The Minnesota Wild kicked off a 7-game road trip with a 5-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks, snapping the Wild’s 5-game win streak in the process. It was kind of your typical game for the Wild. Come out slow, let in the first goal, maybe work your way back into it or at least make it interesting late. The boys wearing their white sweaters would put up a fight, but costly turnovers would doom the Wild on the opening night of back-to-back games. The team will travel overnight and be ready for the Edmonton Oilers Tuesday night.
The puck dropped, and things were off to a weird start. A bunch of whistles early kind of stifled the play to open the 1st period. Then when we got to the first penalty being called, watch out! The officials spent some time trying to figure out who was to accompany Zach Parise to the box for matching high-sticking penalties. After much discussion it was deemed Erik Gudbranson would get the honor.
They also had quite the discussion at the end of the period after Eric Staal appeared to be hauled down on a breakaway. That would end in no penalty shot, no penalty despite the ref putting his arm up on the play originally. It was just an odd circumstance with a lot of confusion from tonight’s officiating crew.
Of course, a Granlund would start the scoring tonight as Marcus Granlund would grab the games first marker. Bo Horvat would feed the puck outfront from behind the net and the younger Granlund wristed one home past Devan Dubnyk from the slot. It would be short lived though as just 35 seconds later Jordan Greenway would get his first regular season NHL goal and tie this game up at 1. Greenway was clogging up the middle when Jared Spurgeon threw one on net. Everyone kind of whacked away at it but Greenway was able to slap home the rebound. Congrats kid!
The first closed out tied at 1 with that goofy Staal breakaway, not a penalty, thing kind of putting a great big bowtie on a period that seemed to move slow. The refs needing to chat things over a couple times just slowed things down even more.
The Canucks would add a couple more goals early in the 2nd period after Eric Staal took an interference call to negate the final 40 seconds of a Marcus Granlund double-minor for high sticking. No sooner than going on the man-advantage were the Canucks able to capitalize. Some lazy passing led to Alex Biega feeding a pass up to Jake Virtanen who whipped a wrister past Dubs from high in the slot. Less than 2 minutes later rookie Elias Pettersson would be the beneficiary after Charlie Coyle turned the puck over with a bad pass in the defensive zone. Tic-Tac-Toe and Pettersson buries a one-timer from the circle.
Ryan Suter would edge the Wild back within 1 late in the middle frame with a power play goal. Like a lot of Suter goals, this was one of those just throw something at the net and see what happens kind of goals. Suter would unfortunately follow this up with a trip to the box himself to close out the period and give the Canucks a minute and change on the power play to start the third.
The Wild would kill that penalty early in the third, but Greg Pateryn would get caught with his stick up on Bo Horvat and put the Wild down a man for another 2-minutes just after Suter exited the box. The Wild may have had the edge in chances on these kills though. The Canucks struggled to put anything together and the Wild found a little pressure through the neutral zone which gave them a couple chances short-handed.
The wind would come out of the sails though just after the kill when Matt Dumba lined up a shot off a draw that deflected off Petersson and he was off to the races. The kid went top iron down on Dubnyk’s blocker side to push the Vancouver Canucks lead back to 2 goals, and a late ENG from Ben Hutton would add insult to injury.
It was said throughout tonight’s broadcast and has been pushed by the coaching staff lately. This team not showing up early in games is going to bite them and tonight definitely felt like one of those nights. The Wild were chasing out of the gate and although they were able to apply some pressure late in the game they were not able to beat Jacob Markstrom in net for the Canucks. Maybe they were trying to keep some gas in reserve knowing they’ve got Connor McDavid and the Oilers Tuesday night, but really, it’s a trend we’ve seen all season and it doesn’t look like they are making any progress in that regard.
Coyle continues to struggle out there and Nino Niederreiter is in no-man’s land. It’s nice to see players like Marcus Foligno stepping up and providing some stability, but something needs to click for the guys paid to produce points and if they could figure that out in the first period that would be awesome.
We get to do this all again in just a few short hours in Edmonton. Try to get a nap in or something.