NHL Game Summary - Edmonton at Minnesota
(Friday, November 25th)
Final Score: Edmonton 5, Minnesota 2
St. Paul, MN (Sports Network) - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins netted a pair of goals, leading the Edmonton Oilers to a 5-2 win over the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center.
Taylor Hall ,Shawn Horcoff and Ryan Smyth all had a goal and an assist, and Jordan Eberle chipped in with two assists for the Oilers, who won in Minnesota for the first time since January 16, 2007, losing the previous 17 trips.
Nikolai Khabibulin made 30 saves.
"He was very good, good and square," Oilers head coach Tom Renney said of his goaltender's effort. "I think he saw the effort of his team in front of him. We had a nice two-goal lead and the last thing he wanted was to be the reason for the loss."
Devin Setoguchi and Pierre-Marc Bouchard scored for Minnesota, which had its five-game winning streak halted.
Josh Harding gave up four goals on 28 shots to take the loss.
With the game tied at two, the resilient Oilers took the lead for good at the 15:29 mark of the second stanza when Tom Gilbert fired a shot from the point that hit bodies in front and fell to Hall, who buried it into the open net from the side of the cage.
"They have a lot of young talent, they bring it," Harding said. "They're fast, they get pucks deep and they work the cycle really well. I think that's one of the strengths of their team."
Edmonton pushed the lead to 4-2 at 7:28 of the third period when Ales Hemsky brought the puck behind the net and spun back, causing his defender to lose his edge. Armed with time and space, Hemsky fed Horcoff, and the Oilers' captain fired the puck high over the right shoulder of Harding.
Nugent-Hopkins put home an empty-netter for his second goal of the game with 1:23 remaining to account for the final score.
Edmonton struck first 5:15 into the opening period as Eberle sped through the neutral zone and down the left wing with a defender on his back. The skilled winger found Smyth, who tapped it home from in close for a 1-0 lead.
The Oilers upped their lead to 2-0 with a power-play tally at 16:29 of the first frame when Nugent-Hopkins poked the puck through the legs of Harding amid a mass of bodies in the crease.
The Wild answered with a power play goal of their own with only 10 seconds to go in the frame. Skating 5-on-3, Jared Spurgeon fired a shot from the right point that was stopped by Khabibulin, but the rebound eventually came to Setoguchi at the side of the net and the former Shark roofed it to bring his team within one.
Strong backchecking led to the tying goal for the Wild at the nine-minute mark of the second period. Bouchard pickpocketed Nugent-Hopkins in the neutral zone, moved in on goal and slid the puck through the five-hole of Khabibulin.
The Wild are 13-4-2 against the Western Conference this season...Minnesota has played on Black Friday every season since it entered the NHL in 2000, going 7-3-1 in those games...Bouchard has 40 points in 40 career games against the Oilers...Both teams went 1-for-4 on the power play...The Oilers will head to Denver to battle the Avalanche on Saturday, while Minnesota will travel to Calgary to face the Flames on Sunday.
11/25 19:34:03 ET