NHL Game Summary - Minnesota at Edmonton|
(Thursday, December 22nd)
Final Score: Edmonton 4, Minnesota 1
Edmonton, AB (Sports Network) - Jordan Eberle scored a pair of goals as
Edmonton tripped up Minnesota, 4-1, at Rexall Place.
Ryan Smith also lit the lamp for the Oilers, who halted a four-game losing
streak ahead of a seven-game road trip which begins in Vancouver on Monday.
Nikolai Khabibulin stopped 30-of-31 shots to post his 11th win of the season.
"Every win brings you some kind of relief. I didn't care what the score ended
up being, I just wanted to be able to say that we played well," said Oilers
head coach Tom Renney.
Dany Heatley's third-period score was the sole offense for the Wild, who
suffered their sixth straight defeat.
Niklas Backstrom was tagged for all four goals on 31 shots.
Edmonton provided all the margin Khabibulin needed within a span of 2:39 late
in the first period.
Eberle put the Oilers on the board with the advantage, as he picked up an
errant clear from Minnesota defenseman Clayton Stoner, moved into the slot and
ripped a shot home at 15:57.
At 18:36, the home team's lead doubled when Smyth followed up his own
wraparound and tucked the puck inside the right post.
Taylor Hall was then awarded a penalty shot with 12 seconds left in the first
period after he was dragged down from behind inside the Minnesota blue line on
a breakaway. The free chance went for naught as the young winger missed into
Lennart Petrell made it 3-0 with 1:40 played in the second on a blistering
drive from the left wing while Edmonton was shorthanded, and Eberle notched
his second of the contest on a backhander in front at 2:56 of the second.
Heatley finally solved Khabibulin at 7:57 of the third period but Minnesota
had nothing left in the tank.
"It's very apparent that we've got a long way to go. And what we've got to
understand is the league gets tougher," said Wild head coach Mike Yeo about
Minnesota's hot start giving way to poorer play. "As the year goes on teams
get better and we better not only be keeping pace but setting the pace for
Edmonton earned its first home win over Minnesota since April 5, 2010,
snapping a five-game losing skid...Khabibulin, who improved to 11-8-3,
surpassed his win total from last year, when he finished 10-32-4...Hall's
unsuccessful penalty shot brought this season's total to 11 goals in 25
12/23 01:18:58 ET