SUN Hockey Pool

PP kills Wildly inept Oilers

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:51 AM ET

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Considering the Edmonton Oilers had not scored a goal in their previous three visits to the Xcel Energy Center, it seemed unlikely they were going to get three in one game.

So last night when the Minnesota Wild took a 3-0 first-period lead, it was pretty much lights out for the Oilers who went on to lose 5-2.

"Then we got desperate and gave up two more in the second," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish. "The only way you're going to play your way back into a 3-0 game is by not giving up anything.

"We ended up getting a couple of goals, but we gave up a couple of goals in the process on undisciplined plays and acts of desperation. You can commend the effort and the intensity, but you have to play this game with your head or you're going to get picked apart."

All three first-period goals for the Wild were scored on the power-play. They added another odd-man marker in the second period, finishing 4-for-10 with the man advantage.

"It was the abundance of the power plays that bothered me," MacTavish said.

GAVE UP SEAM

"The first goal, I think everybody in the building knew where the puck was going with the exception of our off-side defenceman. So we gave up the seam and the empty-net goal at the start, then took the next penalty and the penalty after that.

"It was more the five-on-five plays that resulted in the power plays that got me frustrated. We obviously couldn't handle their speed on the back end at times and we had to use our sticks and then we're killing penalties where we're on our heels in what was otherwise a pretty even period five-on-five."

The Wild got the all-important first goal when Mark Parrish slid in behind Denis Grebeshkov and tapped in a feed from Petteri Nummelin.

Pierre-Marc Bouchard added another power-play marker late in the period, blowing the puck past Oilers goaltender Dwayne Roloson following a scramble in front.

Nine seconds later, with Dick Tarnstrom in the box, Kurtis Foster scored his first goal of the season, firing a 50-footer from the wing that got through Roloson.

That was pretty much the end of Roloson's night. He was replaced by Mathieu Garon to start the second period.

Just over three minutes into the second period, Parrish scored his second and the Wild's fourth power-play goal of the night, getting a stick on a point-shot in front.

Dustin Penner pulled one back for the Oilers less than two minutes later, but Stephane Veilleux restored the four-goal lead, lifting a backhand over Garon off another mad scramble in front.

While the Wild were still exchanging high-fives on the bench, Shawn Horcoff scored the Oilers second goal after being sent in all alone by Robert Nilsson.

LIKE CHICKENS

"We're running around the ice like chickens with our heads cut off trying to extract a pound of vengeance and we're out of position and we ended up picking it out of the back of the net," MacTavish said.

"The third goal was disappointing too. It was a great shot, a perfect shot, it was 14-inches high on the stick side which is a tough shot to save, but that was disappointing that we didn't get a save there."

The Oilers went into the contest missing three regulars on the blue-line. Rookie Bryan Young was called up as an emergency replacement on Sunday, but ended up playing under three minutes.

"You look at the guys we have and who are playing in a situation where if we have a couple of guys back they're not playing in those situations," MacTavish said.

"Denis struggled on the penalty kill, but it's probably the first time he's played on the penalty kill.

"Then you're trying to integrate Tommy Gilber, who doesn't have any experience there, and Dick has struggled lots and is not a natural penalty killer.

"The way you survive is that you're disciplined and stay out of the box, but we weren't able to do that."


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