The Minnesota Wild had their work cut out for them tonight playing against a Dallas Stars team that needs every single potential game point as they fight for a wildcard spot in the playoffs. Plus they have their not-so-secret weapon, Jason Robertson, leading their offense.
Luckily, tonight Minnesota had Kevin Fiala.
Just minutes into the opening period, Fiala made it that much harder to imagine how we’ll be able to keep him this summer with a great goal after an incredible setup from Frederick Gaudreau and pass from Matt Boldy. (In moments like these, I think about how during Fiala’s early season struggles, I decided I had too many Wild players on my Fantasy team. I will not be telling you what I got in return. RIP me.) This goal also broke the franchise record for most goals scored in a season.
Honestly, throughout the first period both teams had some pretty good chances with Dallas barely outshooting Minnesota but Marc-Andre Fleury with some pretty excellent saves.
It wasn’t until the second period that we saw another goal. This time from Robertson, evening things up for Dallas on a power play goal, after a Nick Bjugstad tripping minor. This began a bit of a trend for the second period with Minnesota being sent to the box twice more.
Ryan Hartman (local philanthropist) then got a minor for slashing. However, Fiala is an absolute magic man and got a short-handed goal.
Minutes later, Minnesota went on the PK again after a high stick from Dmitry Kulikov. The entire state of Minnesota had a brief moment of panic when Dallas almost gained a two-man advantage after a high-sticking from Fleury??? But the call was missed? Regardless, Minnesota killed the penalty without Dallas tying it up.
Fleury had 27 saves on 28 shots after the second.
Pretty early after the start of the third, Robertson tied it up and made the game a story about dueling potential hatties between him and Fiala. In fact, Dallas came back HARD the third period and really put the pressure on, keeping it tied at 2-2 with a ton of good chances and only a handful of shots on goal from the Wild.
Regardless, Minnesota white knuckled it and managed to take the Stars to overtime.
Dallas didn’t manage to even touch the puck in the entirety of OT and Freddy Gaudreau gets the winner (!!!!!!!!!) from a pass from Fleury; there’s little I love more than a goalie assist. Although we were all secretly hoping for a Fiala hat trick, you’d be hard pressed to find me complaining about a Flower assist on the game winner. Also putting this out there: are we ready to have a conversation about whether Gaudreau is underrated?
Answers To Our Burning Questions
Can the Wild keep Jason Robertson at bay?
Uhhhh, no. Robertson has 5 goals in 4 career games against Minnesota, 2 of which were scored tonight. He was pretty consistently excellent throughout the whole game, Minnesota pretty narrowly managed to keep him from winning the game entirely for Dallas.
As entertaining as the extra-curricular stuff was against the Edmonton Oilers, can the Wild stay focused on playing whistle-to-whistle?
Lol… yes? No? Way less kicking and screaming tonight, thankfully, but the Wild certainly didn’t stay out of the penalty box – they had to kill three penalties in the second one right after the other. While Fiala managed a short-handed goal, I’d sooner put money down on Dallas not having a particularly lethal power play than bet that Minnesota’s penalty kill is on the upswing.