ST. PAUL, Minn. — Up three goals in the first period against the worst team in the Western Conference, the Minnesota Wild appeared to be rolling to an easy win.
However, the Edmonton Oilers refused to roll over.
The Oilers scored twice in the final 9 minutes of regulation to force overtime, then completed their comeback when Taylor Hall scored in the fourth round of the shootout to lift Edmonton to a 4-3 victory over the Wild on Tuesday night.
“We got really complacent when we were up 3-0,” the Wild’s Zach Parise said. “Just (a) lack of energy on the bench even when we were up 3-0. You could just sense, even though we were up 3-0, we weren’t feeling good. We played with no intensity, no urgency.”
Minnesota now holds a three-point lead over Dallas for the No. 7 spot in the Western Conference, with Phoenix just a point behind the Stars. The Stars and Coyotes both won on Tuesday, making the Wild’s loss sting a bit more.
Zach Parise, Jared Spurgeon, and Jason Pominville scored in 4-minute, 16-second span of the first period to put the Wild up 3-0. But they missed other key opportunities to put the game away, including a 5-on-3 power play midway through the second period and another man advantage late in regulation that extended into overtime.
“I thought that we were a little bit lucky to be up 3-0. You could tell that we weren’t on it right away,” Wild coach Mike Yeo said.
“We addressed it, we talked about it, but we weren’t able to find it. You’re obviously playing with fire when you’re doing that.”
Jeff Petry got the Oilers on the scoreboard about 90 seconds after the Wild’s flurry, and David Perron and Jordan Eberle scored in the third period to tie it. Andrew Ference had two assists.
Viktor Fasth finished with 28 saves through overtime to help Edmonton win for the third time in four games.
“I’m proud of them. It would’ve been real easy to pack it in, call it a night and get on to the next game, but our guys refused to do it,” Oilers coach Dallas Eakins said. “They just kept scrapping and clawing and it’s tough against a team like that.”
In the shootout, Hall beat Darcy Kuemper with a forehand after each team scored in the first two rounds. Fasth stopped two straight shots before Hall slipped the game-winner between Kuemper’s pads.
“It’s been a while since I’ve taken a shootout shot. I was kind of panicking a bit, but (Eberle) told me he thought five-hole would be there, and sure enough, fake shot, five-hole,” Hall said. “It was good to see that one go in.”
Mikael Granlund had a pair of assists for the Wild, who have lost three straight, including the last two in shootouts.
Parise opened the scoring on the power play, taking a pass from Granlund and beating Fasth with his own rebound for his 22nd goal of the season with 9:53 left in the first.
Minnesota doubled its lead when Spurgeon’s slap shot from the right point hit Oilers defenceman Justin Schultz in the leg and deflected past a screened Fasth with 6:14 to go. Pominville made it 3-0 with 4:37 left in the first when he scored his team-leading 24th of the year off a feed from Granlund, who had chased down a loose puck behind the net.
Petry then fired a shot from the right corner that hit traffic in front of the net and skipped past Kuemper with 3:05 left in the period to get Edmonton on the board.