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EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — The Minnesota Wild are quickly becoming the story of the young NHL season.
Kyle Brodziak scored in regulation and added the winner in the sixth round of the shootout as the Wild beat the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 on Wednesday night to move into first place in the NHL standings.
Devin Setoguchi also scored in regulation for the Western Conference’s Wild (15-7-3), who jumped past Eastern Conference-leading Pittsburgh with their seventh win in nine games. Niklas Backstrom made 28 saves for the win.
Brodziak, traded to Minnesota by Edmonton at the 2009 NHL draft, has had a knack of coming back to haunt his former team.
“I don’t know why that happens, but it feels good,” he said.
The Wild lost forwards Cal Clutterbuck and Darrol Powe in the game, but still managed to charge to victory despite being short-handed on the bench.
“You’re down 2-0, and a couple of guys are hurt. Those are games that are sometimes easy to just pack it in,” Brodziak said. “It makes it that much harder to stick with the game plan and keep pushing forward. It’s a testament to the guys how everyone stuck together. We didn’t break and it paid off.”
Setoguchi is enjoying the Wild’s lofty perch, but he knows it is still very early. Staying on top will be quite a challenge.
“We are just over a quarter of the way through, so we have a long ways to go,” he said. “It is nice to see your name there but we know that teams only get better throughout the year. We can only take it game by game.”
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle had goals for the Oilers (12-10-3), who have lost three straight. Nikolai Khabibulin stopped 27 shots.
“They scored a goal in the second period on us and we went, ‘Uh-oh’ and backed off instead of going after them,” Edmonton coach Tom Renney said. “This is our rink. We have to win here, and in the second period, especially, we were just too easy to play against.”
One bright spot for the Oilers was that Nugent-Hopkins, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 draft, moved into a tie for fourth in NHL scoring with 27 points.
“Keep it going, kid,” Renney said. “It’s remarkable. The beauty is that Edmonton Oiler fans get to watch this. This is a classic example of what can come when you decide to rebuild.”
Bad blood from the previous meeting between the teams created a rough start in the rematch. Edmonton’s Darcy Hordichuk and Minnesota’s Brad Staubitz dropped the gloves at 2:12 in an anticipated fight.
Edmonton took a 1-0 lead at 9:58 when defenseman Andy Sutton made a beautiful pass from the half boards to Nugent-Hopkins, who scored his 11th goal.
The Oilers doubled their advantage with a power-play goal 5:10 into the second when Shawn Horcoff tipped Nugent-Hopkins’ pass to Eberle, who buried a backhand.
The Wild cut the deficit to 2-1 at 11:31 off a giveaway by Oilers defenseman Tom Gilbert. Setoguchi tipped in a pass from Mikko Koivu, who extended his point streak to seven games — tying a career high.
The Wild tied it 3:20 later during a power play as Brodziak, a former Oilers player, had his rebound bounce off his body and dribble under Khabibulin. The play stood after a video review.
Edmonton had a chance to regain the lead seven minutes into the third, but Horcoff couldn’t get control of a breakaway pass in time to make a move on Backstrom.
Minnesota had a power play for the final 1:53 of overtime, after Ryan Smyth was penalized for tripping, but Edmonton’s penalty killers limited the Wild’s chances.
NOTES: It was the fourth of six meetings between the teams this season. The Wild won the first two games in shootouts before Edmonton won last week in Minnesota, breaking a 17-game losing streak there. … Sutton returned from a groin injury, taking the place of rookie Colton Teubert. … Edmonton was without Taylor Hall (shoulder), Cam Barker, Ben Eager, Corey Potter and Anton Lander, who is out because of an infection following a cut on his hand. Ryan O’Marra was recalled from Oklahoma City of the AHL to take Lander’s place on the fourth line. … Minnesota’s Marek Zidlicky and Guillaume Latendresse are out indefinitely because of concussions. D Justin Falk (back) is day-to-day. … Minnesota made one lineup move, replacing forward Casey Wellman with Colton Gilles.