Wild sweep season series with 5-2 win over Oilers
EDMONTON, Alberta — Many things have improved for the Edmonton Oilers this season. Their record against the Minnesota Wild is not one of them.
Tyler Graovac scored twice and Minnesota defeated Edmonton 5-2 on Tuesday night in a matchup of teams on a tear when the NHL All-Star break arrived.
Jason Zucker, Zach Parise and Chris Stewart also scored for the Wild (33-11-5), who picked up right where they left off coming out of the break. Minnesota won its third game in a row and improved to 22-3-2 since the beginning of December.
“We wanted to start this road trip off on the right foot,” Stewart said. “We have four big road games and this was a hot team here. It was a good test and we answered the bell.”
The Wild extended their franchise-record road point streak to 14 games, including five straight wins. They swept the three-game season series and improved to 13-3-1 in their last 17 meetings with the Oilers. Minnesota is 13-1-0 in Edmonton since Oct. 21, 2010.
Darcy Kuemper received a rare start in net for the Wild and earned his sixth win. He stopped 41 shots and even added an assist.
“It’s been kind of funny, because I’ve felt good, especially lately, and sometimes the result just hasn’t been there,” he said. “It was nice to feel good in there and keep the score down. I just have to keep working, and the guys made it pretty easy on me tonight.”
Adam Larsson and Leon Draisaitl each had a goal for the Oilers (28-16-8), who had their three-game winning streak snapped. Edmonton was 7-0-1 in its previous eight games, with the only loss during that stretch coming to Nashville in a shootout.
“It was catastrophic mistakes, often just by individuals,” Oilers coach Todd McLellan said. “We were flat. We weren’t good around the net. They were the better team.”
There was plenty of pressure applied by both teams in the early going, but Minnesota struck first with seven minutes left in the first period as a clearing attempt hit Graovac in the leg and he maneuvered the puck past Oilers goalie Cam Talbot in tight.
The Wild made it 2-0 with 3.6 seconds left in the period when Draisaitl coughed up the puck in front of the net to Zucker, who fired a shot that trickled through Talbot’s legs for his 15th of the season.
Parise got to his own rebound and chipped a backhand over Talbot as Minnesota added to its lead four minutes into the second.
“When you are giving up that many point-blank shots in front of the net, I don’t care what team you are playing or who you have in net, you are not going to win hockey games,” Oilers forward Milan Lucic said. “You can add up the distance from the net of all their goals put together and I don’t think it goes from the goal line to the blue line.”
Larsson scored on a deflection with nine minutes left in the second, but Minnesota came right back less than two minutes later to make it 4-1 when Mikael Granlund set up Graovac for his second goal of the night and sixth this season. Talbot got the hook at that point, with backup Laurent Brossoit coming in.
Edmonton cut into the lead with three minutes left in the period when Draisaitl scored his 20th on a power-play one-timer, extending his point streak to seven games.
Minnesota made it a 5-2 game five minutes into the third when Stewart faked a pass on a 2-on-1 and ripped a shot past Brossoit.
Minnesota won the previous two meetings in overtime. The Wild have won eight straight in Edmonton since Dec. 22, 2011.
Wild: Play the second of a four-game road trip in Calgary on Wednesday.
Oilers: Begin a three-game road swing in Nashville on Thursday.