The Oilers homestand continues with a game against the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night, at 8 p.m. MT. It can be seen on CBC and Sportsnet or heard on 630 CHED and the Oilers Radio Network.
EDMONTON, AB – The Oilers lost the special teams battle and had their share of missed opportunities, allowing the Minnesota Wild to hand them a 5-2 loss at Rexall Place.
“A lot of blocked shots, a lot missed wide or missed the net completely,” said Pouliot. “It’s not like we didn’t have our chances to put it in too. I think we were buzzing the first two periods and it’s just little things like that that’s going to make us not win games.”
Jason Pominville put the Wild up 1-0 at 9:30 of the opening frame, shooting through a mess of bodies on the power play. Thomas Vanek and Mikael Granlund recorded the assists.
The Oilers were quick to respond, potting the equalizer just 28 seconds later. Connor McDavid buried a nice pass from Pouliot for the rookie’s 10th goal of the season. Pouliot sauced a pass across the face of goaltender Darcy Kuemper on a 2-on-1 rush and McDavid promptly tipped it in the open net.
Jordan Eberle was also given an assist on the McDavid goal.
The penalty bug continued to be an issue for the Oilers, with Minnesota taking advantage of another power play to go up 2-1. With Justin Schultz in the box for hooking, Charlie Coyle scored at 13:16 of the first, assisted by Matt Dumba and Mikko Koivu.
Nail Yakupov was the man to tie the game at 17:19 of the first. Yakupov snapped a shot on net, unassisted, for his first goal since January 21.
“I felt pretty good today,” said Yakupov. “I had a lot of energy and was using my legs. I think, as a line, we played really good. We played on the forecheck, we did a pretty good job on the walls, we supported.”
McLellan liked Yakupov’s game as a whole.
“He had a good game all over,” said McLellan. “Good for him, good for us. I liked what I saw.”
The Oilers had something cooking on their first power play of the second period, with several good looks on net. However, they couldn’t finish, keeping the game tied at two.
“The power play, obviously, was a big part of their success, getting the two right off the bat,” said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. “They seamed us a number of times, which we wanted to prevent, but we were unable to do that. Then they score on some secondary chances in and around the paint. Credit to them, and obviously an area we need to fix. It played a big factor in the game. Ours had a number of good looks but we couldn’t finish on them.”
The Wild finished 2-for-3 on the power play and Edmonton went 0-for-2.
It’s unfortunate the Oilers couldn’t capitalize on their well-executed power play, because Vanek put the Wild ahead once again, at 4:48 of the middle frame. Vanek was left alone in front and beat goaltender Cam Talbot for his 16th of the season.
The Oilers had a goal waved off at 8:24 of the second, because they were on a delayed penalty and the Wild gained possession prior to the puck entering the net, according to the referee. On the subsequent power play, the Oilers had their share of chances again, including Teddy Purcell from the top of the crease. However, Edmonton’s power play, though it looked the part, could not convert.
Granlund scored with a wrister at 15:37 of the second to extend the Wild lead to 4-2. Dumba and Mike Reilly recorded the assists.
With four seconds left in the game, Coyle potted an empty-net goal to close out the 5-2 victory.
The Oilers next host the Colorado Avalanche Saturday at 8 p.m. MT.