Oilers rebound to stop Wild
It took exactly one game for the Edmonton Oilers to get back into the good graces of their fans.
Three days after the team's most embarrassing loss of the season, the Oilers rebounded to defeat the Minnesota Wild 3-1 Friday night at Rexall Place.
Ales Hemsky, Ethan Moreau and Lubomir Vidnovsky scored for Edmonton (25-20-3), which moved past the Wild (24-21-3) for eighth place in the Western Conference.
Goaltender Dwayne Roloson redeemed himself with 29 saves, and centre Andrew Cogliano notched a pair of assists.
The Oilers, who had won three straight heading into the all-star break, were thumped 10-2 at the hand of the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday.
Buffalo chased Roloson out of the game, scoring three goals on their first eight shots.
"It was a big game for us tonight, there's no question," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish. "That 10-2 game was hanging over our heads quite substantially. It was good to see the team play so well tonight."
Edmonton fans predictably gave their team a rousing chorus of boos as the final seconds of the game ticked away.
There were no sarcastic chants against the Wild.
The Oilers jumped on Minnesota early with Roloson saving his best performance for the third, a period in which he turned aside 12 of 13 shots.
Roloson's only mistake was a goal by centre James Sheppard in the first minute of the final period.
Hemsky put Edmonton in front 1-0 at 5:51 of the first period for his 15th goal of the season.
The Oilers winger moved to the side of the Minnesota net and directed the puck to toward the crease that deflected off the stick of Wild defenceman Brent Burns and between the legs of goaltender Niklas Backstrom, who entered the game with a 10-0 record against Edmonton.
"He's played some incredible games against us," Cogliano said. "It's good to come out and play like we did and get him pulled. It's good for our confidence for sure."
Edmonton increased its advantage by a pair 11:03 later when a streaking Moreau sailed a wrist shot over Backstrom's blocker.
The Oilers continued to press in the second, taking advantage of some sloppy defensive coverage by the Wild to take a 3-0 lead just three minutes into the period while on the power play.
The Minnesota defence allowed Visnovksy to skate into the slot, where he converted a rebound by Backstrom.
Wild coach Jacques Lemaire had seen enough, yanking Backstrom from the Minnesota net in favour of backup Josh Harding. Backstrom surrendered three goals on 15 shots.
Roloson wasn't tested often in the second, but kept the Wild off the score-sheet with a terrific glove save on a shot by Minnesota defenceman Marek Zidlicky late in the period.
The Wild finally got to Roloson just 38 seconds into the third period when Sheppard fired his fourth goal following a shot off the left arm of the Edmonton netminder.
Roloson shut the door from there, denying Minnesota on its next two power plays.
"We really came out and battled," he said. "We bounced back from a game that we can hopefully all forget about now. We played a full 60 minutes (Friday), probably one of our best games that we have played all year. Our guys played great."
With files from Canadian Press