SUN Hockey Pool

Oilers pull one out with quick pair in the third

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 11:33 AM ET

It took awhile, but the Edmonton Oilers ditched their act as gracious hosts and yanked the welcome mat from beneath the Minnesota Wild when they came calling at Rexall Place last night.

Matt Greene tied the game in the third before Jarret Stoll and Shawn Horcoff scored 14 seconds apart for the winner and insurance goals.

That did the trick as the Oilers, who'd lost five straight games to Minnesota in their own rink, chased the Wild out of the joint with a 3-1 win.

No hospitality this night.

"We had some good opportunities in the first two periods," said Oilers coach Craig MacTavish after the Wild relinquished a lead after 40 minutes for the first time in eight games this season.

"I was happy with the way we were playing and executing through the first two periods, but I didn't want to be standing here at the end of the game saying how happy I was after losing.

"We capitalized and took advantage of the chances we had."

The Oilers vaulted into sole-possession of top spot in the Northwest and third place in the Conference at 17-12-2, while the Wild slipped two points back. losing for the sixth straight time away from home.

Stoll got the winner, making it points in six straight games, when he top-shelved a puck past Manny Fernandez 15:22 into the third.

The rally that started with Greene - that's not a miss-print - who got the Oilers on the scoreboard 3:33 into the final frame with his first goal in 58 NHL games. A big one and a beauty it was.

"It's great," Greene said. "It's good to contribute. That's what everybody in this room wants to do. It was fun being able to start off the rally and get things rolling.

"It's probably a one-and-done situation," laughed Greene, who looked like he knew what he was doing, but needed work on the celebration.

"I was definitely stunned. I didn't know what to do."

When Todd White took a pass from Pierre-Marc Bouchard and sifted Minnesota's first shot past Dwayne Roloson 3:59 in, the Wild had the start they were looking for.

Then came Fernandez, Roloson's former crease mate with the Wild - he got Minnesota to the second intermission up by one, doing his best work with a pad save on Horcoff in tight shorthanded.

Greene's goal the stage for Stoll and then Horcoff, who added insurance with his first goal in five games at 15:36 after he stripped the puck from Bouchard and made no mistake.

"Oh, my God," said Horcoff, asked if anybody would've predicted that Greene would ignite the comeback. "Do they make odds for guys like that?

"It was a pretty goal and a great play off the face-off by Stolly.

"For his first one, it's something he's going to remember. Anytime you score your first goal, you want it to mean something."

SMYTH ON MEND: Ryan Smyth, out six games with a broken right thumb suffered Dec. 2 against Columbus, is on the mend and there's a possibility he could be ready to play in the Oilers final two games before Christmas.

Latest X-rays show the bone is healing and Smyth has had the cast on his hand cut down, giving him more flexibility around the wrist.


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