Disallowed goals and high sticks haven’t gone in the Minnesota Wild’s favor this year.
Although on Tuesday night, after a lengthy review to see if rookie forward Marco Rossi hit the puck with a high stick, the Wild were rewarded with a goal to take a 3-0 lead on the way to a 4-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens.
More importantly, Rossi tallied his first career NHL point.
Rossi has struggled to produce offensively through his first eight games of the season, and his ice time — hovering around the 13-minute mark — and linemates have likely contributed to that. Typically paired with Tyson Jost and Brandon Duhaime, it’s no wonder a player as offensively-talented as Rossi finally broke the seal during a long change where he found himself on the ice with Kirill Kaprizov. Put talent with talent, and they are going to make things happen.
His hand-eye coordination may have been on display when batting the puck out of the air while on the two-on-one with the Wild’s premiere superstar, but even Rossi didn’t see how the goal wasn’t called back on a high stick after the review. “I was just praying, to be honest,” Rossi recounted, “I didn’t really see, even on the video after. I think it touched his shoulder.”
If there was any inner frustration over his lack of scoring, Rossi hasn’t been showing it on the ice. In the win over Montreal, Rossi was tied for fourth on the team with three shot attempts and had two shots on goal, according to NaturalStatTrick.com.
Although, maybe he got all his frustrations out on fellow rookie Juraj Slafkovsky.
Your first career NHL point is a big one, but how much did it mean to Rossi to finally get his first?
“I mean, a lot,” Rossi said in his post-game interview. “The first eight games, I had no points, so maybe you’re thinking too much about that sometimes. Of course, you try to play the right way. But as a forward, it’s kind of frustrating when you don’t like have points or something like that. But for me, it was important to play the right away and just continue like that because I knew it’s going to come sooner or later. I’m really glad to have my first point.”
Head coach, Dean Evason, was aware of the goal’s importance for Rossi but didn’t lose sight of what turned out to be the dagger in the win. “It was a big goal for the Minnesota Wild. That’s what the point was.” Evason continued with a smirk, “good for [Marco], but more importantly, good for the team.”
Hopefully, the point is the one that starts a flood of production for Rossi. With Ryan Hartman likely out long-term, there is some opportunity at the center position in the Wild organization. The youngsters will be called upon to help fill the void, and his teammates will be pulling for Rossi.
“He’s young.” Marc-André Fleury said following the win. “You just have to let him play, let him get some confidence, feel comfortable as it goes on. I’m happy for him.”