The Oilers return to Edmonton for their longest homestand so far of 2015-16. Their first of four straight at home is a showdown with Montreal on Thursday at 7 p.m. MT. It can be seen on Sportsnet and Sportsnet 360 or heard on 630 CHED and the Oilers Radio Network.
ST PAUL, MN – Darnell Nurse scored his first NHL goal and gave the Oilers a lead in the third, but two quick scores in response lifted the Wild to a 4-3 victory.
“That’s a tough one to lose,” said Oilers winger Taylor Hall. “You’re winning in the third period on the road. Those have to translate into wins. We spent a lot of time in our end for good amounts of time and they capitalized on a couple there at the end. We’ve got to be harder in our end and eliminate those prolonged shifts.”
The Wild jumped out to a 1-0 lead at 7:25 of the first period. Ryan Suter’s shot glanced off the stick of Oilers defenceman Mark Fayne and fluttered in far side of Cam Talbot. Jason Zucker recorded an assist on the goal.
Minnesota’s lead increased to two with a Marco Scandella power play goal at 9:30 of the opening period. Scandella streaked towards the net and Thomas Vanek put it right on his stick.
Hall made it a 2-1 game for the Oilers at 11:09 of the first. Connor McDavid centred the puck in the slot and Nail Yakupov took a swipe at it but couldn’t finish. Hall was there to bury the loose puck behind Devan Dubnyk for the Oilers first goal of the game. With their assists on Hall’s goal, both McDavid and Yakupov stretched their point streaks to six games.
Rob Klinkhammer left the game for the Oilers in the first with a lower body injury and did not return. Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan said after the game he will be evaluated in Edmonton on Wednesday morning.
Iiro Pakarinen scored his second career NHL goal at 4:41 of the second to tie the game at 2-2. Hall fed Pakarinen the puck and his shot deflected off Matt Dumba and went in past Dubnyk.
The second half of the middle frame belonged to the Wild, with the home team logging the majority of the possession but Edmonton weathered the storm. Cam Talbot made a remarkable pad save on Zucker to rob the Wild forward of a goal with 3:40 left in the second.
Edmonton took their first lead of the night at 3:38 of the third, courtesy of Darnell Nurse’s first NHL goal. The 20-year-old defenceman went coast to coast and rifled a beautiful shot top shelf of Dubnyk to give his team the 3-2 lead. Oscar Klefbom and Benoit Pouliot recorded the assists.
It was Nurse’s first game of the season after being recalled on Monday.
“In the first, I think I was kind of getting my legs into it and my hands into it,” said Nurse. “In the second, I felt pretty strong, I felt pretty good about my game. You always want to be on the other side of the win column. I think that’s the most important thing. For myself, I thought that was pretty good overall.”
Suter tipped the puck in at the edge of the crease at 8:43 of the third to tie the game at 3-3.
Charlie Coyle gave the Wild back their lead just 43 seconds later. Coyle scored backdoor following some Wild pressure to make it 4-3.
“It was a great goal by Darnell. Obviously, it was a big one for us. We’ve got to find a way to close it out,” said Oilers centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. “They run on momentum a lot and they had momentum on the shift that they scored the tying one. Then they just throw it on the net, they get a good bounce and I’ve got to be harder on my guy too. They just build off that and then for the next two shifts after that they were really flying.”
Edmonton pulled Talbot with just over a minute and got pressure on Dubnyk but couldn’t convert, as they drop the one-goal decision.