EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — Mike Yeo is gone and so is much of the weight off the Minnesota Wild players.
Matt Dumba, Thomas Vanek and Mikael Granlund each had a goal and an assist and Minnesota beat the Edmonton Oilers 5-2 on Thursday night to win its third straight under interim coach John Torchetti.
Jason Pominville and Charlie Coyle scored for the Wild, and Darcy Kuemper made 31 saves. Minnesota had lost 13 of 14 games under former coach Yeo before his firing Saturday night.
“It’s a world of difference, it feels like,” Coyle said. “All of sudden we feel good about ourselves, our confidence is growing each game and it’s a huge road trip for us.”
Kuemper said there is a completely different feel in his team’s dressing room since Yeo’s dismissal.
“I think it’s a fresh start for everyone. A lot of guys had a lot of negative things going on and it’s almost like a new season in a sense,” he said.
“It’s good, we’re playing good hockey right now and we’re getting rewarded for it. It’s nice to see the smiles in everyone’s faces again and having some smiles coming to the rink again makes it a lot easier. Just the way we’re working for each other right now and cheering each other on, it’s contagious and we’re getting a lot of success.”
Connor McDavid and Nail Yakupov scored for the Oilers, and Cam Talbot had 22 saves. Edmonton has lost three straight and six of its last seven games.
“When losses start to pile up there is always going to be that sense of frustration,” Talbot said. “We just have to keep working, pushing forward and focus on doing the little things right.”
Minnesota started the scoring 10 1/2 minutes in on the power play when a big rebound came out to Pominville, who ripped a shot past Talbot.
Oilers made it 1-1 just 28 seconds later when McDavid turned on the jets to take Benoit Pouliot’s pass and calmly tuck it into the net past Kuemper. It was the rookie’s 10th goal in 22 games this season.
The Wild regained the lead with 7 minutes left in the opening period when Dumba’s pass attempt went in off the skate of defender Darnell Nurse on another power play.
The Oilers tied it again 4 minutes later when Yakupov picked off a pass and then picked the top corner on Kuemper.
Minnesota vaulted ahead once more 5 minutes into the second. Vanek took a feed on the doorstep and scored his 16th of the season.
The Wild made it 4-2 with 4 minutes left in the second. Granlund fished out a rebound in front of the net and sent it past Talbot.
Coyle got a late empty-netter.
NOTES: Minnesota won the only previous meeting between the two teams this season and now has a six-game winning streak in games played in Edmonton. … Missing from the Oilers lineup were Oscar Klefbom (lower body), Andrew Ference (hip), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (hand), Eric Gryba (knee) and Zack Kassian (flu). With Gryba out for a month, the Oilers called up Nikita Nikitin from the AHL, but he was a healthy scratch. … Out for the Wild were Jonas Brodin (foot) and Marco Scandella (undisclosed). … The Oilers next play host to the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday. The Wild are off until Sunday, when they return home to play Chicago.
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