Oilers extend Wild’s losing streak with 4-1 win
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Darnell Nurse gave reeling Edmonton an early boost by scoring 2:15 into the first period, and the Oilers stopped a six-game losing streak with a 4-1 victory Thursday night over Minnesota that sent the Wild to their fourth straight loss.
Ty Rattie, Leon Draisaitl and Zack Kassian also scored, Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins each had two assists, and Cam Talbot made 35 saves for the Oilers, who were just 5-13-2 in their previous 20 games.
Joel Eriksson Ek had the Wild’s lone goal 2:50 into the third period , an encouraging sign for a team that just lost captain, center and defensive stalwart Mikko Koivu to a season-ending knee injury . Eriksson Ek was recalled from the AHL to take Koivu’s place.
Minnesota’s momentum was wiped out less than three minutes later. Jason Zucker checked Edmonton defenseman Kris Russell hard and sent him hurtling face first into the left post, angering the Oilers and drawing an interference penalty the Wild disputed. Twenty seconds into the power play, Draisaitl knocked in a pass from Alex Chiasson to push the lead back to two.
Kassian, who also had an assist, scored on an empty-netter after the puck skipped out to him following a denial of Mikael Granlund on the other end by Talbot.
With a snowstorm swirling outside all day and keeping some fans away, the energy in the arena was already substandard. Then the Oilers took the lead on the first shot on goal of the game, when Nurse stepped into a pass from McDavid and let the puck fly from the top of the left circle past goalie Devan Dubnyk’s glove.