Staal, Kunin Help Wild Recover to Beat Oilers 6-5

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Eric Staal scored the go-ahead goal with 4:47 remaining in the third period, Ryan Donato scored for the third straight game and the Minnesota Wild beat the Edmonton Oilers 5-4 on Thursday night.

Jordan Greenway, Jason Zucker, Marcus Foligno and Luke Kunin added goals for Minnesota, which has points in 13 of its past 14 games. Rookie goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen stayed unbeaten in four career games with 28 saves for the Wild.

Oscar Klefbom, Leon Draisaitl, Gaetan Haas, Connor McDavid and James Neal scored for Edmonton, which is 2-5-1 in its past eight games. Mike Smith stopped 21 shots.

Edmonton had rallied from a two-goal deficit midway through the third period when Haas and McDavid scored 2:06 apart to make it 4-all.

Staal, who Minnesota wasn’t certain would be in the lineup after the veteran collided with linesman David Brisebois in Tuesday’s game, helped the Wild answer.

Eric Staal Minnesota Wild
Eric Staal, Minnesota Wild (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Zucker backhanded a pass to Staal in the faceoff circle and Staal’s slap shot found its way past Smith. Kunin added his seventh goal of the season 1:08 later.

Minnesota was 6-11-1 and near the bottom of the Western Conference on Nov. 12. But the Wild have rallied despite being without Dubnyk and with captain Mikko Koivu missing his third straight game with a lower-body injury.

The Wild started the day with 20 points since Nov. 14, tied for the most in the NHL during that span.

Much of the success for the Wild has come on home ice (8-1-3 record) and they got a fortunate bounce to tie the game midway through the first period.

Smith couldn’t grab a point shot from Minnesota defenceman Carson Soucy and the puck bounced off the goaltender’s glove, caromed against Greenway’s back and into the net. Zucker scored his 12th goal of the season on a breakaway to give the Wild the lead heading into the first intermission.

Mike Smith Edmonton Oilers
Mike Smith, Edmonton Oilers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Draisaitl tied it two minutes into the second period with a power-play goal. Minnesota responded with Foligno scoring less than two minutes later and Donato scoring his sixth of the season.


Minnesota goaltender Devan Dubynk missed his 12th straight game as his wife deals with a serious medical condition. … Edmonton was 1 of 2 on the power play and started the game leading the league at 31.6% with the man advantage. It was the Oilers fifth straight game with a power-play goal. ‘… The Wild have allowed a power-play goal in 12 of the past 13 games. … Smith is 6-14-2 lifetime against Minnesota. . The Wild are 8-0-3 in their last 11 home games. It’s the second-longest home point streak in team history.


Oilers: Return home against Toronto on Saturday.

Wild: Host Philadelphia on Saturday.


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Brian Hall, The Associated Press