Koivu, Wild break through with 4-2 win over Oilers
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Wild weren't discouraged after a scoreless second period, coming up empty despite an astounding 18-0 shots-on-goal advantage.
They dominated the Edmonton Oilers for so long that this win was bound to come.
Mikko Koivu's goal 9 seconds into the third period snapped a tie and sparked the Wild to a 4-2 victory over the Oilers on Sunday.
"It might've been a little frustrating when you're not scoring, but when you have 40-plus shots you have to believe you're going to get rewarded," said Koivu, who also had two assists to help the Wild improve to 7-3-1 in their last 11 games and 8-2-1 at home this season.
The Oilers went 23:35 without a shot after Magnus Paajarvi's goal tied the game late in the first period. Minnesota outshot Edmonton 43-21 for the night, and goalie Niklas Backstrom raised his career record at home against the Oilers to 17-0. The Wild have won 19 of their last 20 games here against their orange-and-blue division rivals, outscoring them 69-32.
"I really liked the start of our game, and I really liked the finish," Wild coach Mike Yeo said, "and I really liked the part in between too."
Jared Spurgeon and Charlie Coyle each had a goal and an assist for the Wild, whose 43 shots were a season best.
"We were pretty confident. That's what you want, to get shots on this goalie and keep going," Coyle said. "Sooner or later we knew it was going to go in."
The Wild had a scare with 7:04 remaining when Koivu's pass behind the net skipped off Sam Gagner's skate and ricocheted toward the crease at defenseman Ryan Suter. The puck glanced off Suter's stick as he tried to swat it away and slid past Backstrom to pull the Oilers within 3-2.
But the Wild didn't flinch. On a power play after a goaltender-interference penalty by Jeff Petry, Koivu sent a slap shot up the middle that Dany Heatley deflected past goalie Devan Dubnyk. Up next for the Wild is a game Tuesday at Chicago, off to a record-setting 19-0-3 start. This was a good way to get ready for that.
The Oilers, outshot 30-17 in a 4-2 loss at St. Louis on Friday, are 1-2-1 on this nine-game road trip they started a week ago. Coach Ralph Krueger lamented his young team's unwillingness to look for the "simple scoring chances" and take more pucks into traffic around the net.
"That's something I believe everybody has to learn, no matter what stage you're in," Krueger said.
The Oilers didn't get a shot on goal until more than 7½ minutes elapsed in the game.