Minnesota fell behind early in the third period but Ryan Suter and Charlie Coyle scored 43 seconds apart to re-gain the lead for the victory.
The Wild needed to re-find its defensive game after a first period debauchery in Winnipeg Sunday afternoon. The Edmonton Oilers have boy wonder Connor McDavid and other past first overall picks that know how to score. What has been the Oilers' problem has been playing defense. In a game that featured large chunks of shifts from the Jason Zucker - Mikko Koivu - Nino Niederreiter line inside the Oilers zone, the Wild escaped a second period in which the Wild appeared too laxadaisical with a two quick strikes in the third period.
Minnesota got on the board first at the 7:25 mark of the first period when Ryan Suter's seeing-eye wrist shot found the back of the net behind Edmonton starting goaltender Cam Talbot. It was Suter's first goal of the season in a season where he's shown much more effectiveness offensively. Two minutes and five seconds later, Marco Scandella scored his first of the season on the power play. Thomas Vanek found Scandella down low behind the Oilers' defensemen and a sent a shot/pass that Scandella tipped past Talbot.
But the Oilers are not the same pushover Oilers. They can score and have some high-end talent to do just that. Taylor Hall got one back just past the midway point of the period.
Matt Dumba took out Lauri Korpikoski with a huge hit just inside the Oilers' blue line. Dumba did catch him with his head down and the principle point of contact from at least one angle looks like the head. However, Dumba didn't leave his feet, nor did he extend any part of his arm and finished through the body. It will be interesting to see if Dumba gets a call from the league.
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Connor McDavid is really good. What a treat for fans in Downtown St. Paul to watch him live. The kids has such a good awareness about him. His hands are amazing, but his overall hockey sense is at such a high level at his young age, it's damn amazing.
Iiro Pakarinen scored to tie the game at two goals apiece at the four minute mark of the second period. Up to that point, the Wild wer downright awful exiting its zone and were mostly one-and-done in the offensive end. Devan Dubnyk needed to be big in net to keep the game tied. It was so bad at one point, Charlie Coyle was demoted to the fourth line and Erik Haula elevated to the third. Haula seemed invigorated by his elevation and tried to make the most of it. He had a couple scoring chances late in the period. Coyle also responded and started to play like he is capable of.
Darnell Nurse gave the Oilers a 4-3 lead just 3:38 seconds into the 3rd period on a shot the seemed to flutter and change direction off of Jared Spurgeon's stick. That's when the Wild started to really gain zone time and work the puck low in the Oilers' zone. Again, the scoring and pressure came from the Koivu line where Zucker had chances, Niederreiter had chances, but it was Ryan Suter pinching way down low on the weak side that tapped one home to tie the game and notch his second of the game and season. Just 43 seconds later Thomas Vanek's failed pass to Justin Fontaine was ringed around the boards and found Vanek again in the left circle. Vanek sent a low angle shot that caromed right off Talbot and a net crashing Coyle backhanded home the go-ahead and eventual game winner.
Coyle responded in a big way to a clear message sent by Mike Yeo and ended up being the night's hero for the Wild.