Wild 4 Oilers
ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Minnesota Wild love it when the Edmonton Oilers pay them a visit.
Pierre-Marc Bouchard highlighted a three-goal, third-period outburst for the Wild in a 4-1 victory over the Oilers on Tuesday night.
Martin Havlat, Kyle Brodziak and Jared Spurgeon also scored for Minnesota, which has beaten Edmonton 15 straight times at home. That ties the Nashville Predators’ home dominance of the Columbus Blue Jackets for the longest current streak in the NHL, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Niklas Backstrom stopped 20 shots to improve his home record against Edmonton to 14-0, the longest current home streak by a goalie against one team. He is 17-2-1 overall against the Oilers.
Kurtis Foster scored for Edmonton, which lost for the first time in four games.
The Wild, who moved into a three-way tie for fifth place in the Western Conference, have outscored the Oilers 55-19 during their home-winning streak, including 22-4 in the third period and overtime. Edmonton has scored more than two goals against Minnesota just once.
“We weren’t our best for the first two periods,” Brodziak said. “There were a lot of execution things we weren’t happy with. We were turning the puck over a lot. We knew, just talking it over with everyone, we had another level to get to. We definitely took it there in the third.”
After the Oilers failed to score during 91 seconds of a 5-on-3 power play midway through the third period, Bouchard took a pass from Cal Clutterbuck and went in alone on Nikolai Khabibulin. Bouchard faked to the forehand, stopped just before the crease, spun 180 degrees back to the right, and tucked a backhand into the open net.
“From the blue line I saw one of their defencemen fell down, so I knew I had time to make that move,” he said. “From the blue line I knew I was going to do it, so I’m pretty glad it worked.”
Edmonton coach Tom Renney was disappointed in the grit of the Oilers’ power-play unit in a clutch situation.
“When you got a 5-on-3, you want to make sure you get traffic at the net so you at least feel like it’s a good idea to shoot,” he said. “It always looks pretty when you get to look at highlights and see nice tuck-in goals or whatever, but the bottom line is you got to get greasy, you got to get dirty, you got to get the puck to the net with bodies.”
Brodziak scored the winning goal 1:28 into the third period, taking a pass from Nick Schultz as he cut across the crease and lifted a backhand over Khabibulin into the top corner.
Spurgeon, who grew up in Edmonton, scored his first career goal five minutes later on a slap shot from outside the left circle. Brodziak screened Khabibulin on the play.
“It’s sort of cool that everyone back home will get to see this one,” Spurgeon said. “That’s something to remember forever.”
Havlat gave Minnesota a 1-0 lead midway through the second.
He cut to the middle of the ice, took a pass from Greg Zanon at the Edmonton blue line, split Tom Gilbert and Theo Peckham in the Oilers zone and beat Khabibulin with a wrist shot between the pads. It was his third straight game with a goal.
Foster beat Backstrom late in the middle period to tie it. He took a pass from Linus Omark and scored with a wrist shot to the glove side to give him his first goal in 32 games.
“It’s frustrating,” Oilers centre Shawn Horcoff said. “We just need to put it behind us.”
Minnesota played its second straight game without injured centre Mikko Koivu. Matt Cullen centred the top line between Andrew Brunette and Antti Miettinen.
Notes: Edmonton D Taylor Chorney left after the second period because of a right knee injury. Renney said Chorney will be reevaluated Wednesday. … Minnesota RW Chuck Kobasew was a healthy scratch for the first time this season. … Foster scored 21 goals in four seasons with the Wild from 2006-09. … Camouflage jerseys worn by the Wild for their pregame skate will be auctioned off for Defending the Blue Line, a charity created by Minnesota National Guard members. … Minnesota has beaten Edmonton four times this season, scoring four goals in each game.