The Minnesota Wild played its most complete game of the season, but needed a big third period to defeat the Edmonton Oilers 4-2 Sunday at the Xcel Energy Center.
Head coach Mike Yeo couldn’t have been happier with his team’s performance.
“I really liked the start to our game. I really liked the finish. And I really liked the part in between too,” he said. “That was a solid game.”
The Wild (11-8-2) dominated the second period so badly that the Oilers did not get a shot on goal and only attempted six shots (four were blocked and two missed the net). The Wild on the other hand got 18 on goal and attempted 27 (four were blocked and five missed the net).
The Oilers (8-9-4) shot-less streak ended early in the third period, but began late in the first and totaled over 23 minutes of hockey.
Despite having the best seat in the house to the spectacle, Backstrom made a few big saves in the third to continue his dominance over the Oilers at the Xcel Energy Center.
“(That’s) more for (the media) to think about it,” he said. “For a player, you go out there and play every team and every player the same way. You can’t too much about who you are going to play against.”
The Oilers were able to keep the Wild from opening the flood gates in the second period. But a goal by Mikko Koivu nine seconds into the third period got the Wild going.
The Wild’s captain later added two assists giving him 88 career games with at least two points.
Rookie Charlie Coyle, who has been playing on the team’s top line with Koivu and Zach Parise, recorded his first career goal at home and second of the season. That goal gave him a second point on the night and first career multi-point game of his career.
“We have to be strong on the puck and (Coyle) did that tonight,” Koivu said. “He has a good shot and works hard. He has a bright future ahead of him.”
The Wild got on the board first just two minutes and 37 seconds into the game when Jared Spurgeon fired a shot from the point through traffic for his second goal of the season.
Sam Gagner received a gift goal when Koivu’s attempted pass along the boards behind the net re-directed off his skate and to the from of the net. The puck then bounced off Ryan Suter’s stick and into the net off Backstrom’s back.
Dany Heatley added an insurance goal just two minutes and 13 seconds after the Oilers cut the Wild lead to one late in the third by getting a piece of Koivu’s shot from the point.
No. 3 – Charlie Coyle. The Wild forward had a goal and an assist.
No. 2 – Jared Spurgeon. The Wild defenseman recorded a goal and an assist.
No. 1 – Mikko Koivu, The Wild forward scored a goal and added two assists.
Edmonton 1 0 1 – 2
Minnesota 1 0 3 – 4
First Period – 1, Minnesota, Spurgeon 2 (Setoguchi, Cullen), 2:37. 2, Edmonton, Paajarvi 3 (Eberle, Petry), 17:58 Penalties – None.
Second Period – None. Penalties – N. Schultz, Edm (boarding), 6:16; Cullen, Min (tripping), 10:30; Bench, Edm (too many men on ice; served by Yakupov), 17:52.
Third Period – 3, Minnesota, Koivu 4 (Coyle, Spurgeon), :09. 4, Minnesota, Coyle 2 (Parise, Koivu), 6:09. 5, Edmonton, Gagner 7 (unassisted), 12:56. 6, Minnesota, Heatley 8 (Koivu, Suter), 15:09 (pp). Penalties – Petry, Edm (goaltender interference), 13:52.
Shots on goal – Edmonton 7-0-14 21. Minnesota 11-18-14 43.
Goalies – Edmonton, Dubnyk (39-43). Minnesota, Backstrom (19-21). A – 18,675. Referees – Dennis LaRue, Dave Jackson. Linesmen – Lonnie Cameron, Darren Gibbs.