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Wild 4, Oilers 3 post-game Oil Spills: Minnesota executed their game plan

Death, taxes, and the Minnesota Wild being opportunistic. Despite outplaying the Wild, the Oilers ended up with the loss as Minnesota was able to capitalize on their chances and then lull the game to sleep. That’s wild!

What happened…

The Oilers got out to an early lead right after a power play came to an end. Connor McDavid worked the puck around the net, hit Oscar Klefbom for a one-timer at the point, then Ryan Nugent-Hopkins dove to bat the rebound to Draisaitl for the easy finish at the side of the net. That’s teamwork!

Soon after that, Zach “Don’t call me Marc-Antoine Pouliot” Parise, who’s enjoying quite a resurgent season, got the Wild on the board with a power play goal. That’s going to be a theme tonight.

This goal was insane. Kris Russell flipped the puck out of the zone, then Connor McDavid picked it up and proceeded to go zero to 100 in about a millisecond, burning Ryan Suter wide and going bar down over Alex Stalock to give the Oilers the lead back. This is Ryan Suter, a legitimate No. 1 defenceman, we’re dealing with here. McDavid made him look like a pylon.

Local Edmonton boy Jared Spurgeon would get the game tied up again. Drake Caggiula let the defender sneak in from the point and Eric Staal found him at the side of the net for an easy goal. That isn’t good coverage.

Soon after that, Alex “The Answer” Chiasson gave the Oilers the lead again. The Oilers cycled the puck down low and worked it up to Matt Benning who fired a clapper on the net that Chiasson would tip past Stalock. Go to the net and good things will happen. Chiasson does that effectively.

The Wild would tie the game again right before the end of the second period. On the power play yet again, Ryan Suter got a wrist shot on net and Eric Staal would deflect it past a screened Talbot.

The Wild would get their first and only lead of the game in the latter half of the third period while, yup, you guessed it, they were on the power play. Markus Granlund got the puck on the half wall and wired a wrister over Talbot’s shoulder. I mean, that’s a pretty incredible shot, but I’m not going to lie, Talbot does need to stop that one.

By the numbers…

The Oilers dominated this game at even strength. But that’s Minnesota’s style. What they do is let the other team get set up on the outside and then proceed to make it very difficult for their opponents to work the puck inside. The Oilers had a lot of shot attempts and thus dominated the possession game, but the teams were split in terms of actual high danger chances while at even strength.

Thoughts…

  • That was such a standard Minnesota Wild game. They get pounded in the possession game, allowing the other team to pepper them with shot attempts, but they remain patient and then capitalize on their chances. The Wild scored all three of their goals on the power play and then lulled the game to sleep as soon as they got the lead. It’s a frustrating but effective strategy.
  • Special teams really killed Edmonton in this game. They allowed a goal on all three of their penalty kills and they didn’t score on any of their four power plays. That was ultimately the difference here as the Oilers were the much better team at even strength. Generally, if you pay like that at 5-on-5, you’re going to win, but bad penalty killing and an ineffective power play can offset the good work you do in the game otherwise.
  • I wouldn’t say Talbot was bad this game, but he wasn’t good either. If he was really on his game, the Oilers probably come out with the win. The only goal I find disappointing was the Granlund one that gave the Wild the lead. While I concede it was an impressive snipe, Talbot still left a chunk of the corner of the net open for Granlund to find.
  • Drake Caggiula had an ugly game. He didn’t check Spurgeon properly on Minnesota’s second goal, allowing the Wild defender to creep into the zone wide open for a goal. He then took a penalty in the third period that resulted in Minnesota’s game-winning goal. If Todd McLellan is serious about accountability, Caggiula will need to watch the next game from the press box.