It appeared that the Minnesota Wild were going to force a Game 5. After taking a 3-1 lead in the second period, thanks to a Joel Eriksson Ek goal, all things were pointing to a winner-take-all game Sunday night for a chance to play in the Round of 16 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
But it was all for naught.
Not even two minutes after Eriksson Ek's goal to take a two-goal lead, the Vancouver Canucks scored to bring it back to within one. Then less than a minute and a half later, the Canucks tied it.
Poof. In 3:03 of game time, the Wild two-goal lead had evaporated and the score was knotted up at three.
At the end of the second period, Nico Sturm, who played in his second career NHL playoff game, scored his first NHL career goal to give the Wild the 4-3 lead into the second intermission. But again, it was all for naught, as the Wild did not hold the lead.
Bo Horvat scored the only marker in the third period, as the Canucks battled their way back to tie the game. The goal forced the first overtime in the series. Given the playoff experience on both rosters, Minnesota seemingly had the upper hand.
But overtime lasted just 11 seconds. The Wild season, which had just started back up last Sunday, came to an abrupt end.
The brief 11 seconds of overtime, perhaps, summed up the series so perfectly for the Wild.
A lost faceoff.
A lost puck in the Wild end.
A failed clearing attempt.
A goal that should have not been allowed.
It all added up to the final dagger in what was an underwhelming series for Minnesota's team. A series that a competent team should have won, but was lost because of sloppy play for most of the four games.
The Wild will now have a very long offseason to stew on this defeat. Not just the game, but the series. A series that they certainly had a chance to win, but let slip away after three lousy games that came in the wake of a Game 1 victory.
Where does the team go from now? That is the ultimate question.
General manager Bill Guerin now gets a full (but not really full thanks to the shortened offseason) offseason to make his moves. Does he revisit a trade for Zach Parise? Does he make a move for a No. 1 center? A trade might be the only way to acquire one. Does he go for a new goaltender? That depends on the readiness of Kaapo Kahkonen.
All questions that have to be answered. However, it certainly will be shaped by the fact the Wild will have a shot at the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft thanks to outcome of the Phase 1 draft lottery. The No. 1 pick goes to one of the eight teams defeated in the play-in round of this tournament.
While all these questions remain, there is almost one certainty from Friday night's loss to Vancouver: It was Mikko Koivu's final night in a Wild uniform.
The team's captain is in the final year of his contract, and all indications are he will not return next season. Rumors are that he will opt to return home and play in his native Finland to close out his hockey career.
Not the way anyone involved wanted it to end, but as they say, all good things must come to an end.
There are plenty questions abound for the Minnesota Wild moving forward following Friday night's loss. But one thing is certain: Their lackluster 2019-20 season has come to an end, and their star Kirill Kaprizov, now sits on the immediate horizon.
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