SUN Hockey Pool

Oilers lost in the Wild -- again

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:17 AM ET

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- For the Edmonton Oilers, Minnesota has always been a place where winning streaks go to die, regardless of how modest they may be.

Thursday night was no exception, as the Oilers went into their contest against the Minnesota Wild having won their previous two, but left extending their futility skid at the Xcel Energy Center to 12 games with a 4-2 loss.

"Penalties early on really changed the momentum of the game," said Oilers head coach Pat Quinn.

"Our first couple of shifts, I really didn't mind. That first shift we showed them we were coming to play and showed ourselves that we were coming to play, but then that first turnover by (Taylor) Chorney hurt us. Then you see the tide changing a little bit.

"But I thought after that, we did get going and we started to play. I thought we had some pretty good efforts from some people."

ARRIVED AT 4 A.M.

Having played at home the night before and arriving in Minnesota at 4 a.m. for their contest against the Wild Thursday morning, the Oilers understandably had difficulty finding their skating legs early on.

Had it not been for Jeff Deslauriers, this one was over early. The Edmonton Oilers goaltender, coming off his second shutout of the season Wednesday, was once again sharp Thursday.

Deslauriers turned aside all 15 he shots in he faced in the first period, keeping his team in the contest.

"I thought we created a lot of chances in the game, but we gave up a couple of tough goals again in the third," said Oilers centre Sam Gagner. "That's what it comes down to, so, hopefully, we can rebound from it and get a better effort for the next game."

The Oilers went into the contest having lost their previous 11 games at the Xcel Energy Center, all of them to goaltender Niklas Backstrom, who's been out of the lineup for the past two weeks with a back injury.

They looked sluggish for the first two periods of Thursday's contest, yet went into the third period even at 1-1.

Martin Havlat had opened the scoring in the second, pouncing on a rebound in front and firing it into essentially an open net.

The lead lasted just over five minutes at Gagner set up Mike Comrie for an easy tap-in with a cross-crease pass while on the power play.

The Wild regained the lead in the third period as Antti Miettinen lifted a centring pass over Deslauriers from in tight.

Pouliot tied the game coming out from behind the net and eventually stuffing the puck past by Wild starter Josh Harding .

Moments later J-F Jacques was robbed by Harding opening the door for Guillaume Latendresse's winner.

The Wild forward cut to the net and beat Deslauriers on the backhand. Havlat then added his second late in the third.

The Oilers best chance to tie the game came on a power play after Sam Gagner was tripped by Greg Zanon on a clear-cut breakaway.

The play was the definition of what a penalty shot is awarded for, but the Oilers were simply given a power play instead.

While on the man advantage, the Oilers buzzed the Wild net, but could not beat goaltender Anton Khudobin who had come in to replace Harding who was injured making the save on Jacques.

"He (referee) said I didn't have control of the puck and that might have been the case," Gagner said.

'GAVE US A CHANCE'

"I was just trying to push the puck through and I though (Harding) made a great play to knock the puck away and then kind of got me at the end.

"But the fact that there was a call gave us a chance. We created a lot on that power play and it's too bad we weren't able to score."


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