EDMONTON – Andrew Cogliano scored as the Edmonton Oilers continued their impressive push for a playoff spot, defeating the Minnesota Wild 5-3 on Monday night.
Curtis Glencross, Dustin Penner and Kyle Brodziak also scored for Edmonton while Nick Schultz, Sean Hill and Todd Fedoruk replied for Minnesota.
It was the sixth win in their last seven games and 12th in their last 15 for the Oilers (39-33-5), who leapt past idle Nashville into ninth place in the Western Conference. They remained three points back of eighth place Colorado, which won 2-0 at home against Calgary on Monday.
The Wild (40-28-9) have now lost three of their last four but stayed in the Northwest Division lead, one point up on Calgary.
Edmonton got off to an blistering start, scoring three goals on their first four shots on Minnesota goalie Nicklas Backstrom.
The Oilers kicked off the scoring just two minutes in as Wild defender Martin Skoula pushed Edmonton’s Zack Stortini into Backstrom, giving Glencross an easy goal into an open net.
Edmonton made it 2-0 at 4:44 as the Wild got caught on a bad change, giving up a two-on-one break. Robert Nilsson fed it to Cogliano who outwaited Backstrom as he slid across the crease.
Just 18 seconds later it was a three-goal Oiler edge as Ales Hemsky hit Penner in full flight, and he fought off Brent Burns before putting home a backhand goal.
Josh Harding came in to replace Backstrom in the Minnesota net.
The move ended up paying immediate dividends as the Wild caught a break just 39 seconds after the third Edmonton goal as Nick Schultz’s point shot went off defenceman Ladislav Smid, and past Oiler starter Dwayne Roloson.
Edmonton went ahead 4-1 four minutes into the second as Harding made a clumsy clearing attempt. Brodziak picked it off and patiently waited the Wild goalie to go down before scoring.
A minute later it was a two-goal game again as Wild blue-liner Hill blasted a bullet from the point that went through a sea of legs and into the Edmonton net for his first of the season.
But Edmonton continued to pour on the pressure and got another one before the midway point of the period as Sam Gagner made a great feed in front to Cogliano, who snuck his second of the game between Harding’s skate and the post on the backhand.
Minnesota got one back seven-and-a-half minutes into the third just as a power play expired when Fedoruk tipped a Martin Skoula point shot past Roloson.
The Oilers and the Wild will play part two of a home-and-home affair on Wednesday in Minnesota.
Notes. It was the seventh meeting between the two teams. The Wild led the seasonal series 4-2 coming in Minnesota forward Mark Parrish dressed after being a healthy scratch the two previous games after being held scoreless in his past nine games. Pavol Demitra sat out. Wild centre Eric Belanger, who suffered a broken toe March 7 in Atlanta, made his return to the lineup Edmonton’s Marc Pouliot continues to play much better in his most recent call-up to the Oilers. During his first stint early in the season, he was held pointless through nine games. In his last 10 games during his latest call-up, Pouliot has a goal and five assists for six points The Canadian national anthem was sung by the daughter of three-time world champion Canadian curler Dave Nedohin, five-year-old Halle.