Graovac's 2-goal night powers Wild past Oilers
Edmonton's 3-game winning streak comes to an end
Many things have improved for the Edmonton Oilers this season, but their record against the Minnesota Wild is not one of them.
Tyler Graovac scored twice as the Wild won their third game in a row, defeating the Oilers 5-2 on Tuesday. The win gave the Wild the three-game season sweep and improved their record to 13-3-1 in their last 17 meetings with the Oilers, and 13-1-0 in Edmonton since Oct. 21, 2010.
"It was catastrophic mistakes, often just by individuals," said Oilers head coach Todd McLellan of the loss. "We were flat, we weren't good around the net. They were the better team."
Jason Zucker, Zach Parise and Chris Stewart also scored for the Wild (33-11-5), who have gone 22-3-2 since the beginning of December.
"We wanted to start this road trip off on the right foot," Stewart said. "We have four big road games and this was a hot team here. It was a good test and we answered the bell."
Kuemper gets rare start
Darcy Kuemper got a rare start in net for the Wild and picked up his sixth win, making 41 stops and even adding an assist.
"It's been kind of funny, because I've felt good, especially lately and sometimes the result just hasn't been there," he said. "It was nice to feel good in there and keep the score down. I just have to keep working and the guys made it pretty easy on me tonight."
Anton Slepyshev and Leon Draisaitl responded for the Oilers (28-16-8), who saw a three-game winning streak come to an end.
"When you are giving up that many point-blank shots in front of the net, I don't care what team you are playing or who you have in net, you are not going to win hockey games," said Oilers forward Milan Lucic. "You can add up the distance from the net of all their goals put together and I don't think it goes from the goal line to the blue line."
There was plenty of pressure by both teams in the early running, but Minnesota struck first with seven minutes left in the first period as a clearing attempt hit Graovac in the leg and he manoeuvred it past Oilers goalie Cam Talbot in tight.
The Wild made it 2-0 with just 3.6 seconds left in the opening frame when Draisaitl coughed up the puck in front of the net to Zucker, who blasted a shot that trickled through Talbot's legs and in for his 15th goal of the season.
Parise got to his own rebound and chipped a backhand shot over the Oilers goalie as Minnesota added to its lead four minutes into the second period.
Edmonton looked to have found some life with nine minutes left in the second on a Slepyshev deflection past Kuemper, but the Wild came right back less than two minutes later to make it 4-1 when Mikael Granlund set up Graovac for his second of the game and sixth goal of the season. Talbot got the hook at that point, with backup Laurent Brossoit coming in.
Edmonton cut back into the lead with three minutes left in the second period, when Draisiatl scored his 20th of the season on a power play one-timer, extending his personal point streak to seven games.
It was a 5-2 game five minutes into the third, when Stewart faked a pass on a two-on-one and then blasted a shot past Brossoit.
The Wild play the second game of a four-game road trip in Calgary on Wednesday. The Oilers launch a three-game road swing in Nashville on Thursday.