EDMONTON – The Minnesota Wild continue to be one of the surprise success stories of the season.
Kyle Brodziak scored in regulation and added the winner in the sixth round of the shootout Wednesday as the Minnesota Wild moved into first place in the NHL’s overall standings with a 3-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers.
Devin Setoguchi also scored in regulation for the Wild (15-7-3), who jumped past Pittsburgh and have won seven of their last nine. Niklas Backstrom made 28 saves for the win.
Brodziak, who was traded to Minnesota by Edmonton at the NHL Entry Draft in 2009, has had a knack of coming back to haunt his former team that he can’t quite explain.
“I don’t know why that happens, but it feels good,” he said.
The Wild lost forwards Cal Clutterbuck and Darrol Powe in the game but were still able to mount a charge to win despite being short on the bench.
“You’re down 2-0 and a couple of guys are hurt. Those are games that are sometimes easy to just pack it in,” Brodziak said. “It makes it that much harder to stick with the game plan and keep pushing forward. It’s a testament to the guys how everyone stuck together tonight. We didn’t break and it paid off.”
Setoguchi said sitting in first overall is nice, but staying there will be a challenge.
“We are just over a quarter of the way through, so we have a long ways to go,” he said. “It is nice to see your name there but we know that teams only get better throughout the year. We can only take it game by game.”
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle had a goal and an assist apiece in reply for the Oilers (12-10-3), who are winless in three. Nikolai Khabibulin stopped 27 shots in defeat.
“They scored a goal in the second period on us and we went uh-oh and backed off instead of going after them,” said Edmonton head coach Tom Renney. “This is our rink. We have to win here, and in the second period, especially, we were just too easy to play against.”
One plus for the Oilers was that Nugent-Hopkins, the 2011 first overall draft pick, moved into a tie for fourth in NHL scoring with 27 points.
“Keep it going, kid,” Renney said. “It’s remarkable. The beauty is that Edmonton Oiler fans get to watch this. This is a classic example of what can come when you decide to rebuild.”
There was a rough start to the game as some bad blood from the previous meeting between the two teams last Friday erupted in an expected bout between Edmonton’s Darcy Hordichuk and Minnesota’s Brad Staubitz.
Edmonton opened the scoring at 9:58 of the first period as defenceman Andy Sutton made a beautiful pass from the half boards to Nugent-Hopkins, who fired home his 11th of the season.
The Oilers went up 2-0 on a power play five minutes into the second as Shawn Horcoff tipped a Nugent-Hopkins pass to Eberle, who buried a backhand.
The Wild pulled back to within a goal at 11:31 off a giveaway by Oilers defenceman Tom Gilbert as Setoguchi tipped in a pass from Mikko Koivu, who extended his point streak to a seven games to tie a career high.
The Wild then knotted the game 2-2 three minutes later on the power play as Brodziak, a former Oiler, had his own rebound bounce off his body and dribble under Khabibulin. The play stood after a video review.
Edmonton had a chance to regain its lead seven minutes into the third, but Horcoff couldn’t get control of a breakaway pass in time to make a move on Backstrom.
Neither team got much going in the scoreless third, sending the game to extra time.
Minnesota had a power play for the final 1:53 of overtime after Ryan Smyth was penalized for tripping, but Edmonton’s penalty killers did a great job limiting the Wild’s chances.
Both teams return to the ice Friday. The Oilers host to the Columbus Blue Jackets, while the Wild return home to face the New Jersey Devils before embarking on a five-game road trip.
Notes: It was the fourth of six meetings between the two teams this season. The Wild won the first two games in shootouts before Edmonton won last week in Minnesota, breaking a 17-game losing streak as the visitor in their building. … Sutton returned from a groin injury, taking the place of rookie Colton Teubert. … Edmonton was without Taylor Hall (out 2-4 weeks with ashoulder injury), Cam Barker, Ben Eager, Corey Potter and Anton Lander, out with an infection following a cut on his hand. Ryan O’Marra was recalled from the Oklahoma City Barons to take Lander’s place on the fourth-line. … Marek Zidlicky and Guillaume Latendresse are both out indefinitely with concussions for the Wild, while defenceman Justin Falk is day-to-day with a back injury. … Minnesota made one lineup move, replacing Casey Wellman with Colton Gilles.