Oilers show they're more competent than cursed

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 26, 2011 - 8:52 AM

The Xcel Energy Center hex was no more after Edmonton, with its stable of gifted high draft picks, ended its 17-game losing streak in St. Paul.

hide

Edmonton Oilers' Ryan Smyth (94) shoots the puck under Minnesota Wild's goalie Josh Harding, left, for a goal as the Wild's Nate Prosser, rear, defends during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Friday, Nov. 25, 2011, in St. Paul, Minn.

Photo: Tom Olmscheid, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

It's impressive the Edmonton Oilers didn't throw their sticks and gloves in the air, and it's a shame NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman couldn't have been in Minnesota to present some kind of trophy.

The "so-called curse," as Wild coach Mike Yeo called it, is over 58 months after it started.

The Wild's triumphant home streak over the Oilers ended at 17 games Friday with a 5-2 loss when Edmonton's young guns showed that this is a very different version of the Oilers than the one the Wild is accustomed to dominating.

They're fast, they're brash and they're certainly explosive.

Ryan-Nugent Hopkins, the No. 1 pick in the 2011 draft, scored twice; Taylor Hall, the No. 1 pick in the 2010 draft, scored once and had an assist; and Jordan Eberle, the 22nd pick in the 2008 draft, had two assists.

"They've got a lot of young talent, and they bring it," said goalie Josh Harding, beaten four times on 28 shots.

"They're the real deal," added defenseman Justin Falk, who along with partner Nate Prosser was on the ice for three goals.

It was Edmonton's first victory in St. Paul since Jan. 16, 2007. In front of his friends and family, Tom Gilbert, the Oilers defenseman who hails from Bloomington, played in all 17 losses.

"Maybe we should have had champagne in the room," Gilbert said. "Biggest relief is we don't have to answer any more questions from you guys about our record here."

It was the Wild's first loss in six games, first home loss in seven and first loss to Edmonton in nine.

Even during the Wild's hot streak -- Friday's was only its third loss in the past 13 games -- the Wild has spotted teams leads and had to play catch-up. Seven times since Oct. 20 it's needed a big third period to win. The most recent example came Wednesday against Nashville.

"The Nashville game, you could be down a goal, but it was like, 'Man, we deserve better,' " Yeo said. "I'm not sure we had the same feeling tonight because of penalties we took or turnovers that we made or lack of attention to detail or even focus in our game.

"Sometimes you can flip the switch, but tonight we couldn't find it."

Ryan Smyth and Nugent-Hopkins built the Oilers a 2-0 first-period lead before Devin Setoguchi trimmed it to 2-1 with 10 seconds left in the period on a 5-on-3. The Wild eventually tied it when Oilers killer Pierre-Marc Bouchard picked Nugent-Hopkins' pocket and suavely scored on a breakaway.

But late in the second, Hall gave Edmonton its lead back when Harding couldn't hang on to Gilbert's point shot.

Niklas Backstrom is 20-2-1 all-time against the Oilers and 15-0 at home with a 1.19 goals-against average and .954 save percentage. But Harding got the start for the Wild because Backstrom became a father Wednesday.

"If we thought that Back's focus was completely there and we thought his energy was completely ready to go in this game, then we likely would have gone with him," said Yeo, who wasn't blaming Harding. "We were just flat-out not good enough around our net, an area where we're usually pretty good."

A big example came on Shawn Horcoff's goal that gave the Oilers a 4-2 lead in the third.

Prosser couldn't hold the offensive blue line, then Falk blew a tire as Ales Hemsky hit an open Horcoff, who lost Mikko Koivu. The Koivu-Dany Heatley-Setoguchi line was minus-3.

  • related content

  • Wild, Oilers rivals in line for more sparring next week

    Saturday November 26, 2011

    The Wild plays in Edmonton on Wednesday, and there could be fireworks if Brad Staubitz and Darcy Hordichuk are in their respective lineups.

  • Recap: Edmonton 5, Wild 2

    Friday November 25, 2011

    1. Jordan Eberle, Oilers: Often-overshadowed young gun had two assists, two shots and three hits.

  • Postgame: Oilers win in Minnesota for first time in 58 months

    Friday November 25, 2011

    The Wild lost to the Edmonton Oilers for the first time at home in 18 games.

  • Edmonton Oilers goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, (35), of Russia, stops the...

  • Edmonton Oilers' Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (93) gets an empty net goal as Mi...

  • EDMONTON 5, WILD 2

    Up next: 5 p.m. Sunday vs. Calgary at Xcel Energy Center • TV: FSN (100.3-FM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

St. Louis - LP: A. Wainwright 1 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: J. Locke 3
Texas - WP: C. Lewis 12 FINAL
Seattle - LP: E. Ramirez 4
Washington 3 Bottom 4th Inning
Philadelphia 2
Tampa Bay 3 Bottom 6th Inning
Baltimore 1
Boston 2 Bottom 7th Inning
Toronto 1
NY Yankees 8 Bottom 4th Inning
Detroit 1
Atlanta 3 Bottom 6th Inning
NY Mets 1
Chicago Cubs 2 Bottom 5th Inning
Cincinnati 6
Cleveland 1 Top 3rd Inning
Chicago WSox 0
Minnesota 0 Top 4th Inning
Kansas City 0
Oakland 0 Top 3rd Inning
Houston 0
Milwaukee - Y. Gallardo 8:10 PM
San Diego - O. Despaigne
Los Angeles - C. Kershaw 8:40 PM
Arizona - W. Miley
Miami - H. Alvarez 9:05 PM
LA Angels - H. Santiago
Colorado - F. Morales 9:15 PM
San Francisco - T. Hudson
Atlanta 8/28/14 5:00 PM
Jacksonville
Detroit 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Indianapolis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Kansas City 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Green Bay
NY Jets 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
St. Louis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 8/28/14 6:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Baltimore 8/28/14 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Denver 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Dallas
Minnesota 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tennessee
San Francisco 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 8/28/14 9:00 PM
San Diego
Seattle 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Oakland
(21) Texas A&M 8/28/14 5:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Wake Forest 8/28/14 6:02 PM
ULM
Boise State 8/28/14 7:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Temple 8/28/14 8:15 PM
Vanderbilt
Rutgers 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 8/28/14 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
Connecticut
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Houston
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
Arizona
Penn State 8/30/14 7:30 AM
UCF
Troy 8/30/14 11:00 AM
UAB
(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Virginia
Western Mich 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
(5) Ohio State 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Navy
Appalachian St 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Michigan
Ga Southern 8/30/14 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 8/30/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
West Virginia 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 8/30/14 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 8/30/14 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 8/30/14 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 8/30/14 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 8/30/14 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 8/30/14 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 8/30/14 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 8/30/14 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 8/30/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8/30/14 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 8/30/14 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 8/30/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
D.C. 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Montreal
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which local pro team are you most excited about?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close