Eberle scores 2 goals, Oilers beat Wild 4-1
EDMONTON, Alberta – Jordan Eberle scored two goals and the Edmonton Oilers snapped a four-game losing skid by beating the Minnesota Wild 4-1 Thursday night.
Ryan Smyth and Lennart Petrell also scored for the Oilers, who have only won three of their last 12 games.
Dany Heatley scored for the Wild, who have now lost six games in a row since a seven-game winning streak.
Eberle's first goal came via a tremendous individual effort on the power play nearly 16 minutes into the game. He stopped a clearing attempt, made a toe-drag move to throw off a defender and then sent a wrist shot past Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom.
Smyth made it 2-0 with a minute and a half left in the first, attempting a wrap-around shot and taking a couple more whacks to dislodge the puck from between Backstrom's skate and the post and into the net.
Smyth's 14th goal of the season ended an 11-game scoring drought.
The Oilers had a chance to go up by three goals with 12 seconds left in the first when Taylor Hall was awarded a penalty shot after being tripped up on a breakaway attempt by Stoner. Backstrom made a pad save to turn Hall's attempt away.
Edmonton out-shot Minnesota 20-3 in the first.
The Oilers went up 3-0 early in the second period as Petrell stripped the puck from Jeff Taffe and picked the top corner with a slapshot for a short-handed goal. Less than two minutes later, Eberle picked up a loose puck in the slot and beat Backstrom with a backhander.
Eight minutes into the second the Oilers had four goals while the Wild only had four shots.
Khabibulin kept the Wild off the board with a terrific glove save in tight on Pierre-Marc Bouchard with five minutes to play in the second.
Minnesota had a chance to get into the game early in the third when Petrell was assessed a major for checking from behind because he gave Marek Zidlicky a shove as he was heading into the boards.
The Oilers killed off the lengthy penalty, but just seconds later the Wild ruined Khabibulin's shutout bid as Heatley rifled a shot into the net for his 10th of the season.
Surprisingly, the final shots were an even 31-31.
NOTES: It was the fifth of six meetings between the Northwest Division rivals, who will close out their season series on Dec. 29. The Wild won three of the first four, all in shootout sessions. ... Oilers F Ales Hemsky missed the game with the flu. He was replaced on the Oilers' second line by Sam Gagner. Petrell drew in to take Hemsky's place in the lineup. ... The Wild hoped to have captain Mikko Koivu back in time for the game, but he instead missed his fourth game with a leg injury. To fill in for him, the Wild recalled Taffe. ... Minnesota has had a string of injuries at F, also missing Devin Setoguchi (ankle), Casey Wellman (wrist) and Guillaume Latendresse (post-concussion symptoms). ... With the World Junior Hockey Championships in town following Christmas, the Oilers will head on a seven-game road trip starting Monday. They'll face the Canucks, Wild, Islanders, Blackhawks, Sabres, Blues and Stars.