Well, it wasn't pretty and it certainly isn't the way that the Minnesota Wild want to make a living in the NHL, but they picked up a win over the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday, and that's all that matters. Edmonton was set for a 1-0 shutout win when offseason trade acquisition Dany Heatley beat Nikolai Khabibulin with just 1.2 seconds left in the third period. The goal forced overtime and after that went scoreless, Matt Cullen was able to win the shootout for the Wild with the only goal.
The Oilers had the lead from the beginning of the game, at 16:06 of the first period, Greg Zanon gave up the puck to Ryan Smyth, who sunk it for the 1-0 lead that would only wilt away with less than two seconds to go in regulation. The Oilers gave up the lead with Niklas Backstrom on the bench in a must-score, empty-net scenario.
Heatley, you might remember, is the player who turned down a trade to Edmonton just two seasons ago, so the loss had to hurt even more for the hometown fans at Rexall Place, 16,839 strong. It also hurt because the Oilers largely dominated the play in overtime, and a great effort from Backstrom was the only reason the Wild survived into the shootout.
Up next for the Wild is a game against the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday.