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  • Recap: Wild come out on top in rollercoaster game against Senators


    I might not sleep for a week after that.

    After that finale, likely neither will Kevin Fiala or Kirill Kaprizov.

    Forget the ending though, let's start at the beginning and the two quick goals — 27 seconds apart — that handed the Minnesota Wild an early two-goal lead over the Ottawa Senators.

    As is best practice with Marcus Foligno, if he's heading to the net, it's best to get the puck there, and he'll do the rest. With Jared Spurgeon trailing the play, he puts the puck on the net, Foligno finds the space and tucks it in past 23-year old Filip Gustavsson.

    Before either the Ottawa Senators or we have any idea about what's going on, Calen Addison gets his first career NHL goal on a weird one, something of a tradition for Wild rookies at this point.

    Addison was part of a very active defensive group tonight for the Minnesota Wild. They were responsible for 28 shot attempts, coming close to total the entire Ottawa Senators' 41 shot attempts through the whole game. Each defenseman tallied at a point, and Addison himself contributed four shot attempts of his own, along with his goal, in 15:02 of ice time.

    The indomitable lead was cut down by one after Nick Paul tipped a shot/pass from Connor Brown past Cam Talbot at the 9:12 mark of the first period. While you could hope for Dumba to play it a little better, there is not much you can do on a bang-bang play like it was.

    It was a game of getting monkeys off of backs for the Minnesota Wild, as Nico Sturm finished a play to get Fiala his first assist of the game and restore the two-goal lead before the intermission.

    All was right in the world before the second; Addison's first goal, Fiala got a much-needed point, the right team had a two-goal lead. But the two-goal information vanished pretty quickly.

    Dean Evason and crew challenged that there was a missed high-stick when playing the puck earlier. If they were correct, the goal would be negated, and the two-goal lead would be preserved. If they were wrong, the Senators would have their second goal of the game and be rewarded a gut-punching powerplay.

    They were wrong.

    The Senators scored on the ensuing powerplay, and whatever momentum the Wild had from an energetic first period completely vanished. Along with their lead.

    The wind ultimately came out of the Wild's sails and blew directly into the Ottawa Senators, powered by another goal review in their favor;

    Coming into the second period, the Wild had a two-goal lead, were outshooting and out chancing the Senators by a pretty wide margin, and looked to have the game by the throat. By the ten-minute mark of the second, that had all but vanished, as the Senators had outshot and outscored them, handing Ottawa a 4-3 lead. If it wasn't for the second goal of the night for Marcus Foligno on the powerplay, the game was likely to slip away from them.

    It was another excellent night for Foligno, who was second on the team with five shot attempts — trailing behind only a pressing Kaprizov, led with four high-danger chances at even strength according to NaturalStatTrick.com and was his usual, physically imposing force;

    He won't be shooting 36% forever, but he's already got four goals and eight points in nine games, well on pace to shatter his previous highs of 13 goals and 26 points. He's 30 years old, a defensive stalwart, on pace for a career year, a leader for the team, and we are so lucky to have him.

    With the score tied again, it was time for the third period and Senator's goaltender, Filip Gustavsson, to stand on his head.

    In the third period, the Wild outshot the Senators 19-9 and, without the play of Gustavsson, would have been buried. Shot attempts were 34(!) to 10. The Wild held a walloping 77.36 xGF% according to NaturalStatTrick.com. But none of that matters when your goalie is on.

    The Senators held back the Wild, and, in combination with some fortuitous bounces and preferential goal reviews, they should be content with coming away with a point in the standings. After all, nothing was going to stop Fiala from setting up Kaprizov with his first goal of the season to seal the win in overtime.

    After staying on for a nearly two-minute-long shift, Kevin Fiala managed to hold off the back checker and set Kaprizov up for a one-timer that he would not miss.

    5-4, good guys win.

    Burning Questions

    Can the Wild stay out of the dang penalty box?

    Only four penalties! And one was technically a bench minor after an unsuccessful goal challenge! Not significantly below their average of five penalties per game, but still right in line with the median of a league-wide four per game. It didn't cost them, as the Senators only capitalized on the powerplay from the aforementioned goal challenge, but did that goal ever swing the game in the Senators' favor.

    The penalty kill was fine and wasn't what made the win so tricky, but it certainly didn't help to have such momentum-killing infractions.

    Can Cam Talbot get some help?

    A 71.59 xGF%, limiting the Senators to 6 high-danger chances and only 28 shot attempts (according to NaturalStatTrick.com), is about as much help as you can get. While Talbot did let in four goals on 28 shots, he managed to come away with the win. It wasn't like Talbot was useless the whole night, though, as he had some big — if not massive — saves at some pretty opportune times;

    (All Stats via Evolving-Hockey.com unless otherwise noted)

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