Well, it was the same song, different verse for the Iowa Wild last night who jumped out to an 3-0 in the first only to watch it dwindle and see yet another loss in extra time. Despite the loss, Iowa picked up a point against the Griffins (Detroit Red Wings), and have picked up points in eight of their last ten games.
Niklas Svedberg (6-7-4, 2.81 GAA/.909 SV%) got the start in net for Iowa and faced his second highest shot total of the season: a 43 shot barrage from the Griffins. The Sollentuna, Swe., native made 40 saves on those attempts, though gave up the only goal in the shootout to Ben Street.
Jared Coreau (7-7-1, 2.88 GAA/.904 SV%) was called upon again to face the Wild in the back half of a home-and-home. Despite conceding the games first three goals to the visitors, he was able to stop 25 of 28 shots as well as three in the shootout to earn his seventh win of the season.
Third Line is Fine
Head Coach Derek Lalonde had a lot of praise to dole out for one of the more exciting lines to watch on this deep Wild roster. With Justin Kloos back at center, the wingers have been Gerry Mayhew on the left and the man with the hands, Sam Anas, on the right.
Anas opened the scoring in the first five minutes of the opening period. Following corner battle in his own zone, Kloos was able to chip the puck up the ice to defenseman Matt Caito, a former member of the Griffins. After a light touch to Anas, he was off, streaking down the boards for a two-on-one against Robbie Russo.
There was no need to make a pass as the winger from Potomac, Mary. split the wickets on Coreau, and Russo was left throwing his hands in the air (Caito, Kloos; 4:58).
With the clock getting near the 15:00 mark of the first, it was the third line who struck again with a little help from referee, Stephen Thomson. With Mayhew getting pressure on Russo, the Griffin d-man attempted to wrap the puck around the glass, but ended up hitting the ref instead and the puck found it’s way to the slot and Kloos was crashing hard.
The former center at the U was able to get the puck to Mayhew who had went to the far post for the easy chip in and the 2-0 lead (Kloos; 14:09).
With Anas and Mayhew getting goals, you’d think that Kloos was feeling a little left out. However, he got his opportunity just a little over two minutes into the period.
After a high-sticking call against Eric Tangradi, Iowa went on their first power play of the night. Anas took a puck at the blue line and skated down to the right dot to try and get a tip opportunity out of Kyle Rau, who was screening Coreau. What happened was a rebound opportunity and a sweet backhand from Kloos to light the lamp and extend the lead, 3-0 (Anas, Rau; PP - 2:17)
Five minutes later, unfortunately, the ice started to tilt in favor of the Griffins.
Iowa had been looking great while dominating puck possession in the offensive zone, but Caito found himself out of position and a pass from Tangradi got to Brian Lashoff that had a lot of open ice to work with.
Nick Seeler did his best to move over and help his defensive partner, but Lashoff, a left-handed shot, was able to snipe one, far post above Svedberg’s shoulder to cut Iowa’s lead to two (Tangradi, Ford; 7:33).
In the final five minutes of the second period, the Griffins struck again. Unfortunately for Matt Caito, he was a part of it again. As he was attempting to get the puck out of the zone, the puck was poked by Tyler Bertuzzi, who was down on the ice after getting tangled up with Christoph Bertschy.
From there, the puck made it’s way to the slot, and with a bunch of bodies fighting for the puck, it was Ben Street who was able to make a quick, turnaround shot to beat Svedberg through the five hole (Bertuzzi; 16:35).
Iowa was nursing a 3-2 lead, but the third was coming with the same feeling as Svedberg’s last start against San Diego that ended in a 4-3 overtime loss.
Tied up Third
Following Street’s second period goal on a broken breakout effort, you would assume that Iowa would have come out flat in the third period. What they had in energy in the early moments of the last regulation period, they lacked in execution.
It was also where another pitfall occurred previously seen against San Diego - an increase in pushing and shoving and a lack of emphasis on hockey. With Iowa already on the penalty kill following a call on Alex Grant for closing his hand on the puck, things got worse.
Seeler, known for his want to stand up for teammates, was called for a cross-check against Joe Hicketts, who ran into Svedberg which felt like the hundreth time that night. The Eden Prairie native took exception to it, but his actions sent him to the box for a seat next to Grant and a 5-on-3 opportunity for Grand Rapids.
Luke Kunin, Carson Soucy, and Brennan Menell did the best they could, but it was Street once again beating Svedberg to even the game up at three apiece in the waning seconds of the Grant penalty (Ford, Saarijärvi; PP - 7:15).
The period came to a close with yet another lead having slipped away.
Neither side was able to convert in the overtime period, and Iowa managed zero shots to Grand Rapids’ six. Svedberg was able to make the key saves to put the puck back on the sticks of the Wild forwards for a chance in the shootout.
Anas, Kloos, and Ryan Malone were all denied by Coreau. It was Street, yet again, to get the only goal of the shootout and get the two points for the Griffins.
There really isn’t much to be said that had already been said before in games like these. Usually Iowa has had trouble starting out hot, but as of late they’ve had trouble finishing and holding on to chances to earn two points, but only getting one. The Wild have been fortuitous the last four times this has happened in earning points, but it’s going to become 0 points sooner or later.
One positive has been Iowa’s play on the power play. Following Kloos’ goal, the Wild have now scored on the man advantage in each of their last four games (4 of 13, 30.8 percent).
The Wild continue their road trip tomorrow night in Milwaukee (Nashville Predators) with Svedberg getting another shot with Steve Michalek being called-up to back up Alex Stalock. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 CST.