The Wild had everything to gain Friday night in their game against Edmonton. With a win in their final home game would secure their first playoff appearance in four years. Entering into the 'X' the Oilers, out of the playoff picture appeared to have nothing to play for.
That quickly changed when the head coach decided to play to the "code" of hockey as opposed to starting the game the way a playoff team should. Mike Yeo stated that matching Edmonton's fourth line with his own that resulted in a fight just two seconds into the contest, firing up the young Oilers to the tune of a six goal effort.
"It's the way they wanted to start the game," said Yeo about Edmonton's strategy. "We're at home and we're not going to get pushed around on our ice."
Yeo fell into the trap and instead of starting his top line in a game that they absolutely needed to have he staged a WWE like fight. After the fight gave the Oilers life, the visitors scored 25 seconds later to take a 1-0 lead. The Oilers scored twice more in the period to take a 3-0 lead despite being outshot 15-5 by the home team leading to starting goaltender Niklas Backstrom being pulled in favor of Josh Harding.
Three more goals in the second period gave the Oilers a 6-0 lead putting the game well out of reach.
"It was one of the weirdest games I've ever played in and obviously one of the most disappointing games I've ever been in," said forward Matt Cullen.
The Wild outshot the Oilers 39-17 and as the clock continued to head towards zero and their playoff hopes are dwindling a team that has struggled to score goals. If you think the sticks were gripped tight tonight, just wait until tomorrow when as Cullen said "is a game seven".
With a little more than five minutes left in the game Zenon Konopka and Mike Rupp both picked up roughing penalties setting up a 5-on-3 powerplay. Yeo took exception to the Oilers having their top powerplay rifling pucks at Harding and after the penalty was killed off, Yeo could be seen yelling at the Oilers bench.
And fans are supposed to believe that the same team whose wheels came completely off can regroup less than 24 hours later and flip the switch?
Despite the loss, the Wild can clinch a playoff birth with a win against Colorado tomorrow at 5:30PM.