We stayed up for that?
The Minnesota Wild have started off their road trip with a 1-0 defeat to the Los Angeles Kings. A game that had nothing going for the Wild except the man in between the pipes and players willing to lay their body on the line for that man.
Marc-Andre Fleury saved 29 of the 30 shots he faced, including 11 full minutes of that time being spent on the penalty kill. He managed to single handedly keep the Wild in this game for over 53 minutes, until Gabe Vilardi scored the only goal of this game in the third period and clinched the victory for his Kings.
It was a game full of disappointing performances and was certainly one that we will forget about almost immediately.
Well, what can we say? The Wild started out this game flat-footed and getting trampled all over by the Kings. Maybe it was the long trip to the west coast or not having played a hockey game since last Thursday, but Minnesota looked dead within the first couple of minutes.
After 20 minutes they managed to get just three shots on goal, while the Kings took 10 and had two power play opportunities to boot. A complete nothing period so I feel even weird trying to pry some words out of it. There was nothing — nothing! — noteworthy that happened in the first frame.
In the second period, things got a little more interesting despite no goals being scored. Stay with me, you’ll want to stick around.
So after some unfortunate early-period penalties and some missed opportunities from the Kings, things all kicked off when Drew Doughty was hacking and slashing Kirill Kaprizov, before the Wild winger eventually turned around and hit him in the face with his own stick.
This is deemed a penalty right away, but the referees huddle together to discuss whether this is a simple two-minute minor penalty for High-Sticking or it has intent to injure and is therefore a match penalty with the Kings going on a five-minute powerplay and Kaprizov will get kicked out of the game. Guess what option they chose? Yeah, Kaprizov was kicked out of the game for this “intent to injure” action and will also automatically get a conversation with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety for a potential suspension and/or fine.
This feels like some overkill, but what can you do? It had to either be a two-minute minor or a match penalty and the officials deemed it worthy of something more than a simple penalty.
Worst of all though, Doughty decided to celebrate Kaprizov leaving in his own way.
Oh, you stupid asshole.
Without Kaprizov, the Wild were pretty flat offensively. Trying and trying to try and not allow a goal and hopefully manage something on the counterattack. Eventually, that was not enough without their best and most dynamic player and the home team pushed hard enough to break open the scoring.
After the Wild blocked over 20 shots and the Kings still managing to get over 20 shots on goal themselves, the dam had to burst open eventually and unfortunately, it was before the referee blew the final whistle.
With the one-goal lead, the Kings just kept it easy and breezy, shoving away the Wild’s attempt at an equalizer with an empty net, keeping the score line the way it was after the single score and Minnesota walks away without a point.
Next, it’s the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday, with some more hope to at least get something out of it.
How will Greenway look on his return?
Jordan Greenway was on the ice for 24 shot attempts and only four shots were attempted by Wild players during that time, as well. If that doesn’t say “poor performance” then how about the fact that Greenway did not get to attempt a single shot and his biggest achievement this game was blocking two shots?
He will need some time to get back into the swing of things, this being his first full game this season, but this is a rough start.
How about a return to the power play dominance?
They had one power play opportunity and it did not get to feature Kirill Kaprizov. That’s a write-off.
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