded it over the pads of a stunned Fernandez.

NOTES: With a goal and an assist, Jarret Stoll increased his scoring streak to six games. He has two goals and six assists for eight points during that span.
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