Wild hold off hard-charging Oilers, 4-2

EDMONTON, Alberta — The Wild had a tall task in trying to cool off the Oilers on Friday. Edmonton had won 20 of its previous 25 games and was riding a nine-game points streak (8-0-1) at Rogers Place.

But the Wild also had a plan: Control the pace, win puck battles and stay out of the penalty box. Seeing as how the Oilers entered the game with the NHL’s fourth-best power play, and had the league’s third-best scorer on power plays in Leon Draisaitl, maybe that last one was most important.

That proved to be the case as Minnesota held off a furious third-period rally to beat Edmonton 4-2, and added two big points to their push for a Western Conference playoff spot.

Draistaitl and Zach Hyman scored for Edmonton, each on power plays. But those were the only two man advantages the Oilers got.

“That was something we spoke about before the game — mitigate our risk by not getting in the box a lot throughout the game, and that’s what we did,” defenseman Jake Middleton said. “Thank god it was only twice.”

Minnesota was outplayed in the third period, giving up 20 shots on goal — and outshot 9-1 to start the frame. But between the long shifts in their zone, the Wild managed to score two goals. Jonas Brodin snapped a 1-1 tie with a slap shot from the left circle that beat a screened Calvin Pickard in the far corner at 9:31, and Boldy made it 3-1 with 7:42 left.

Overall, the Wild were outshot 44-18.

“I thought they were better than we were in the third period, but we found a way to put the puck in the net at key times — and we got some key saves by Gus,” Wild coach John Hynes said. “This time of the year, you’ve gotta find a way to win, and tonight we did enough to find a way to win.”

The Wild improved to 6-1-1 since returning from the all-star break and jumped back into 10th place in the West, two points behind eighth- and ninth-place St. Louis and Nashville with a 9 p.m. puck drop ahead of them Saturday in Seattle.

Hyman scored after a long power play forecheck to make it 3-2 with 5:09 remaining, but the Wild held off another charge — the Oilers had 20 shots on goal in the third period — and Mats Zuccarello all but ended it with an empty-netter with 1:27 remaining.

“I saw most of their releases,” said Gustavsson, who rebounded from getting pulled after two periods in the Wild’s 10-7 victory over Vancouver on Monday. “There were a lot of fun ones, where they got a stick on it or it hit our pants or gloves or something like that, but I saw their release. I saw it coming in, and that gives me the best opportunity to save it, too.”