The No. 1 team couldn't do it. The No. 2 team couldn't do it. And now the defending NHL champions are having a hard time doing it.

Can anybody stop the Minnesota North Stars?The NHL's 16th-best team continued to make a farce of the regular season Thursday night, defeating the Oilers 3-1 at Edmonton for the first time since Jimmy Carter was president.

Minnesota spent the first few minutes of its victory giving the Oilers a power play, a 1-0 lead and too much credit.

"We didn't look like we had our legs or our confidence," Dave Gagner said. "We had the jitters before the game started, and we stood around and watched. I don't know if we were a little in awe or what, but we got settled down and played a good game."

But then it was the Oilers' turn to watch as the North Stars used goals by Neal Broten, Gagner and Gaetan Duchesne and 27 saves by Jon Casey to open their third straight series with a road victory.

"I wish I knew what happened," said Charlie Huddy, one of five active Oilers with five Stanley Cup rings. "We came out of the gate flying, which we knew we had to do because they like to get the lead."

Tonight, the playoffs continue with Game 2 of the Wales Conference final at Boston, where the Bruins lead the Pittsburgh Penguins 1-0.

Outshot 5-0 and trailing on Steve Smith's power-play goal 2:15 into the game, the North Stars used their grinding style to wear down the Oilers the rest of the way.

The North Stars snapped the Northlands Coliseum jinx. They had been 0-14-3 here since their previous victory on Oct. 24, 1980.