Thanks to a late third period goal from Charlie Coyle, the Oilers were unfortunately on the wrong side of a 2-1 decision against the Minnesota Wild last night at Rexall Place. But Edmonton certainly forced their opponents to earn the victory the hard way, delivering a number of punishing body-checks over the course of the game.
Nail Yakupov crushed Nate Prosser behind the Wild net on a strong, clean forecheck, knocking the defenceman out of the game. Jeff Petry also delivered the hit of the night in the middle frame, lining up and clobbering Mikael Granlund with his rear end, sending the Minnesota forward hard into the boards near their bench.
The Oilers blueliner said it’s all about taking advantage of those physical opportunities when they’re there, but not shifting his mentality away from being a responsible defender.
“I want to continue to incorporate (physical play), but I also don’t want to go around looking for it and end up getting out of position,” Petry said. “That hit last night, he tried to beat me wide and I was able to get good position on him and able to play the body. My goal is just to play a physical game when the opportunity is there.”
As game went on and the intensity picked up, the Oilers also found themselves in a few post-whistle scrums with the Wild. Petry said interim head coach Todd Nelson has stressed the importance of Oilers players sticking up for each other in those situations and playing with a pack mentality.
“It’s something he really believes in and he’s passed that message along to us,” Petry said. “If there’s one in there, we all have to get in there.”