The Minnesota Wild are still having one of the hottest starts in the NHL this season, being a mainstay in the top third of overall standings since the first puck dropped, and it has resulted in a fairly gutsy 9-4-0 start. Unfortunately, the most recent match was a disappointing loss to the Vegas Golden Knights in a fairly winnable game but the Wild shot themselves in the foot, dug their own hole, and all those clichés to describe a 3-0 deficit after 40 minutes.
And just of course Minnesota comes back to make the game interesting, scoring two third-period goals, but eventually coming up short. So with that one-goal loss, we have to look back at that third Vegas goal and think about all the hypothetical (and kind of wrong) scenarios that it doesn’t happen and the Wild force the extra period. That final Knights goal was simply the result of Matt Dumba fucking up really bad, handing the puck over in the neutral zone and the red light flashing just seconds later.
It was really bad. But after the game, the defenseman took ownership of the giveaway.
“It’s going to be hard for me not to think about that one, knowing that, I just feel like I let the boys down tonight,” Dumba said after the 3-2 loss. “Just a fucking bad play. Bad play. Yeah, it sucks man. To feel like it comes down to one play and the boys worked so hard in the third trying to pull us out of that, but just fell short. I got to be better and that starts in Seattle.”
Dumba appeared fairly emotional describing how he felt, letting his team down with one simple play and the inability to really battle back from that.
At least his head coach feels that it is just something that happens, and could have easily happened to anyone.
“Yeah, yeah. 100 percent. We made some mistakes, there’s no question,” Evason said. “But, what do you say? It’s a game of mistakes, and sometimes there’s a mistake and it ends up in your net, sometimes there’s a mistake and it doesn’t. So unfortunately, it happened that it ended up in our net here tonight.”
Like Dean-o says, there could have been another giveaway by another player that resulted in a goal against, and sometimes the goaltender does rescue the play by simply making the save. Shit happens, essentially.
Dumba has been given the label as someone that gives the puck away, but in reality, he has seven recorded on the season at even-strength; Kirill Kaprizov has 10, and Mats Zuccarello and Kevin Fiala both have that same number of seven giveaways at 5-on-5. And even if Dumba leads all Wild defenseman in that category (it also means that he is given the responsibility of being in possession on the blue line, because he’s good at it) it’s nowhere near the worst in the league. Among all 223 defensemen with at least 50 minutes at 5-on-5, that seven giveaways ranks 89th. It’s normal to do that much if he’s playing that many minutes and leading the rush from the back. Dumba just does it at unfortunate and noticeable times.
Anyway, Dumba at least acknowledges it and might even learn from it, becoming even better at keeping the puck in his team’s possession.