Your Minnesota Wild stepped into The Bell Centre in Montreal winners in three of their past four games and starting to look like they're finally finding their legs again. The task at hand, a game against a Montreal Canadiens team that has won five of their last seven and have quietly put together a decent season. Penalties would dominate early in tonight's contest, which was very physical early but did settle down after a bit. In a game where goals would be at a premium, the Wild would really need to buckle down.
The first period would come at a cost, but it wasn't on the scoreboard unless you're tracking penalties. It would start early as just 2:28 into the game Kenny Agostino would lay a dangerous, reckless, and just plain unnecessary hit on Eric Fehr. Take a gander at it here, what do you think?
Agostino would get ejected for the hit, but not before Nick Seeler came by looking for a piece of him. Both players would get five for fighting, and Seeler earned himself an instigator and a game misconduct. Fehr would not return to the game after smashing his face into the dasher. It was quite the mess for the stripes to sort out.
Ultimately, the Wild would surrender three power plays in the first period while only going on the man advantage once. The Wild's PK stayed true though, marked by a number of great defensive plays by Charlie Coyle. Coyle was having one of his recently patented great games since shifting to center. He would finish with 3 takeaways, 2 blocks and a shot on goal.
Things really simmered down in the second with neither team wanting to make that crucial mistake. The Wild would register just five shots on goal in the second to the Canadiens 11. Even the penalties were toned down with, oddly enough, Carey Price would be the only player penalized in the middle frame for playing the puck in the restricted zone.
Just before the seven minute mark in the third, fortune would smile on the Wild after Mikael Granlund picked up an errant pass from Jeff Petry right out front. Jordan Greenway would set a great pick tangling up Price and Granlund would finish into an open net. Give the assist to Petry on this one I guess.
That would be all the Wild would need as Devan Dubnyk would finish off the shutout with 32 saves on the evening. He didn't necessarily have to put the team on his back, but he kept them in it while his counterpart on the other end of the ice had a strong game himself. Price would stop 24 of 25 shots in the game.
Granlund's unassisted goal would mark the only point in the game. So, sorry for your forwards in fantasy hockey. There was no status update after the game on Fehr. We all saw the hit, hard to imagine they're not concerned about a concussion but that is pure speculation on my part. Matt Hendricks may get the nod tomorrow in Boston, or maybe the return of JEE?
The Wild will finish this four-game Eastern Conference swing tomorrow night against the Boston Bruins. The Bruins are riding a four-game winning streak after beating the Sabres on Saturday. The Wild will be bringing their own three-game winning streak into Boston, and should be highly motivated to go a perfect 4 for 4 on this road trip.