EDMONTON – Mikko Koivu did a lot of stuff right for the Minnesota Wild on Sunday.
The 33-year-old Finn capped a fine outing by scoring 3:11 into overtime as the Wild emerged with a 2-1 victory over the Oilers — improving to 12-1-0 in their last 13 games in Edmonton.
“Mikko Koivu did so many things aside from scoring that winning goal,” said Wild coach Bruce Boudreau.
“He was 21-2 on the faceoffs. I’ve never seen it that high, that kind of percentage for that kind of number you’ve taken. I’m sure someone has been 26-1 at some point, but not too many people have done that. He was out there every time there was an important faceoff. I thought he controlled the game when he was out there. He was a true leader out there.”
Charlie Coyle also scored for the Wild (12-8-4), who snapped a three-game losing skid.
Patrick Maroon responded for the Oilers (14-10-3), who had a two-game winning streak come to an end.
“For us to scratch and claw and get a point, I don’t want to say we’re satisfied, but it was good to get that,” said Oilers head coach Todd McLellan. “I didn’t think we had the energy level and polish that we needed to beat a good defensive team tonight.”
Edmonton got on the board just before the game was three minutes old. Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk was able to stop a point shot by Mark Fayne, but couldn’t recover in time to stop Maroon from scoring his eighth of the season on the rebound.
The Wild tied it up with 55 seconds to go in the opening frame, as Coyle was able to muscle in a rebound off of Oilers goalie Jonas Gustavsson’s skate and into the Edmonton net for his ninth of the campaign.
The shots were 23-23 after a scoreless second, the best opportunity belonging to Minnesota’s Zach Parise, who clanged a shot off the post.
The Oilers got a bit of a scare with six-and-a-half minutes remaining in the second when Oilers captain and NHL leading scorer Connor McDavid was pulled off the ice by NHL concussion spotters after hitting his chin on the ice following a trip by Wild defenceman Jared Spurgeon. However, McDavid returned for the start of the third.
“I was pretty shocked, to be honest,” McDavid said of his removal.
“I hit my mouth on the ice. You reach up and grab your mouth when you get hit in the mouth, it’s a pretty normal thing. Obviously the spotter thought he knew how I was feeling. He pulled me off. A (rotten) time of the game too.”
The Wild had hoped to have scored midway through overtime, but a review confirmed the whistle had blown before a puck was pushed across the line in a scrum. They, however, scored soon afterwards to get the win when Koivu converted on a backhand shot.
The Oilers begin a three-game road trip in Buffalo on Tuesday. The Wild complete a five-game trip in Toronto on Wednesday.
Notes: It was the first of three meetings this season between the Oilers and the Wild, playing each other again on Friday in Minnesota… Gustavsson, who made 31 saves, was making just his third start of the season in the Oilers net, with Cam Talbot making 24 starts to date… Dubnyk made 28 stops and improved to 7-1-0 against the Oilers, the team he broke into the league with.