Pavol Demitra and Marian Gaborik each had two goals and an assist for Minnesota, while Branko Radivojevic also scored for the Wild. It was the second straight listless performance from the Oilers (30-29-6) since essentially giving up the playoff pursuit following the deadline day trade of Ryan Smyth.
Minnesota (36-23-6) moved a point ahead of Calgary for seventh place in the Western Conference and 12 points ahead of the Oilers, who have now lost three in a row.
Minnesota started the scoring 11:23 into the first period when Martin Skoula sent Demitra in all alone. Demitra went to the backhand and beat Oilers starter Dwayne Roloson glove-side for his 20th of the season.
The Wild went ahead 2-0 on a two-man advantage with just under four minutes remaining in the first. Gaborik and Demitra worked the give and go down deep with several passes before Gaborik scored his 21st past a helpless Roloson.
Minnesota continued to put the Oilers on their heels early in the second as Edmonton defenceman Matt Greene wiped out, allowing a Wild two-on-one. Roloson got a piece of Mark Parrish’s original shot but the puck landed on the goal-line, where Radivojevic was able to tap it in to put his team ahead 3-0.
Jussi Markkanen replaced Roloson in the Oiler net to start the third. But the Wild were able to get a couple past him as well. Gaborik picked off a puck at the Oiler blue-line and scored his second of the night on the breakaway. Demitra added his second goal of the evening on the power play with under four minutes to go to give the Wild the clear 5-0 victory.
Harding faced an Oilers two-man advantage for the final 1:50 to preserve his shutout.
The Oilers play the third game of a four game homestand on Saturday against Calgary. The Wild complete a three-game western road swing in Vancouver on Sunday.
Notes: Harding was making his first start of the season for the Wild. Minnesota’s third stringer came in during the second period of Wednesday’s game against Calgary to replace Niklas Backstrom, who left the game with a lower body injury. Backstrom had been on a tear for the Wild since replacing usual starter Manny Fernandez, out with a knee injury. . . . Thursday marked the Minnesota debut of newly acquired forward Dominic Moore, a scratch against Calgary. Moore had six goals and 15 points in 59 games for the Penguins this season and led Pittsburgh in face-off wins. . . . Defenceman Ladislav Smid and forward Petr Nedved both returned from injuries to suit up for the Oilers. But as they came back another player went out as Marty Reasoner left the game with an injury to his right shoulder after a first period hit from Derek Boogaard.