The Oilers claw back in the third period but drop to their first three-game losing streak of the season on Thursday with a 6-5 loss to the Minnesota Wild
ST. PAUL, MN - The pack mentality was on display for the Minnesota Wild.
After the Oilers found themselves with an early advantage from Oscar Klefbom's third goal of the season, the Wild clawed their way back to take control and hold off a late comeback from the Oilers in a 6-5 defeat on Thursday at the Xcel Energy Center.
The Oilers entertain the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday. The game can be seen on Sportsnet West, Hockey Night in Canada, and heard on the Oilers Radio Network, including 630 CHED. Puck drop is 5:08 p.m. MT.
Draisaitl and Connor McDavid both eclipsed the 20-goal mark for the season in defeat as the Oilers lose their status of being the only team in the NHL this campaign that hadn't lost three straight games.
"We've got to dig in here," McDavid, who had a goal and assist, said post-game. "We're in a bit of a rut. It starts with the top guys and all the way through the lineup, and we've got to be better."
"We're not panicking here. Every team's gone through it. We're going through it now, and we'll find it."
A late giveaway on the boards by the Oilers was the catalyst to the Wild scoring late in the first period and taking a 2-1 lead into the intermission before Draisaitl made it six-straight games for the Oilers with a power-play goal two minutes after the break.
Soon after, true to the theme of the game, it was Marcus Foligno and Ryan Donato answering twice in succession to elevate the Wild to a two-goal advantage.
Goals from Gaetan Haas and McDavid had the Oilers level in the third period, but Eric Staal and Luke Kunin struck within 1:09 of one another to cancel out James Neal's late goal that brought the scoreline to 6-5 in his 800th NHL game.
"We just have to do a better job at shutting it down," Leon Draisaitl said. "We spend so much energy fighting back, and that's a positive that we can do that, but we do it too often and too much."
Head Coach Dave Tippett said following Tuesday's defeat to the Carolina Hurricanes that you won't win many games when you give up six goals, and the Oilers made it difficult again tonight.
"There was no quit, but there were different parts of our game where I'd like to see us check a lot better," Tippett said. "When we don't, it ends up in the back of our net."
With the Oilers falling to 2-5-1 in their last eight games with the loss, a big test for the Oilers leadership group comes with keeping the group level-headed in the locker room.
"We talked about that this morning," Tippett continued. "The first real bit of adversity that's hit us, and we talked to our leadership group in there to make sure we stay together. It's the first real test for them, and it'll be interesting to see making sure we keep that room together in there.
"We'll see how our leadership does."
The Oilers return home on Saturday to face the Toronto Maple Leafs on Hockey Night in Canada.
"The next game's obviously a big test for us, so we'll make sure we're ready for it," Draisaitl said.