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Oilers lose again in Minnesota

St. Paul, Minnesota is an unpleasant destination for the Edmonton Oilers. The Oilers are now 1-16-3 in the team’s last 20 visits to the Xcel Energy Center, after the Minnesota Wild handed the Oilers yet another decisive road loss.

 

The final score of 4-2 is not indicative of the nature of this hockey game, however. In fact, the Oilers were lucky enough to still be in a tied game going into the third, after the team failed to get a shot on goal the second period. The Wild outshot the Oilers 18-0 in the second period; but thanks to some outstanding goaltending by Devan Dubnyk, the score remained tied at one after 40 minutes of play.

 

Regardless, the Wild’s hard work paid off only nine seconds into the third period, when Mikko Koivu hopped on a deflected puck in the Oilers’ zone and ripped a wrist shot past Dubnyk to finally break the tie.

 

Remarkably, two minutes into the third, Jordan Eberle crashed the Wild net and recorded the Oilers’ first shot on goal since the end of the first period. But all effort was for naught for the Oilers on this night as, moments later, the Wild charged down the ice and caught the Oilers’ defense backing in too deep, which allowed Charlie Coyle to swoop into the zone and back hand a sneaky shot past the glove of Dubnyk.

 

With under eight minutes remaining in the final period, the Oilers got a lucky one when an attempted pass behind the Minnesota goal deflected off Sam Gagner’s skate, off a defender in front and into the net. However, a couple minutes later, Oilers defenseman Jeff Petry drove too hard to the Minnesota net and was called for goaltender interference.

 

Petry’s penalty interrupted any momentum the Oilers were trying to muster at that point of the game and the Wild gained back the two goal lead on the powerplay when Danny Heatly tipped in a point shot to put his team up 4-2.

 

After the goal, the Oilers swiftly pulled Dubnyk for the extra attacker and played the remaining three minutes with an empty net. However, even with the extra attacker, the Oilers still had difficulties keeping the puck in the Wild’s zone and, save for a couple scrambles in front of the Minnesota goal, the Oilers failed to sustain any pressure and lost another game in Minnesota.

 

Overall, the Oilers didn’t put in a decent enough effort against the Wild. For most of the game, the Oilers failed to create chances and fell victim to Minnesota’s standard defensive trap. This is another game the Oilers will likely want to erase from their memories as soon as possible.

Oilers lose again in Minnesota
Minnesota Wild center Kyle Brodziak (21) passes the puck to teammate Mike Rupp (27), past Edmonton Oilers’ defenseman Ryan Whitney (6) and goalie Devan Dubnyk during the first period of their NHL hockey game in St. Paul, Minnesota, March 3, 2013. Minnesota won 4-2.
(REUTERS/Eric Miller )

With two losses in the last two games, the Oilers now sit in second last place in the Western Conference with a record 8-9-4.

 

The Oilers will play their fifth game of their current nine-game road trip against the Columbus Bluejackets on Tuesday.

Evan Davits

Evan Davits

I grew up playing hockey on the roads, outdoor rinks, and ice surfaces of various arenas in Edmonton and around Northern Alberta. Now, I am a father of three and a journalism student at MacEwan University in Edmonton. My words are often brutally honest and critical; however, I have never been the type to shy away from sarcasm and humour.
Evan Davits
Evan Davits

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