EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — The Minnesota Wild brought the NHL’s top power-play unit into their game against Edmonton. Then they beat the Oilers with their penalty-killing.
Minnesota held the Oilers to two goals in 10 power-play chances and got a pair of tallies from Kyle Brodziak in a 4-2 win over Edmonton on Thursday night. Guillaume Latendresse and Brent Burns also scored for the Wild (3-2-1), who won their second straight.
“It starts with your goaltender. He made some big saves for us,” Wild coach Todd Richards said of the penalty-killing. “Guys really paid the price blocking shots. It was a real team effort there. When you are killing that much, you end up having to use a lot of guys. There were all very effective in what they did, and it was the difference in the game.”
Brodziak, a former Oilers player, was glad to chip in on the score sheet.
“You want every night to be a good night, but it does feel good to contribute offensively to get the win,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what team it is, you just want to make a difference out there.”
Ales Hemsky and Shawn Horcoff scored for the Oilers (2-3-1), who have lost three in a row.
The best player on the ice for the Oilers was No. 1 overall draft pick Taylor Hall. Despite being held off the sheet, Hall was all over the place in the game, earning second star status.
Oilers coach Tom Renney has heard rumblings that Edmonton should return Hall to juniors. He hoped that performance will silence the critics.
“It was reassuring, no question, because he has been in question,” Renney said. “Although not internally at all. We believe in this kid. He hasn’t had a bad game yet. He certainly has had a best game now.
“He has proven to me from the get-go that he belongs in the National Hockey League. He just made another case for himself.”
Hall also felt he made a step forward, despite having only one point in five NHL games.
“Other than the score sheet I thought I put part of the things together I want to be putting together,” he said. “Even though we didn’t win, I thought it was a pretty good game we played.”
Minnesota scored first less than three minutes into the opening period as Brodziak — stoned on a 2-on-1 by Oilers starter Nikolai Khabibulin — was left alone at the side of the net to dig out the rebound for his first of the season.
Brodziak had his second of the game three minutes later, taking a backhand pass from Latendresse and firing in a shot.
The Oilers cut into the lead 12:42 into the first while on the power play. Defenseman Kurtis Foster earned his first point with the Oilers, sending the puck from the point to Hemsky, who feathered a shot past goalie Niklas Backstrom.
But just over a minute later, the Wild responded with a power-pay goal. Latendresse’s shot hit the stick of defender Jim Vandermeer and caromed into the net.
Edmonton had the bulk of the quality chances in the scoreless second period, outshooting the Wild 15-8. The best chance came with the man advantage as Backstrom got a piece of a point-blank shot by Sam Gagner, but the puck trickled just wide of the net.
The Oilers pulled within 3-2 at 8:09 of the third when Horcoff batted in a backhand from in tight. The goal came on Edmonton’s ninth power play.
Burns’ empty-net goal put the game away for Minnesota.
Notes: It was the second of six meetings between the teams this season. The Wild won the first in the series 4-2 last week. It was Minnesota’s 14th consecutive home win over the Oilers. … The Wild came into the game with the NHL’s best power play, scoring 11 of their 16 goals this season with the man advantage. … Backstrom has started all six games but is expected to sit on Friday at Vancouver so Jose Theodore can get his first start for Minnesota since signing with the Wild on Oct. 1.
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