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Edmonton Oilers' Jordan Eberle, 14, celebrates his goal on Minnesota Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom during first period NHL hockey action in Edmonton on Thursday December 22, 2011. (John Ulan/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Edmonton Oilers' Jordan Eberle, 14, celebrates his goal on Minnesota Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom during first period NHL hockey action in Edmonton on Thursday December 22, 2011. (John Ulan/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Oilers hand Wild sixth straight loss Add to ...

Jordan Eberle scored a pair of goals as the Edmonton Oilers snapped a four-game losing skid in impressive fashion, defeating the Minnesota Wild 4-1 on Thursday.

Ryan Smyth and Lennart Petrell also scored for the Oilers (15-16-3) who had won just two out of their last 11 games coming into the contest.

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Dany Heatley replied for the Wild (20-11-5) who have now lost six games in a row on the heels of a seven-game winning streak.

The Oilers dodged an early bullet as a Clayton Stoner blast rang off the post behind starter Nikolai Khabibulin just over a minute into the game.

Edmonton started the scoring with four minutes remaining in the first period as Eberle put forward a tremendous individual effort on the power play, stopping a clearing attempt, making a toe-drag move to throw off a defender and then sending a wrist shot past Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom for his 14th of the season.

Edmonton made it 2-0 with a minute and a half to play in the first as Smyth attempted a wrap-around shot and got a couple more whacks at it to lodge the puck from between Backstrom's skate and the post and into the net. It was also Smyth's 14th of the year, ending an 11-game scoring drought.

The Oilers had a chance to go up by three goals with 12 seconds left in the first when Taylor Hall was awarded a penalty shot after being tripped up on a breakaway attempt by Stoner. Backstrom made a pad save to turn Hall's attempt away.

Edmonton out-shot Minnesota by a hefty 20-3 margin in the first.

The Oilers went up 3-0 early in the second period as Petrell stripped the puck from Jeff Taffe and picked the top corner with a slapshot for a short-handed goal.

Less than two minutes later, the Oilers went up by four goals as Eberle picked up a loose puck in the slot and beat Backstrom with a backhander.

Eight minutes into the second the Oilers had four goals while the Wild only had four shots.

Khabibulin kept the Wild off the board with a terrific glove save in tight on Pierre-Marc Bouchard with five minutes to play in the middle period.

Minnesota had a chance to get into the game early in the third as Petrell was assessed a checking from behind major for giving Marek Zidlicky a shove as he was heading into the boards.

The Oilers killed off the lengthy penalty, but just seconds later the Wild ruined Khabibulin's shutout bid as Heatley rifled a shot into the net for his 10th of the season.

Surprisingly, the final shots were an even 31-31.

Notes: It was the fifth of six meetings between the Northwest Division rivals, who will close out their season series on Dec. 29. The Wild won three of the first four, all in shootout sessions... Oilers forward Ales Hemsky missed the game, suffering from the flu. He was replaced on the Oilers' second line by Sam Gagner. Petrell drew in to take Hemsky's place in the lineup... The Wild were hopeful they would have captain Mikko Koivu back in time for the game, but he instead missed his fourth game with a leg injury. To fill in for him, the Wild recalled Jeff Taffe... Minnesota has had a string of injuries at forward, also missing Devin Setoguchi (ankle), Casey Wellman (wrist) and Guillaume Latendresse (post-concussion symptoms)... With the World Junior Hockey Championships in town following Christmas, the Oilers will head on a daunting seven-game road trip starting Monday, facing the Canucks, Wild, Islanders, Blackhawks, Sabres, Blues and Stars.

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