Kevin Fiala scored two goals and added an assist as the Minnesota Wild scored early and often in a 7-3 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday.
Brandon Duhaime, Joel Eriksson Ek, Connor Dewar, Matt Boldy and Mats Zuccarello also scored for the Wild (31-13-3) who snapped a two-game losing skid.
Evander Kane, Tyler Benson and Zach Hyman responded for the Oilers (28-19-3), who had a five-game winning streak snapped, suffering their first loss under new head coach Jay Woodcroft.
Edmonton once again found itself chasing the game early as the Wild scored 2:49 into the opening period on their second shot, as a sloppy clearing attempt led to Duhaime beating Oilers goalie Mike Smith to the glove side. It was the 33rd time in the last 41 games that Edmonton has allowed the game’s first goal.
It was a disastrous start for Edmonton overall, as Minnesota would score two more goals within the next three-and-a-half minutes when Eriksson Ek scored his 16h of the season on the power play 5:21 into the game on its fourth shot, and then took a three-goal lead at the 6:17 mark when Kevin Fiala scored on a two-on-one on its fifth shot. It was the sixth time in Smith’s last nine starts that he has allowed at least two goals on the opposition’s first six shots.
Fiala scored his second of the game and 16th of the season with just over six minutes to play in the opening period, chasing Smith after allowing four goals on seven shots, with Mikko Koskinen coming in to replace him in net.
Edmonton got a goal back with three-and-a-half minutes to play in the first period when Kane tipped home a shot from in tight on the power play past Wild goalie Kaapo Kahkonen.
Minnesota restored its lead eight-and-a-half minutes into the second period as Dewar was credited with the goal after a shot hit the post and then caromed off of Koskinen’s leg and into the net.
The Wild scored their sixth goal on 15 shots when Boldy beat Koskinen with six minutes to play in the second.
Benson scored his first NHL goal a couple minutes later on a scramble in front of the Wild net.
Minnesota made it 7-2 when Zuccarello picked the top corner on a breakaway opportunity five minutes into the final frame.
Hyman scored with just over a minute left for Edmonton.
The Wild play the second game of a four-game Canadian trip on Tuesday in Ottawa. The Oilers embark on a five-game road trip starting in Tampa Bay against the Lightning on Wednesday.
NOTES: It was the Oilers’ fifth game in the last seven days. … The Wild made a couple of roster moves in advance of Sunday’s game, activating forward Nick Bjugstad, who had been out with an upper-body injury since Jan. 6, and calling up defenceman Calen Addison from the Iowa Wild. Heading the other way to Iowa was forward Victor Rask and defenceman Dakota Mermis. … Remaining out with injury for the Wild was Matt Dumba (lower body). … Out of the lineup for the Oilers were Kris Russell (undisclosed), Zack Kassian (fractured jaw), Duncan Keith (upper body) and Jesse Puljujarvi (lower body).