My hatred of the Minnesota Wild grows by the day. Final Score: 5-3 Wild
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I know that the Jacques Lemaire years of the Minnesota Wild are long over, but I still carry a hatred for this team that I don’t think will ever go away. Every time they pop on the calendar, I can feel myself getting irritated about the game long before anyone has even made a pass or taken the ice in the first place. It’s just because you know that they’re going to be boring because they’ve always been boring, or they’re going to find a way to make the Oilers look dumb somehow, and quite frankly I’m over it. Coming into tonight’s contest, the Oilers had lost their last six meetings with the Wild and while I yearned so deeply to watch the boys avoid making it seven straight games, I wasn’t feeling so great about it. So when Leon Draisaitl opened the scoring with an early power play goal, my brain was almost confused about what was happening given the ground level expectations I had before puck drop. And when they carried that lead into the intermission? Intrigue be thy name, I did not see this coming.
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Heading into the second period, the most obvious need was to find a way to test Marc-Andre Fleury a little bit more than they did in the first. As much as it was fun to look at his .750 save%, we knew that it was going to take more than one goal if the boys were going to lock in a fourth straight victory. Unfortunately, Minnesota didn’t care much for my dreams of victory as they knotted the score in the opening minutes with a power play goal of their own that came on a friendly bounce off the end boards. The good news is that Connor McDavid got the goal back almost immediately as he and Leon broke into the zone on a 2-on-1 and executed the play perfectly, as is tradition around these parts. That’s kinda where the positives stopped though, ya know? In the moments following McDavid’s goal, however, the Wild basically took over the game and cashed in on every quality look on Campbell that they produced. In a span of under 10 minutes, Minnesota went from being down by a goal to up by one, and the worst part of all is that the Oilers couldn’t do a whole lot to stop it from happening.
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Down by a goal with a period left to play, there wasn’t a whole lot that the Oilers didn’t have to do better if they had any hopes of fighting their way back in this hockey game. Sure, you could say that the boys were only down by a single goal when the period began but they also only had 10 shots on net and it was going to take a hell of a lot more than that to get the job done. Not only that, the Oilers could not give up another goal, or else it was going to be curtains on this winning streak.
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And just as I was writing that last sentence, Sam Steel found himself in alone with all the time in the world to make a play. Even though Steel’s goal came in the first few minutes of the period, I can’t be the only one that called game in that moment since a comeback really seemed unlikely based on how the boys were running on fumes. Not to make excuses for anyone — the list of players that had a good game is short and expected — but you could tell that the Oilers were gassed as the game went on and I personally didn’t find the result all that surprising. That said, you have to find a way to compete even when the schedule gets heavy and there weren’t nearly enough players in white uniforms that can say they did that. Way she goes.
The wrap.

THE BRIGHT SIDE

  • The game is over now.
  • Leon Draisaitl opened the scoring (1-0) with a power play goal from his office in the circle after Evan Bouchard set him up for a one-timer that he blasted past Fleury. Make it four straight games with a goal for the big man.
  • Connor McDavid restored Edmonton’s lead (2-1) with yet another perfectly executed 2-on-1 with Leon Draisaitl that left both the Wild defender and Marc-Andre Fleury looking useless and scared.
  • With just over three seconds left to play, Klim Kostin picked up his first goal as an Oiler (5-3) with a spin-and-fire move that caught Fleury off guard and beat him high over the glove. I’ve got a lot of time for Kostin and hope he sticks in the lineup when people start getting healthy because he gives this lineup a flavour of player that they don’t have enough of right now.
  • Evan Bouchard finds himself on a four-game point streak (3G, 2A) and this little heater could not come at a better time. Didn’t make a difference tonight, but we’ll need him feeling good and producing down the stretch.
  • The power play came through with one goal on three chances with the man advantage. We needed more, but it’s hard to blame the PP for that.
  • At least I had a decent night of betting?
  • Should we celebrate the fact that the Oilers won 53% of the faceoffs? Anybody? No? Alright.

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THE FACE PALMERS

  • Joel Eriksson-Ek tied the game (1-1) with a power play goal after Kaprisov’s shot from the slot took a wild (see what I did there?) bounce off the backboards and landed right on his stick with an open net to shoot at.
  • Kirill Kaprisov tied the game for a second time (2-1) with yet another power play goal after Mattias Janmark took a tripping penalty in the offensive zone. I don’t know why the offensive zone penalties always hurt more, but it seems to be a thing that the Hockey Gords punish teams for routinely.
  • Freddie Gaudreau gave the Wild the lead (3-2) with a backhand shot from in tight that beat Campbell cleanly over the blocker. I don’t think I’m talking out of school when I say that Soup has to stop that one.
  • Just under four minutes into the third period, Sam Steel extended the lead (4-2) after finding himself behind the Oilers defencemen and executing a beautiful little deke around Campbell. Game over? Felt that way.
  • Mats Zuccarello put the Wild up by a field goal (5-2) after he got a stick on Matt Dumba’s point shot, tipping the puck perfectly through Campbell’s legs.
  • The NHL site had the Oilers listed with only eight giveaways and I’d say that number is generous to say the least.
  • How did the Oilers make it through an entire period with only four shots on net? I know the Wild finished the first with six shots but it’s truly puzzling to me how few pucks were making it through to the goaltenders.
  • I want so badly for the Oilers to shut opponents out on the PK that I’m starting to think it’s my fault that they gave up two goals on three shorthanded situations. Maybe if I stop talking about it, they can keep the puck out of the net?
  • Outside of a few flashes by the Nuge-Puljujarvi-Janmark trio, there were very few forwards outside of Connor and Leon that were able to do anything offensively. We need some bodies back in the lineup in the worst possible way.
  • I was curious to see how Jack Campbell would handle a tough start against the Minnesota Wild on a night when I had this as a scheduled loss, and the answer was that it did not go his way. While I will absolutely defend him on a couple of these goals, there were other times when he simply needed to stop the puck and couldn’t make it happen. I don’t know what’s going on with our boy right now, but I couldn’t think of a rougher start to his time as an Oiler than what we’ve seen so far. Campbell finished the night with 25 saves and a .833 save%.
  • Outshot 30-21 and it’s pretty tough to win in this league if you’re not getting pucks on net.

SCORING SUMMARY

1ST PERIODEDMMIN
11:17
Edmonton
Leon Draisaitl (16) (Power Play)
Assists: Evan Bouchard (8), Connor McDavid (24)
1
0
2ND PERIODEDMMIN
1:51
Minnesota
Joel Eriksson Ek (7) (Power Play)
Assists: Kirill Kaprizov (15)
1
1
4:22
Edmonton
Connor McDavid (19)
Assists: Leon Draisaitl (22), Zach Hyman (15)
2
1
10:53
Minnesota
Kirill Kaprizov (14) (Power Play)
Assists: Matt Boldy (8), Joel Eriksson Ek (12)
2
2
13:59
Minnesota
Frederick Gaudreau (4)
Assists: Nic Petan (2), Jon Merrill (3)
2
3
3RD PERIODEDMMIN
3:13
Minnesota
Sam Steel (5)
Assists: Mats Zuccarello (14), Jon Merrill (4)
2
4
11:48
Minnesota
Mats Zuccarello (8)
Assists: Matt Dumba (5), Kirill Kaprizov (16)
2
5
19:56
Edmonton
Klim Kostin (1)
Assists: Devin Shore (2), Derek Ryan (2)
3
5

#GOODCONTENT

Talk to me, Twitter. Hit me up at @jsbmbaggedmilk and Wanye at @Oilersnation and you could find yourself landing in this very spot. 

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