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Greenway's first Gordie powers Wild past Oilers

Young winger scores goal, drops mitts and dishes out assist on game-winning goal Thursday in St. Paul

by Dan Myers @mnwildscribe / Wild.com

ST. PAUL -- Jordan Greenway lumbered into the Wild dressing room Thursday night ready to accept his post-game media duties. 

He had only one request.

"I'm gonna sit down for this one," he grumbled as a smile crept across his face.

Have a seat big fella. You earned it.

Greenway scored a goal, assisted on another and got into a fight against the Edmonton Oilers for his first career Gordie Howe Hat Trick in a 6-5 Wild victory at Xcel Energy Center.

The win extended Minnesota's point streak on home ice to 11 games (8-0-3). 

Video: Locker room postgame vs Edmonton

"It's good to get my first one I guess," Greenway said. "I didn't expect one honestly. I'll take it for sure."

Greenway is about as mellow a person as there is. On the ice, it's both a blessing and a curse. When he's engaged physically, and plays with an edge, he's nearly unstoppable. Twice he got into tussles with Edmonton's Darnell Nurse and both times, he left smiling right in a frustrated Nurse's face.

"I'd get pissed if someone was smiling at me," Greenway said. "I think it's just second nature honestly. I mean I don't know what else I would do. It's hard for me to get mad so I'm going to smile."

In the second period, Nurse leveled Luke Kunin with a questionable hit that didn't sit well with the gregarious 6-foot-5 winger. 

So he went over and challenged one of the NHL's toughest customers to fisticuffs, opening Nurse's lip with a cut. 

Video: Bruce Boudreau postgame vs Edmonton

"Darnell Nurse is a pretty tough dude, and I thought he stood in there really well," Boudreau said. "In today's game to get a Gordie Howe Hat Trick. That doesn't happen very often.

"When you're doing something like that, and then you realize you're good at it, then all of a sudden you want to do it more. When he plays physical, he's into the game more and good things usually happen for him. We hope he plays like that more often."

Tweet from @Ryan_Carter22: I've spent way too much time trying to find the right camera but this is the big right from Greenway that bloodied Nurse. Forgive the 480i resolution. pic.twitter.com/Q7ZBXdTkUi

Greenway, a part of the GEEK Squad line with Kunin and Joel Eriksson Ek, was velcro'd to either Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl for most of the game on Thursday. 

The two Oilers connected on a power-play goal in the second period, and McDavid scored a third-period goal that briefly tied the game in the third period, although Greenway was the only representative of the line on the ice at the time. 

But when the Wild had its chosen line on the ice against two of the best players in the game, they were remarkably quiet. 

"Last game we played them I thought we did a good job taking their time and space away," Kunin said. "We tried to do the same tonight."

Why change what's working, right? The three shutout McDavid and the Oilers 3-0 on home ice in October, and secured a season-series victory over the Pacific Division-leading Oilers.

Minnesota climbed back to within two points of a wild card position in the Western Conference and has now secured a point in 13 of its past 14 overall. 

"They've been really good to help us get back to where we're going. That's been a really big key," said Wild forward Eric Staal, who himself was a game-time decision after leaving Tuesday's game with an injury in the first period. 

Video: EDM@MIN: Staal blasts one-timer home for the lead

Staal scored arguably the game's most important goal with just under five minutes to play in regulation. Edmonton had rallied from two goals down by scoring twice in a span of 126 seconds.

With the game trending the wrong way, it was Staal who stopped the bleeding with a one-timer blast that beat Mike Smith glove side to give the Wild a lead it wouldn't relinquish.

The GEEK Squad capped things off with a gorgeous goal 1:08 later to make it 6-4, as Greenway finished off his Gordie with a pretty pass to Kunin in the slot. The former Wisconsin Badger rifled a shot blocker side for a two-goal lead.

Video: EDM@MIN: Kunin wires wrister past Smith from the slot

It would eventually stand as the game-winning goal after Edmonton scored in the final minute of regulation to pull within one late.

As great as the goal was, it was Greenway's no-look, backhand pass that made the play. 

The play capped a heck of a game for the line, and for Greenway, who certainly earned his break after the game.

"He makes a great pass, obviously that play to [Kunin] was phenomenal. He's a good player. He's a big strong guy that I think is just continuing to grow with confidence," Staal said. "When he's playing physically engaged and around the net, he can be a difference maker every shift. Tonight he was good, physical and obviously he's got the skill set to make those plays especially that huge play to Luke to get that goal. That was obviously the winner and a big one tonight."


Related:

Postgame Hat Trick: Oilers 6, Wild 5

Video: Balanced attack leads Wild past Oilers, 6-5

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