Edmonton Oilers fall short against Minnesota Wild

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Filip Gustavsson made 41 saves as the Minnesota Wild scored a 4-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers Friday night at Rogers Place.

“It was a weird one,” Oilers captain Connor McDavid said after the game.

“I thought it was as flat a first period as we’ve had. Credit to us for getting ourselves going in the second.”

The Wild had a goal by Joel Eriksson Ek negated about seven minutes into the game when the Oilers successfully challenged for offside. The Wild would get one that counted in the final minute of the first when Matt Boldy beat Oilers goaltender Calvin Pickard from the high slot.

“The first half of the game we had four penalty kills. That takes us out of the rhythm out of our game,” Oilers head coach Kris Knoblauch admitted after the loss. “Especially when our best players aren’t on the ice for the penalty kill, it makes it tougher for them to play and for our team to get things going.”

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The Oilers finally found the net halfway through the second on a power play when McDavid sent a backhand pass to Leon Draisaitl, who one-timed in his 28th of the season.

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“You look back at that streak we had going and it was more about not letting them score than us scoring,” Oilers defenceman Mattias Ekholm said. “We played good enough to win, but we didn’t play the best game we’ve played so far.

“If you want to be a good team, you’ve got to play all three periods, and we haven’t done that in a bit here,” McDavid said.

With 10:29 left in the third, Jonas Brodin’s shot from the left side got past Pickard’s glove and inside the post for a 2-1 Wild lead.

Boldy scored again less than three minutes later.

The Oilers kept battling and pulled within one on a Zach Hyman power-play goal with 5:19 on the clock. However, Mats Zuccarello put it away with an empty-netter from long range.

The Oilers outshot the Wild 23-6 in the third period and 43-19 for the game.

The Oilers (33-19-2) will host the Calgary Flames Saturday night. You can listen to the game live on 630 CHED, beginning with The Faceoff Show at 6:30 p.m. The actual game starts  at 8 p.m.

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