The last time the Wild were in an overtime game, the Wild made strategic changes and it led to a coast-to-coast game-winning goal by Matt Dumba. Matt Dumba would be the hero again as the Wild captured the second point after allowing the Ducks to tie late in the third period. Jason Zucker and Zack Mitchell gave the Wild the lead after two periods and Devan Dubnyk made 26 saves in the victory.
Minnesota pressured early and had decent zone time in the first period. However, that zone time just didn’t translate into shots-on-goal. After Nino Niederreiter hit the post on a wide open chance, the Wild would be credited with just one, solitary shot nearly eight minutes into the game. Meanwhile, the Ducks had six in the same amount of time. The Ducks got on the board first when something called Kevin Roy took a shot from low in the left faceoff circle with Antoine Vermette screening Dubnyk. Dubnyk’s five-hole was gaping and the puck found its way through. Wild got out of the period down by just the one goal and outshot 12-8.
The Wild have been better in the second period of late. After head coach Bruce Boudreau leaned on the Wild’s analytics department for tweaks to the overtime strategy, Boudreau has also taken some ideas from them for help in the middle stanza. After spending all of the first period and most of the second period skating in circles along the perimeter, Mikael Granlund would set up Jason Zucker for a beautiful goal to tie the game at one. Granlund skated the puck over the Ducks’ line, but delayed just inside the line. This allowed things to open up a bit as the Ducks allowed their gaps get too big, and Zucker just beat his guy to the lane. Zucker just needed to place a backhander past John Gibson for the tally.
Minnesota wasn’t done in the frame. Just over two minutes later, Zack Mitchell would net his third goal of the NHL part of his season. Mitchell, who was playing very well in Iowa with 16 points in 11 games, has been a pretty decent addition to the 4th line. When he can add some scoring, it helps cement his spot in the line-up. Mitchell and Daniel Winnik got physical on a dump-in and separated the Ducks defenseman from the puck. Winnik sent the puck up the boards to the right point for Nate Prosser. Prosser wasted no time at all and got the puck on net immediately. The puck would hit Marcus Foligno in front of Gibson, but as players fought for the puck on top of the crease, the puck would squeak out to the left for Mitchell to deposit into the net.
The Wild penalty kill looked broken a week and a half ago. After getting demolished by the St. Louis Blues and the Winnipeg Jets, the road back to having a reliable PK has been long. Minnesota killed all three of the Ducks power plays and surrendered only five shots with the one-man disadvantage. While the Ducks’ first goal was scored with Ryan Suter just a step back on to the ice after the power play expired, it still counts as a successful PK. A big kill was early in the third period with Jonas Brodin in the box in which Minnesota gave up just one shot on goal and hardly allowed the Ducks to get set up in the offensive zone.
However, the Wild did give up the game-tying goal. Adam Henrique...yeah, that Adam Henrique, scored with out six minutes remaining in the game. The former Devil was gift wrapped a goal in this season of giving when Corey Perry was hooked by Niederreiter and fell, taking out two Wild players in the process. Perry had his wits about him in the prone position to sweep the puck to Henrique on the other side of the goalmouth for an easy slam dunk goal.
It was unfortunate too as the Wild outshot the Ducks 12-6 in the third period to control period most of the way down the stretch. It would head to overtime after Minnesota secured a much-needed point in the standings. Overtime was mostly slow and plodding, partially because the Ducks were more worried about puck possession rather trying to score. Minnesota was able to take the the few chances by the Ducks and turn it into offense. The Wild had the best opportunities in the period and put four shots on Gibson. Matt Dumba was end up getting the puck in the left offensive circle for a one-timer. Only, he didn’t shoot a one-timer, and instead took the open ice in front of him to the net and slid the puck past Gibson for the game winner.
The Wild would end 0-for-2 on the power play, finish with a 31-28 shot advantage, and ended nearly in a dead-heat at the faceoff dots. Here are some notable stats provided by the Minnesota Wild PR staff:
The Wild will now head north to the Bay Area to take on the San Jose Sharks on Sunday night. Alex Stalock got his start with the Sharks and will likely get the nod in net Sunday. The Sharks are the best defensive team in the NHL having only given up 64 goals all season. Finally, Matt Cullen was a healthy scratch for the first time this season. Boudreau made it sound like he was doing him a favor by giving him a rest with more games coming up, after saying that Cullen will play Sunday in San Jose. The fact of the matter is, as much as Cullen is a great 4th line guy at this stage of his career, he hasn’t been particularly good to start the season. I’d expect Cullen to have a good game agains the Sharks.
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