Eric Staal scored a pair of goals for the second time in a week. Unfortunately, anything good about this game for the Minnesota Wild ended there as they got blown out 7-2 in Colorado on Saturday night.
Head coach Bruce Boudreau said his team took a “step back” with this game.
“I’m perplexed about a lot of things right now,” Boudreau said. “And the play of all our players is one of them.”
He added that if Sunday wasn’t a mandatory day off, they’d be practicing.
The Wild (22-17-3) uncharacteristically surrendered three power-play goals on four chances. Those all went in the net on Devan Dubnyk’s watch, before he was chased from the net after the sixth goal in the middle of the third period.
The penalty kill, though more dominant at home, has been a huge selling point for the Wild all season. They’ve allowed three power-play goals to the opponent just one other time this season, in a 6-3 loss at St. Louis on Nov. 25. Overall, the Wild came in ranked fourth in the league on the kill but just tied for 22nd on the road.
The woes away from home continue for the Wild, a team that’s lost four straight road games. The loss also snaps the Wild’s four-game winning streak against Colorado.
“We’ve got to learn how to win on the road,” Boudreau said. “Because that’s ridiculous how we can play so good at home and complete opposite on the road.”
The Wild didn’t seem to have their legs underneath them at times against their divisional foes, the Avalanche (22-16-3), who won their fifth straight game. It seems rather odd seeing the shots-on-goal being close to even in the final boxscore, at 38-36 with the Avalanche having the slight edge.
The Wild got behind 2-0 in the first period on goals from Gabriel Bourque -- his first of the season -- and Patrik Nemeth. Staal cut the deficit to one with 33 seconds left in the first period.
Then in the second, the Wild got down 4-1 before Staal’s second goal with 38 seconds remaining in that frame. Simply put, the Avalanche goals came through defensive breakdowns on the part of the Wild.
Colorado made it 5-2 as Carl Soderberg scored his second power-play goal of the night jamming the puck in right out front. The Wild were shorthanded again in the middle of the third period, thanks to a double-minor to Dubnyk. Nathan MacKinnon, who toyed with the Wild all night, wasted no time firing a shot into the net for his 18th goal of the season and a 6-2 Colorado lead.
Enter Alex Stalock to relieve a seemingly frustrated Dubnyk. Stalock gave up the final goal of the game to Tyson Jost with 2:14 left in the third.
“I didn’t think we were very good defensively,” said Ryan Suter. “We didn’t do much to help Duby.”
Staal’s pair of goals marked his fifth multi-goal game this season. He had another two-goal game earlier in the week in the 5-1 victory over Florida on Tuesday. He doesn’t have a hat trick yet this season.
For good measure, Staal took an uncharacteristic roughing penalty with 3:17 to play when he and Nikita Zadorov (who was also penalized) took shots at each other. The four-minute penalties ended the night for each player.
In the end, though, this game netted a very disappointing result for the Wild against a team that came in just behind them in the division standings. It was the second time they’ve given up seven goals in a game, with the other coming in a 7-2 loss in Winnipeg on Nov. 27.
“It’s a loss,” Staal said. “And we’ve got to rebound at home on Tuesday against Calgary.”
Dubnyk with 26 saves on 32 shots in 47:17; Stalock with five saves on six shots in 12:43. Jonathan Bernier with 34 saves.
The Wild fall to 8-13-1 on the road this season.
The Wild have allowed five-plus goals six times this season. The last time was a 5-2 loss in Los Angeles on Dec. 5.
The rivalry wasn’t without some feistiness in the game. Dubnyk banged his stick against the goal post after the second Colorado goal, showing some frustration. In the middle of the third period, the goaltender was assessed a roughing penalty after he was run into and didn’t take kindly to the play, causing an after-the-whistle scrum.
The Wild have allowed 30 goals to opponents this season in both the first and second periods. In the third period? They’ve allowed 60 goals.
Nate Prosser registered three hits -- tied for the team-high with Marcus Foligno -- and a blocked shot in his 300th NHL game.
The Wild return home for a Tuesday night game against the Calgary Flames.