EDMONTON – Dustin Penner and Ethan Moreau scored two goals each as the Edmonton Oilers snapped a five-game losing skid, defeating the Minnesota Wild 4-1 Monday in a battle of non-playoff teams.
Tom Gilbert, Ryan Potulny and Shawn Horcoff each had two assists for the last-place Oilers (25-46-8), who now have 58 points, hoping to eclipse their franchise-worst 60 points set in the 1992-93 season. Andrew Brunette replied for the Wild (37-36-7), who suffered their fourth consecutive loss.
Edmonton got on the board quickly, scoring just 1:33 in as Taylor Chorney found Penner open at the side of the net and he blasted his career-best 30th goal of the season past Wild starter Niklas Backstrom.
The Oilers made it 2-0 midway through the first period as Tom Gilbert sprung Moreau and Shawn Horcoff on a short-handed two-on-one with a long pass. The Oilers captain opted to take the shot himself, sending a dribbler through Backstrom’s legs.
The Wild to cut the lead in half, scoring just 12 seconds into the middle frame as Brunette scored his 25th on a wrist shot from out front. Defenceman Nate Prosser earned an assist on the goal in his first NHL game.
Edmonton had a good chance to regain the two-goal cushion 12 minutes into the second as a Patrick O’Sullivan shot hit the post and then Backstrom’s back before the puck narrowly skittered to safety.
The Oilers restored their two-goal lead with just over five minutes to play in the third as Moreau brought it out from behind the Wild goal-line and then batted home his own rebound to make it 3-1 Edmonton.
The Oilers then put the game away with five minutes left and Prosser off for a high-sticking double minor, as a big rebound came out to Penner and he scored his second of the game.
Devan Dubnyk stopped 25 shots for Edmonton, while Backstrom made 27 saves for the Wild.
The Oilers play their final home game of the season on Wednesday against Colorado while the Wild finish off the road portion of their schedule in Calgary on Thursday.
Notes: It was the sixth and final game between the two teams this season. The home team won all of the earlier matches in the series… Penner’s 30th goal was the first time an Oiler has hit the mark since Edmonton traded Ryan Smyth during the 2006-07 campaign… For the sixth time this season, the Wild recalled Robbie Earl from the Houston Aeros for the game against Edmonton. In his five previous call-ups, Earl has totalled six goals and a +2 rating in 29 games played this season… Minnesota will finish the season with its fewest road wins since posting 15 in 2005-06. They entered the contest with just 12… The Oilers had an active day signing prospects on Monday, inking a pair of forwards to two-year entry-level deals. First they signed 23-year-old Swede Linus Omark, a fourth round, 97th overall pick by the Oilers in the 2007 NHL Entry draft. Omark played in for Dynamo in Russia this season, netting 36 points in 56 games. Edmonton also signed NCAA prospect Chris Vande Velde, fourth round, 97th overall selection by the Oilers in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. In 43 games for the University of North Dakota this season, Vande Velde had 18 goals and 17 assists.