Friday night fights as Wild wins 3-1 in Edmonton
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It was something akin to Friday night fights in Edmonton, as the Minnesota Wild closed out its road slate for the season, beating the Oilers 3-1. But this was not a game where offense, or even the end result, was the story.
Both teams have long since been eliminated from the playoff race, and with the Wild coming to Edmonton having won the last five in a row from the Oilers, there were clearly some grudges to be settled right from the start.
It took just seven seconds from the opening faceoff for the first pairs of gloves to hit the ice, as Clayton Stoner had insult added to injury in his opening bout with Theo Peckham. Not only did Peckham pound Stoner, the Wild defenseman was ejected from the game for not having his equipment properly fastened, meaning the Wild was down to five defensemen almost immediately.
But for fight fans, this was just the beginning, as the teams traded blows four more times before the first period was even half over.
When they finally got back to basics - you know, simple stuff like skating, passing and shooting, the Wild did what it has done all season versus Edmonton. The visitors took a 2-0 second period lead on goals by Brent Burns and Jared Spurgeon, then put a close 2-1 game out of reach late in the third on a empty-net goal by Andrew Brunette.
It would hardly be a Wild game at this point in the lost season without a player making his NHL debut. This time it was defenseman Drew Bagnall, who was called up from Houston earlier in the day, and played nearly 17 minutes, taking one penalty and finishing a -1 in his pro premiere.
Jose Theodore, who had come on in relief of Niklas Backstom one night earlier in Vancouver, got the start and the win, stopping 28 of 29 shots. The Wild's 2010-11 season comes to a close, mercifully, on Sunday, with an afternoon home game versus Dallas.