The Wild came into the third period Saturday with a 19-2-3 record when leading after two periods. They were up 2-1 for the final 20 minutes against the Anaheim Ducks but ultimately lost 3-2 in an 11-round shootout, the longest in franchise history.
Unfortunately, the Wild (31-20-7) chose about the first 10 minutes of the third period to take some time off. At least, that’s how it appeared as they chased the puck around their own zone, turned the puck over, didn’t pressure offensively and ultimately allowed the Ducks (29-20-11) to tie the game at 2-2 at the 6:12 mark of the period.
Even still, head coach Bruce Boudreau said he wasn’t disappointed in the way his team played.
“It was one shot,” Boudreau said, referencing the tying goal in the third. “They got one shot. (Ondrej) Kase made a great play in front. We had, I think, a lot more chances than they did.
“I’m disappointed as all get out that we didn’t get two points.”
Both teams left the building with 69 points.
As sometimes happens, the Wild woke up a bit after that as they tried to win the game. Mikael Granlund had a couple decent chances right in front with goalie John Gibson scrambling, but he couldn’t convert. Matt Dumba ripped one of his signature slapshots with 2:50 remaining in regulation that rang iron but didn’t enter the net.
So, there were a few close-but-no-cigar chances for the Wild up until the end of 60 minutes.
The Wild maintained puck control for a good chunk of overtime and had a couple chances. Both teams were focused in defensively, not wanting to give up a breakaway in the 3-on-3 format.
It’s a disappointing end to the homestand for the Wild; they finish 2-1-2, bookending the five games with overtime and shootout losses.
“I think it was a good homestand for us,” Dubnyk said. “Obviously a couple mistakes. This was like a playoff game.”
The start of Saturday’s game wasn’t quite what the Wild wanted either. Nino Niederreiter took the first of two penalties just 27 seconds into the game. The Ducks had a 1-0 lead 50 seconds in after the Granlund lost the puck off his stick and Corey Perry slipped it past Dubnyk. The Ducks are 20-3-6 when scoring first this season.
The Wild recovered with Mikko Koivu’s ninth goal of the season late in the period to tie it up. The Wild found their game in the second period, doubling up the Ducks on shots on goal 14-7. Jason Zucker tipped a Nate Prosser shot at 7:56 of the second period for the Wild’s 2-1 lead. Officials had to confirm the goal after it was waved off, saying Zucker played it with a high stick. He did, but his stick was below the crossbar.
Niederreiter only played 10:33 in the game after taking his second penalty -- he’s taken frequent trips to the box lately -- 38 seconds into the second period. Boudreau appeared to bench him for a while, and he also changed up line combinations.
Niederreiter redeemed himself briefly with a slick move to score one of the Wild’s shootout goals. Boudreau was pretty tight-lipped when asked about Niederreiter after the game, except to say he didn’t like the way Niederreiter was playing on the one line.
“I’ll talk to Nino about it,” Boudreau said.
With so many shootout rounds, picking the shooters doesn’t seem like an exact science, especially because a lot of players don’t have much shootout experience. Boudreau mentioned afterward he looks at things like which player’s had a good game, who’s hot, or who wants to redeem himself (Niederreiter).
“That’s why I put him out there,” Boudreau said.
Ryan Getzlaf – Goal
Zach Parise – Goal
Nino Niederreiter – Goal
Ondrej Kase - Goal
Nick Ritchie – Game-winning goal
Dubnyk (23-11-5) with 29 saves on 31 shots. Gibson (21-15-6) with 36 saves on 38 shots.
An 11-round shootout was the longest in Wild history, besting their previous high of nine rounds. They went nine rounds twice, the last time on Feb. 11, 2011 in St. Louis. That’s according to Elias Sports Bureau.
The Ducks are 4-6 in shootouts this season; the Wild are 3-2.
The Wild went 0 for 3 on the power play and allowed a goal on three opportunities on the penalty kill.
That’s two losses for Boudreau against his former teams in the past three days. They lost to Washington on Thursday.
The Wild head out on the road for a three-game trip through New York to make way for the Minnesota girls’ state high school hockey tournament to invade the Xcel Energy Center. First up, the Wild play the New York Islanders at noon on President’s Day.
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