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Under the Scope: Oilers vs. Wild

by Ryan Frankson / Edmonton Oilers

Matt Cullen factored in on all three Minnesota goals as the Wild defeated the Oilers 3-1 on Thursday night at Rexall Place. The veteran centreman scored two goals and chipped in with an assist on Devin Setoguchi's game-winner to hand Edmonton its second consecutive loss and drop the Oilers to 6-7-3 on the season. Ryan Smyth scored Edmonton's lone goal on his 37th birthday, while Niklas Backstrom made 27 saves between the Wild pipes.     

Take a closer look at the game as we go Under The Scope:

With the teams exchanging goals through the first 40 minutes, the game remained up for grabs heading into the third, but the Wild took the lead early in the frame as Devin Setoguchi beat namesake Devan Dubnyk on a one-timer from the slot. Minnesota went up 2-1 on the play 2:20 into the period and never looked back.

42 Points in 58 career games against the Wild for Ryan Smyth, including his 20th goal on Thursday
21 Career points in 41 games against the Oilers scored by Wild centre Matt Cullen, including his three on Thursday
34 Oilers hits compared to just 19 for the Wild, led by Jeff Petry and Ben Eager with six apiece and Theo Peckham with four
80 Taylor Hall's faceoff percentage in five draws
31 Minutes played by Wild defenceman Ryan Suter, seven more than Oilers leader Jeff Petry, who logged over three minutes more than any other Edmonton skater

Matt Cullen
24 23 1 60:00 .958

Ryan Smyth
37 35 2 59:28 .946

Nik Backstrom
28 27 1 60:00 .964

Nik Backstrom
28 27 1 60:00 .964

Devan Dubnyk
28 25 3 59:13 .893

Ryan Suter

31:19 - 1 PTS, +1 rating

Jeff Petry - D

24:17 - 0 PTS, E rating

Less than three minutes after Ryan Smyth broke the scoreless draw midway through the second period, highly-touted off-season free agent signing Ryan Suter sprung Matt Cullen on a breakaway. Cullen slid a crafty backhand deke through Devan Dubnyk's five-hole to get the Wild on the board.

Matt Cullen did it all for the Wild on Thursday, scoring their equalizing goal and insurance marker while assisting on the game-winner, in addition to winning eight of his 12 faceoffs.

Wild defenceman Ryan Suter was a workhorse extraordinaire on Thursday with a whopping 31:19 worth of playing time, an assist on Matt Cullen's breakaway goal, two hits, one blocked shot, one takeaway and a +1 rating.

Despite being Northwest Division rivals, Thursday's game was the first between the Oilers and Wild since December 29, 2011, spanning 420 days between meetings.

"I really didn't feel like it was knee on knee at all. I thought I got him with my hip or torso area. It was a weird play. It sucks to see him down, but I don't think it was a dirty play."
– Taylor Hall on his third-period collision with Cal Clutterbuck

Saturday, February 23 vs. Phoenix 
1:30pm MST
(Sportsnet West / 630 CHED)

The Oilers wrap up their longest homestand of the season with their fifth straight game at Rexall Place as they host the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday for a 1:30pm matinee affair (Sportsnet West, 630 CHED). It's the second meeting of the year between the Oilers and Coyotes, with Edmonton victorious 2-1 in overtime on January 30 in Glendale as rookie Nail Yakupov tallied the game-winner. 

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