The Minnesota Wild allowed seven unanswered goals from seven goal scorers for their most lopsided loss of the season, losing 7-2 to divisional opponent Winnipeg.
That just about says it all.
“It’s people not doing their jobs,” said head coach Bruce Boudreau. “We can see it. There’s a disconnect somewhere.”
The Wild (11-10-3) actually managed a 2-0 lead in the first period on a couple pretty goals from Jason Zucker and Christ Stewart before things went south. It was all Winnipeg (15-6-3) and a rough go for the Wild defense the rest of the way. The Wild gave up a season-high seven goals. Combine that with last game’s 6-3 loss in St. Louis and it looks even worse.
They’re 0-3 against the Jets this season, with the first two finishing as one-goal games.
“This was the game where they definitely out-classed us,” Boudreau said.
Not only did they give up a season-high in goals, the Wild also lost by a five-goal margin. That’s a new mark for their season, too.
The Wild have given up four-plus in four of their last five games. They’ve given up four-plus goals in half their games this season (12 of 24). They’ve given up 30 goals in seven games after Devan Dubnyk’s three straight shutouts earlier this month. Things have turned on a dime.
It’s not just the goaltending – Dubnyk gave up six in St. Louis and Alex Stalock gave up seven against the Jets – it’s the defense in front of the goalies, too. Jets players were left all alone to fire pucks into the net at their leisure. The fourth line struggled mightily – “three or four shifts in a row, they got scored on,” Boudreau said. The defensive pairing of Kyle Quincey and Matt Dumba was scored on multiple times. Boudreau even called a timeout in the third to try and rally the players.
It didn’t work.
The final goal of the night came when Blake Wheeler bounced the puck off Jonas Brodin and into the Wild’s net.
To recap the other Jets goals, they came from Joel Armia, Mark Scheifele, Jacob Trouba, Mathieu Perreault, Kyle Connor, Bryan Little and Wheeler. Former Gophers player Wheeler, Scheifele and Connor each had three-point nights.
The Wild didn’t do much in the last two periods in the offensive zone either. Their shot total came out at 19 for the game, breaking down with five in the second and eight in the third (though all of those came in the final 10 minutes of the game).
Not that this game really was hindered by a lack of offense.
Then there are special teams. The Wild racked up nine penalties and their penalty kill – suddenly on the fritz after being dominant – gave up two goals on four chances. Quincey took the first penalty of the game, then starting fighting with Nikolaj Ehlers after the Jets’ sixth goal, earning himself two more minors and a 10-minute game misconduct.
Thinking back to the start of the game, the concern was keeping the Jets at bay in the first period, since they came in with 30 goals to their opponents’ 18 in the first 20 minutes this season. The Wild got a quick lead; they just gave it right back and then some. The Jets scored their first two goals just 1:28 apart.
Boudreau noted the 13-minute mark of the first period and used the words “soul searching” for at least the second time this season.
“We just quit playing,” he said. “Once [the Jets] started to play a little bit better, it was like ‘woe is me’ … and we didn’t compete against them.”
Boudreau was also asked after the game about bouncing back.
“They’re professional athletes,” Boudreau said. “Bouncing back, we should be playing a lot better than what we’re doing.
“We have to play different than we did the last two games. That’s for absolute sure.”
Stalock (2-3-1) with 21 saves. Connor Hellebuyck (13-2-2) with 17 saves.
Stewart’s goal was his seventh this season in just 23 games. He scored 13 with the Wild last season. His goal against the Jets broke a scoreless drought he’s held since Oct. 21.
Mikko Koivu hasn’t scored a goal in 15 games. He was a minus-3 in the game.
The Jets won their 15th game of the season in just 24 games played, which is a team record. They’re 8-2-1 at home this season and have won seven of their last nine games overall.
Stalock came into the game with a 0.99 GAA and .955 save percentage and two shutouts against the Jets.
The Wild’s power play didn’t see any action until late in the third period when the game was out of reach. It went 0 for 1.
The Wild had a goal taken away in the first period. Just 1:05 before Stewart’s goal, Zucker made a heads-up pass banked off the boards in the neutral zone to a streaking Charlie Coyle as he headed into the Winnipeg zone. The rebound kicked right out to a trailing Zack Mitchell who put the puck in the net. The Jets challenged the play saying Coyle entered the zone offside, which he did. The call was overturned.
The Wild head back home for an inaugural matchup against the NHL’s newest team: The Las Vegas Golden Knights. They’ll face off Thursday night. Boudreau mentioned getting back to “square one” when the Wild practice again, which they haven’t done in two weeks. Tuesday is a scheduled day off.
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