EDMONTON – Eric Belanger had a career-high four assists as the Minnesota Wild snapped a two-game losing skid, spoiling the Edmonton Oilers start to a six-game homestand with a 4-2 victory on Thursday night.
Martin Skoula, Marian Gaborik, Kurtis Foster and Mark Parrish scored for Minnesota while Jarret Stoll had both Oiler goals.
It was the first victory in six tries on the road for the Wild (10-6-2), now 8-0-1 in their last nine encounters with Edmonton.
The loss snapped a two-game winning streak for the Oilers (7-11-1) who remained two points back of both Calgary and Vancouver for third place in the Northwest Division.
Minnesota got the game’s first goal just 4:45 in as Skoula’s point shot nicked Edmonton defender Allan Rourke in front and redirected past Oilers starter Dwayne Roloson.
The Wild emerged with a 1-0 lead after the first thanks in large part to goaltender Niklas Backstrom, stopping 16 Edmonton shots.
Edmonton tied the game 1-1 five minutes into the second as Ales Hemsky stole a puck from Backstrom, took it around the net and took a shot that bounced out to Stoll. His backhand beat a diving Backstrom for just his second goal of the season.
Stoll got his third of the campaign six minutes later while shorthanded as Mikko Koivu lost the puck at the point and Stoll broke away with it. With Foster draped all over him, Stoll was still able to slide the puck between Backstrom’s legs.
But the Wild tied the game back up on the same power play just 48 seconds later as Belanger made a nifty backhand pass to Gaborik, who swatted his fifth of the season into the wide-open cage.
Minnesota went back ahead late in the second as Foster beat Roloson up high with a power-play point shot with just 48 seconds remaining to give the Wild the 3-2 lead.
Josh Harding came in to replace Backstrom between the pipes for the Wild to start the third period. Backstrom, who has struggled with a groin injury all season, remained on the Minnesota bench.
The move didn’t adversely effect Minnesota as they padded their lead to 4-2 just 57 seconds into the final frame as Parrish blasted a one-time stick side that Roloson couldn’t catch up with.
The Wild wrap up their four-game road trip on Friday night in Vancouver while Edmonton continues their crucial season-high homestand, next playing host to Calgary on Saturday.
Notes – The injury-riddled Oilers defence corps received another bit of bad news on Thursday with Sheldon Souray taken off day-to-day status and re-listed as out indefinitely with a left shoulder sprain. A return that looked less than a week away could now be another month. Souray has missed 13 games with the injury so fara Wingers Marian Gaborik and Stephane Veilleux drew back into the lineup for Minnesotaa Skoula’s first period goal was his first in 113 games. The last time he scored, March 13, 2006, was also against Edmontona Wild netminder Niklas Backstrom has earned a well-deserved reputation as an Oiler killer over his career. Backstrom had won all six of his starts against Edmonton going into Thursday’s contest with three shutouts and a 0.67 GAAa The Oilers made a pair of roster moves on Thursday recalling forward Liam Reddox from the AHL’s Springfield Falcons while sending goaltender Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers the other way. Reddox, a 21-year-old from Whitby, Ont., has 10 points in 15 games with Springfield this season.