Darcy Kuemper started in net - homecoming of sorts - as he dressed in his hometown of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. He stopped 26 of 28 shots faced with a skating line-up that consisted of mostly on-the-cusp type players. "I thought he had a real solid game all night," Mike Yeo said of his netminder. "It was still a special night playing at home. I felt pretty good in there," Kuemper said of his chance to play in his hometown where he expected roughly 50 of his friends and family in the stands. He even got a loud ovation from the home crowd when he was announced as a starter.
Connor McDavid assisted on Anton Slepyshev's first goal of the game. He also was spotted beating defensemen like Tyson Strachan to the outside with his speed and hands.
For most of the first period, the play was in the Wild end. In the second period, the Wild got a couple power plays that helped it keep the puck in the offensive zone. Oscar Klefbom extended the lead with a long slapper that beat Kuemper. "Our kids played hard; we were right in the game until they got that second one," Yeo said.
The best chance for the Wild came in the third period when Christoph Bertschy was denied by the right pad of Anders Nilsson on the doorstep. Mike Yeo chose to pull Kuemper with 2:32 left in the game for an extra attacker. Instead Rob Klinkhammer sealed the win with an empty net goal.
The two teams did play an automatic 3-on-3 overtime period so that both teams can continue to learn how that kind of play is going to. Erik Haula scored just 24 seconds in to end the game. He received an ally-oop pass through the neutral zone from Mike Reilly and used his speed to get past the Oilers defenseman. It was Reilly, Scandella, and Haula to open the 3v3 overtime period, and they ended it.
The Wild will next take on the the Winnipeg Jets Sunday at 5:00 PM in St. Paul.