Oilers 5 Wild 2
EDMONTON — Dustin Penner is happy to shoulder more of the offensive load in Edmonton — and the Oilers sure don’t mind, either.
Penner and Gilbert Brule each scored twice as the Edmonton Oilers cruised past the Minnesota Wild 5-2 on Friday night for their third win in the past four games.
Penner, who now has five goals and nine points on the season, said he’s thrilled to be making a bigger offensive contribution so far.
“My linemates made some really nice passes to me,” he said. “I think the whole team is playing with confidence offensively. We just need to work on some of our systems play.”
Head coach Pat Quinn raved about the play of youngsters Penner and Brule, who have combined for nine of Edmonton’s 28 goals this season.
“(Penner) is big and strong and holding the puck well,” he said. “He’s got a good skill level, he’s not just a big man. He gave some good second efforts tonight. He is doing lots of little things really well. I like a lot of the things that I see out of him.
“(Brule) competes hard and he is really sharp around the net. We need to see that regularly on a consistent basis from him and we have to this point.”
Mike Comrie also scored for the Oilers (4-2-1).
Benoit Pouliot and Andrew Brunette responded for the Wild (1-5-0), who have lost the first four games of a five-game road trip.
“I don’t think this trip could have gone any worse at this point,” said Wild goalie Josh Harding. “It’s disappointing battling back and letting up another one. We have to find a way to win and right now we just keep finding ways to lose.”
The game was scoreless through one period, though the Oilers had a couple of near-misses. With five minutes to play in the first, Patrick O’Sullivan rang a backhander off of the crossbar. Three minutes later, Brule tipped a shot past Harding but hit the post.
Edmonton finally broke the deadlock less than two minutes into the second as Comrie took a nice return pass from Robert Nilsson and put a shot over Harding’s shoulder for his third of the season.
The Oilers went up 2-0 with eight minutes to play in the second as O’Sullivan made a slick pass through the crease to Penner on the doorstep.
“That was an elite-level pass,” Penner said. “It was a good feeling watching that come to your stick.”