Edmonton Oilers' goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin was nearly impenetrable on Thursday night at the XCel Energy Center, but at the end of the game, the Minnesota Wild found just enough of a crack to get themselves a victory in front of the home crowd.
Despite outshooting the Oilers by a margin of 14-1 in the third period of play, Thursday night's game had to go to a shootout, but the Minnesota Wild wound up winning that phase of the game and getting the victory by a score of 2-1.
The Oilers opened up the scoring in this one, as Ryan Smyth got his first goal of the 2011-12 season at the 11:18 mark of the first period, beating Nicklas Backstrom and giving the Oilers a 1-0 lead. It took a while for the Wild to answer back, but they did just that at the 8:18 mark of the second period when Matt Cullen lit the lamp for his third goal of the year to tie the score.
That's how things stayed into the shootout, and both teams opened the penalty shot phase with a goal, as Cullen beat Khabibulin, but Edmonton's Jordan Eberle answered by beating Backstrom to knot things at one. Khabibulin then denied the returning Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Mikko Koivu, while Backstrom stoned Anton Lander and watched Taylor Hall's shot sail past the net, extending the shootout to a fourth round. In that round, Devin Setoguchi managed to sneak one past Khabibulin, and Backstrom got a stop on Shawn Horcoff to ice the game for Minnesota.
The three stars for the game were the following:
* - Setoguchi: 0 goals, 0 assists, winning goal in shootout
** - Khabibulin: 34 saves, .971 save percentage
*** - Backstrom: 21 saves, .955 save percentage
The win for the Wild evens their record for the season at 2-2. They will have Friday off before hosting the Detroit Red Wings at the XCel Energy Center on Saturday night.