Consistently generating shots inside the circles was important,
to keep him from getting comfortable in the crease. But that didn't
happen, and Roloson emerged with a victory he needed as badly as
his old mates.
Roloson won for the first time with his new team, stopping 30
shots to lead the Edmonton Oilers to a 2-1 victory over the Wild on
"I'm getting to know the guys a little bit and kind of getting
into a groove," said Roloson, who pointed to Monday's practice in
Minnesota as a key marker in his progress. "So I've got to take
this and use it to create something good."
Chris Pronger and Ryan Smyth scored for Edmonton, which ended a
four-game road losing streak and moved into a tie for seventh place
in the Western Conference with Vancouver with 76 points. Anaheim is
ninth, with 74 points. Minnesota is 11th, with 69.
"You never know what's going to happen," said Wild coach
Jacques Lemaire, whose team fell to 2-6 since the Olympic break.
"You've got to play until the end."
The Oilers weren't exactly relieved.
"This just compounds what's going to be a tremendously
pressure-filled situation from now until the end," coach Craig
After his team failed to score on its first six power plays,
Kurtis Foster got a goal with a man advantage for the Wild early in
the third period. But they wasted multiple chances to get more
against Roloson, who shared time in the Minnesota net with Manny
Fernandez from the beginning of the 2001-02 season until he was
Fernandez made 27 saves, missing a chance to beat Roloson twice
in three days. The Oilers lost 4-3 here on Sunday night.
When the buzzer sounded, Roloson got a big hug from Smyth.
"After a tough loss in the last game, I'm sure he was raring to
go," Foster said.
After giving up 13 goals and losing his first three games with
the Oilers, Roloson picked the perfect opponent to reverse his
slide against -- his old club. The Wild traded him last week for a
first-round draft pick this summer and future considerations.
An All-Star in 2004, Roloson (7-19-2) has had a rough season --
seeing his share of bad bounces but failing to rediscover his
Roloson gave up his share of rebounds, and it finally cost him 3
minutes into the final frame. Todd White's shot trickled in front
of the crease, and Foster knocked it in to pull the Wild within
Though the Wild picked up their pace down the stretch and found
themselves in better scoring situations, they weren't able to put
another one in against Roloson.
"I wouldn't say deflating," Foster said, "but I think if you
watched the way we played the last minute out there you would see
how much we wanted to win this one."
There was chaos in the Edmonton crease early in the first
period, and the Wild's Wes Walz wrestled with Roloson for a puck he
gloved but didn't cover. Mattias Weinhandl knocked it in for
Minnesota, but after a replay review the score was disallowed for
incidental contact with the goalie. Walz, who was stepping on
Roloson as his former teammate toppled over, also appeared to have
his skate across the goal line.
Lemaire argued that Walz was being pushed and suggested that
Pronger's complaint to the officials influenced their decision.
The momentum shifted after that, and the Oilers scored soon
after when Pronger's long slap shot from just inside the blue line
that Fernandez couldn't stop after Andrei Zyuzin skated in front of
A few minutes after the Wild couldn't score on a 5-on-3 early in
the second period, Alex Henry was called for interference. Edmonton
capitalized on the power play, when Jaroslav Spacek's shot hit the
post and landed behind Fernandez.
As he tried to fall back and cover the puck, Smyth poked it in
for a 2-0 lead.
"This kind of salvaged the trip a little bit," center Shawn
Horcoff said. "After all of that and the road trip, we actually
gain a spot in the standings. It's funny how things work.
"It was a playoff atmosphere out there, and we're better when
we add a little grit to our game."
Edmonton had White to thank for a too-many-men-on-the-ice
penalty in the first period. Seeing a shift change, White sent the
puck toward the Oilers bench. It hit Raffi Torres, whose back was
turned. ... Edmonton's last road win in regulation was Jan. 26 at
Los Angeles, 5-3.