Jared Spurgeon netted a natural hat trick to lead the Minnesota Wild to a 5-3 win over the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place on Friday night.
It took the Oilers only 50 seconds to grab the lead as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins took a pass from Kailer Yamamoto and wired a shot right inside the post.
“Overall it wasn’t a terrible game, but I think defensively we could have been a little bit sharper and a little bit quicker,” Nugent-Hopkins said after the game.
LISTEN BELOW: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
The Wild tied it when Kevin Fiala collected a rebound and lifted a backhand past Oilers goaltender Mikko Koskinen.
Nugent-Hopkins struck again with 6:56 left in the first, again converting a pass from Yamamoto.
“We had a lot of chances and couldn’t really bear down. It happens. We’ve got to find a way to win a game like that,” Draisaitl said. “We shot ourselves in the foot by giving up preventable goals. That’s pretty much the story of the game.”
LISTEN BELOW: Dave Tippett
The Wild’s Carson Soucy beat Koskinen up high to make it 2-2 six minutes into the second.
Draisaitl notched his 35th goal of the season when his centering pass flipped in off the skate of Minnesota’s Jordan Greenway.
Again, the Wild came back to tie it when Spurgeon blasted a puck right inside the post.
“That’s a big, strong team,” Oilers defenceman Caleb Jones said of the Wild. “We probably could have played a little harder down low against some of their bigger guys, but in the end that’s something we can fix.”
Minnesota’s Zach Parise had a breakaway with four seconds to go in the frame, but Koskinen made a blocker save.
With 9:53 left, Spurgeon beat Koskinen short side with a backhand from a sharp angle.
“The fourth one is kind of a nothing play that goes off Larsson’s stick and in,” Tippett said. “The margin for error in every game is slim, but you give up four and you’ve got to score five, that’s too many against.”
Spurgeon took a penalty for tripping Jones with 3:49, but the Oilers couldn’t beat Wild netminder Alex Stalock on the power play.
“I think the guys were very committed,” Wild coach Dean Evason said. “Draisaitl’s line was just eating us up. And I think we really committed to playing better defense. We were getting opportunities so we were able to reinforce that in-between periods.”
Spurgeon then completed the hat trick into an empty net with 1:38 to go.
“I didn’t even notice honestly,” Spurgeon said. “The first one we had a good long shift in the O-zone and it just popped out to me. The second one I just threw it on net and it went in and then obviously the empty netter was a good way to end it.”
“We’ll look at video tomorrow,” Yamamoto said. “Things can be corrected pretty easily, so I think if we correct those, we can be a pretty deadly team.”
LISTEN BELOW: Kailer Yamamoto
“It’s two points we really wanted,” Jones said. “We could’ve put them further back, but we’ll move on from it and look at the tape and move on to L.A.”
The Oilers (32-22-7) will play in Los Angeles on Sunday.
–With files from 630 CHED’s Brenden Escott and Kyle Morris