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Oilers can't solve Wild

by Staff Writer / Edmonton Oilers
Neither team had a shot on goal in the first eight minutes, though the game was comprised of end-to-end action with very little in the way of whistles. Edmonton's first scoring chance was on a goalmouth scramble in front of Fernandez. The Wild netminder was able to keep the puck out despite the close-in chance by Jarret Stoll.

Minnesota didn't register its first shot on goal until the 8:43 mark. Alexandre Daigle and Randy Robitaille worked a nice give-and-go that eventually resulted in Robitaille wristing one low from the right faceoff circle that beat Conklin blocker side.

The Wild struck again, scoring their second goal on two shots 51 seconds later. With a goaltender interference penalty upcoming to Edmonton Marian Gaborik spotted a loose puck and flipped it by Conklin to make it 2-0.

Minnesota came within a hair of taking a three-goal lead. Conklin stopped the initial shot by Wes Walz but the rebound from Gaborik beat him five-hole. Fortunately for the Oilers, it hit the post on the other side.

Steve Staios made a nice play on a two-on-one with Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Pascal Dupuis, going down to block the pass from Dupuis.

Shots on goal after one period were 9-4 in favour of Edmonton but Minnesota held a 2-0 lead.

The Oilers came out flying to start the second period with four unanswered shots on Fernandez. However, their flow was quickly interrupted by a parade to the penalty box by both sides.

After only one penalty in the first period, the Oilers took three in the first five minutes of the second while Minnesota's Marian Gaborik was sent off for holding during that time frame.

Oiler penalties to Jason Smith and Jarret Stoll put Minnesota on a two-man advantage and they capitalized. Brian Rolston wristed one in the slot that beat Ty Conklin five hole, giving the Wild three goals on seven shots.

Manny Fernandez made a fantastic save midway through the period. After stopping a shot by Shawn Horcoff, Fernandez reached across to glove down a Ryan Smyth rebound.

However, the Oilers came right back to score and narrow the gap to two goals. Jarret Stoll won the draw over to Torres who fed Staios at the point. Staios blasted a shot high that beat a screened Fernandez.

Edmonton had a chance to get back in the game a minute later after Stephane Veillieux took a tripping minor. Both goalies came up big on the ensuing power play, Fernandez stretching to make a toe stop on Smyth at the side of the goal and Conklin off Mikko Koivu on the subsequent two-on-one shorthanded opportunity.

Late in the period, Conklin made a big stop off Koivu in the slot, kicking out his left pad to keep the puck out.

After two periods, shots were 21-14 for the Oilers but Minnesota was still in the lead, 3-1.

The Oilers made things interesting early in the third. A minute into the final frame, Ales Hemsky was at the doorstep to put home a Ryan Smyth rebound and make it 3-2.

Ethan Moreau had a great chance to tie it up six minutes in as he looked to be on a clear path to the net but Nick Schultz had a good angle on the Oilers forward and cut him off, eliminating any danger.

Marc-Andre Bergeron made a great defensive play of his own two minutes later, keeping up with Marian Gaborik and taking away what would have been an outstanding scoring opportunity.

Michael Peca almost tied it up when a rebound came right to him, but he couldn't get a stick on the puck in time.

Edmonton continued to put on pressure as time was winding down but were unable to put a dent in Fernandez's armour. Marian Gaborik added an empty netter to ice the outcome.

NOTES: Tonight's win marked only the second time all season that the Wild have managed three straight victories... Scratches for Minnesota include Derek Boogaard (flu), Andrei Zyuzin (flu) and Kyle Wanvig... The Oilers went with the exact same lineup, with Mike Morrison, Matt Greene and Jani Rita healthy scratches... Jarret Stoll increased his scoring streak to four games... Hemsky's goal was his 100th career NHL point.
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