NHL: Oilers spill sluggish Wild
ST. PAUL -- Edmonton Oilers left winger Benoit Pouliot came back to haunt his first NHL team on Tuesday, scoring twice in a 2-1 win over the Minnesota Wild.
ST. PAUL - Edmonton Oilers left winger Benoit Pouliot came back to haunt his first NHL team on Tuesday, scoring twice in a 2-1 win over the Minnesota Wild.
Pouliot, now with his sixth NHL team after the Wild made him the fourth overall pick in the 2005 draft, recorded his third multi-goal game of the season, snapping a two-game losing streak by the Oilers. Goalie Ben Scrivens had 33 saves for Edmonton.
Minnesota got a goal from left winger Thomas Vanek and outshot the Oilers by a wide margin, but could not get the equalizer, suffering a rare recent loss. The Wild were on an 11-1-1 run since the All-Star break prior to the meeting with the Oilers.
Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk, who began the previous season in Edmonton and had beaten his former team five times this season - three times with the Arizona Coyotes and twice with Minnesota - had 17 saves.
It was the first game the Oilers have played this season without right winger Nail Yakupov, who was scratched with a groin injury.
Minnesota had the best chance early, as center Erik Haula was sprung on a shorthanded breakaway, only to have his backhand shot glance off the right side goalpost.
Instead, it was the Oilers making the first mark on the scoreboard near the midway point of the first. Pouliot made a quick move around a Wild defender as he entered the offensive zone, then flipped a pass to right winger Jordan Eberle and went hard to the net. Eberle gave the puck right back to Pouliot at the top of the crease for a tap-in goal, as Dubnyk tried and failed to get across the goalmouth in time.
Vanek tied the score during a scramble in front of the Edmonton net. Scrivens stopped two Wild shots, but center Jordan Schroeder passed a loose puck from behind the net to Vanek at the top of the crease. Vanek buried the shot for his 13th goal of the year.
Pouliot scored his second goal barely 30 seconds later, taking a pass from Eberle again, and firing a high shot past Dubnyk from the left circle.
The Wild dominated long stretches of the middle period but missed on their best chance to tie the game when Vanek was denied by Scrivens on a breakaway from the blue line.
The Wild, who had beaten the Oilers 4-0 in Edmonton on Friday night, sent 15 shots toward Scrivens in the final period, to no avail.
NOTES: On Tuesday, the Wild placed D Jared Spurgeon on injured reserve retroactive to Feb. 18, when he was struck in the face by a puck during Minnesota’s 3-2 overtime win in Calgary. ... Oilers LW Tyler Pitlick returned to the ice for a light skate on Tuesday in Edmonton, but is not expected to return to game action for at least a few more weeks. He suffered a lacerated spleen after an open-ice check in a Dec. 31 game in Calgary. ... The Oilers return to Canada after Tuesday’s game and get a few days off before starting a two-game homestand Saturday when they host the St. Louis Blues. ... The Wild are on the road for four of their next five games, starting Thursday night with a potential first-round playoff preview when they visit the Nashville Predators.