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  • Jets get afterburned by Wild 5-1 in preseason finale


    The Minnesota Wild closed out the preseason with a 5-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets at Xcel Energy Center on Saturday night. With the Wild dressing its likely opening night roster, the Wild got goals from five different players and scored twice on the power play to get the win. Minnesota finished the season with a 3-3-0 record before the regular season starts on Thursday night in St. Louis against the Blues.

    In a game that got increasingly physical as time went on, the Wild looked like they were starting to play for each other and gel after a long two weeks of training camp.

    Minnesota dominated the shot category early in the first period as they didn’t allow the Jets to get their first shot on goal until the 11:41 mark of the period. That wasn’t without the Jets trying as Wild goaltender had to make a diving poke check to negate a Nikolaj Ehlers breakaway in the first minutes of the game. This came right after Mikko Koivu was stopped by Michael Hutchinson on a 2-on-1 chance.

    Jason Zucker drew a cross checking penalty from Tyler Myers and the Wild got their first chance with the man-advantage. Charlie ended up digging the puck out of the skates of a Jets player near the left point. He then sent a pass to an open area of the ice where Jared Spurgeon was able to tee up a one timer. The puck then ended up in the back of the net off of Zach Parise’s stick for the early 1-0 lead.

    Joel Armia would tie the game after winning a faceoff and sneaking behind defenseman Mike Reilly to tap in the puck past Dubnyk. Joel Eriksson Ek was tossed out of the faceoff dot and Jason Zucker was forced to take the draw that he ultimately lost. Zucker, Eriksson Ek, and Christoph Bertschy made up Minnesota’s fourth line and got scored on, which head coach Bruce Boudreau explicitly said yesterday he did not want to happen. “The one thing about a fourth line is they can’t get scored on, especially in your own home building,” Boudreau said after yesterday’s practice.

    The Wild and Jets went into the intermission in a 1-1 tie.

    Both teams were scoreless in the second period, but the play slowed down while the physicality went up. Matthieu Perreault drove the net and ran into Dubnyk and Parise took exception. Jason Pominville had hit Alexander Burmistrov hard in early in the game as well. Overall the game became more like a Jets/Wild game that is par for the course.

    Minnesota got the benefit of five power plays in the game and capitalized on two of them, while another was scored just after time expired. Mike Reily, who is vying for a spot on the roster, let go a slap shot that beat Hutchinson after appearing to go in off of skate out front. Mikael Granlund was providing the traffic in front.

    “I don’t expect [the fourth line] to score three goals...but if they chip in goals, that’s great,” Boudreau went on to say about his expectations of his fourth line yesterday. Christoph Bertschy followed up Reilly’s goal by breaking down the left side after Zucker forced a turnover and fed it over to Bertschy. "I think I gave everything I had,” Bertschy said after the game hoping his nifty back-hander was key to getting a spot on the Minnesota roster.

    Five minutes later, Marco Scandella unleashed a Howitzer from the left point so hard that it looked like Michael Hutchinson tried to avoid it at all costs. The goal came two seconds after a roughing double minor to Ben Chiarot expired. Coyle then finished the scoring for the night when Eric Staal fed him on the weak side for a one timer. It was just a beauty of a pass. Parise, Coyle, and Staal all ended up on the score sheet which is hopefully indicative of that line - which was a beast possession-wise all night - is gelling just as the Wild looks toward the regular season.

    A scrum broke out at the horn after Adam Lowry let go a hard shot on Dubnyk. The teams did a little waltz before they departed for their respective locker rooms. The two teams meet a week from tonight’s game and the chippiness could set the stage for a physical match up back home at Xcel Energy Center.

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