Third-period goals by Eric Staal, Luke Kunin spark Wild past Oilers, 6-5

Sarah McLellan, Star Tribune (Minneapolis) on

Published in Hockey

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- In the aftermath of their recent 11-game point streak, the Wild didn't exactly look like a team that had climbed back into playoff contention let alone one that clicked for three straight weeks.

After getting overwhelmed by a quality team in Carolina to end the run, the Wild debuted arguably their flattest effort of the season Tuesday in a 3-2 shootout loss to Anaheim.

But the team took a step Thursday to resolve this identity crisis by shrugging off the Oilers, 6-5, at Xcel Energy Center as its three-game homestand continued, a result that extended the Wild's point streak on home ice to 11 games (8-0-3).

Overall, the Wild are 9-1-4 in their last 14.

Center Eric Staal, whose status was questionable after he left Tuesday's game with injury, broke a 4-4 tie at 15 minutes, 13 seconds of the third period, wiring in a puck through traffic.

Winger Luke Kunin tacked on another 1:08 later, the eventual game-winner, with James Neal flipping the puck in 49 seconds left.


Before then, the Oilers scored twice in the third period to overcome a two-goal hole.

Down 4-2, the Oilers started to rally at 10:43 when Gaetan Haas deflected in an Adam Larsson shot. Only 2:06 after that, NHL leading scorer Connor McDavid slotted the puck into an open side.

Edmonton also opened the scoring, capitalizing 8 minutes into the first on a backhander by Oscar Klefbom after the defenseman pinched into a wide-open slot.

But just 4:35 later, the Wild tied it when defenseman Carson Soucy's point shot clipped winger Jordan Greenway in front of the net and bounced over goalie Mike Smith. The goal gave Greenway three points in two games vs. Edmonton this season.


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