If you are a big fan of Jekyll and Hyde, then you were no doubt a huge fan of the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night. After an absolutely abysmal first 33 minutes from the home team, Minnesota stormed back to defeat the defending conference champion Nashville Predators 6-4 in St. Paul.
Nashville's Ryan Johansen opened the scoring -- his first goal of the year -- just 49 seconds into the game. Minnesota offered little to no pushback in the first, and managed to use three big penalty kills to keep the score 1-0 headed into the intermission. "They were in our face there quick. We weren't good enough," said Wild forward Eric Staal.
Roman Josi and Mattias Ekholm scored -- the latter on a short-handed marker -- for Nashville in the second period to make it 3-0 just over the halfway mark of the game.
The game appeared headed for a rout, but the Wild began to push back.
Matt Dumba and Nino Niederreiter scored in the final four minutes of the second to bring the score back to 3-2. In the middle of that, Niederreiter also had a goal taken off the board as he appeared to punch the puck into the net. After 40 minutes of hockey, the Wild amazingly found themselves just down 3-2.
"We knew we had to make a push. We stuck to our process and kept pushing," said Niederreiter, who was all over the ice for Minnesota on Thursday night.
"I think it proves that in sports you have to play with emotion," said Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau. "The first 35 minutes we weren’t and it showed."
Off a Niederreiter turnover in the defensive zone, Viktor Arvidsson scored for Nashville to make it 4-2 just 57 seconds into the final period. The Wild again pushed back after getting close to being put away in this hockey game.
And they pushed back hard.
Four goals were tallied by Minnesota in the final 6:56 to seal the win. Jared Spurgeon and Staal scored 1:57 apart to tie the game, then Jason Zucker -- Minnesota's hottest goal scorer at the moment -- gave the Wild the lead with 2:55 remaining on a nice spin around backhand attempt.
Spurgeon netted his second of the night on an empty net to secure Minnesota's fourth consecutive win and put the Wild back in the Western Conference playoff picture with 20 points on the young season.
"You can’t be satisfied with playing 30 minutes a game," Boudreau said. "They can’t all be Picassos either. It shows great character that they can come back."
"[it was] a lot of fun to come back and get that win," Staal said.
Devan Dubnyk's shutout streak ended at 195:54 tonight, which is a new franchise record.
Minnesota plays in Washington at 6:30 Saturday for a showdown against the Capitals. Washington has won four straight games against the Wild, and Minnesota holds a 2-7-1 all-time record at Capital One Arena.
There are no comments to display.
Join the conversation
You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.