(Sports Network) – Mikko Koivu scored twice on the power play in a span of 52 seconds in the second period, lifting the Wild to a 4-2 win over Edmonton, in Minnesota’s ninth straight home-opening victory.
Antti Miettinen and Matt Cullen also had man-advantage goals for the Wild, who lost their first two games of the season last week against Carolina, a two- game series in Finland. Niklas Backstrom made 24 saves to get the win.
The Wild have won 14 straight home meetings against the Oilers by a combined 50-18 score, including four shutouts, last losing 2-1 on January 16, 2007.
Dustin Penner and Tom Gilbert had the goals for the Oilers, who won their first two games at home, beating Calgary and Florida. Nikolai Khabibulin stopped 20 shots in defeat.
The Oilers were hit with a holding penalty on Magnus Paajarvi, which led to Koivu’s first goal of the season, tying the game at 2-2, 14:31 of the second. Cullen passed the puck from the right circle to Koivu, who was stationed to the left of the net for the deflection past Khabibulin.
Just 52 seconds later, Koivu was in front to snare a rebound of Andrew Brunette’s left point shot. The puck trickled under the pads of Khabibulin and over the goal line.
It became 4-2 with 12:23 left in regulation as Cullen’s shot from the high slot deflected off the skate of Gilbert and past Khabibulin. The goal occurred with Edmonton’s Kurtis Foster serving a holding the stick penalty.
Backstrom stood tall in the final period by turning aside all 10 shots he faced.
Miettinen scored 7:48 into the game on the power play, which was just about to expire with Penner in the box for hooking. Brunette carried the puck into the left circle and delivered a pass to the slot for a streaking Miettinen, who deflected the disc past Khabibulin.
Penner tied the game 2:57 into the second during a man-advantage thanks to a tripping penalty on Guillaume Latendresse. Ales Hemsky passed the puck from the bottom of the left circle to Penner at the inside edge of the same circle for a successful one-timer.
Gilbert gave the Oilers the lead at 8:24 of the second as his shot from the right wall beat Backstrom high.
Backstrom’s 12-0-0 home mark against Edmonton is the NHL’s longest current start of career home win streak vs. one team…The Wild’s 14-game home win streak against Edmonton is tied for the longest current home win streak by one team over another. Nashville has won 14 straight at home versus Columbus. During the streak Edmonton has scored more than two goals just once…Since the lockout, Minnesota, which has never lost in regulation in 10 home openers, is 24-5-1 in October home games…It was Cullen’s first home game in his home state.