It was not exactly a stellar opening night performance from the Minnesota Wild. Especially not for a team with aspirations to spoil opening night for Detroit, who was opening Little Caesars Arena on Thursday night. While the Wild were able to erase a 2-0 deficit early in the third period, they gave up two goals later on to lose 4-2.
Here are the ten most impactful plays from that 4-2 loss.
17:19 remaining - Wild appear to score, as a net-mouth scramble was reviewed. But after review, it was determined no goal due to goaltender interference.
Marcus Foligno appears to be the lucky recipient of the Wild's first goal of the year, as he crashes the net and the puck deflects off him and clearly crosses the line. However, the officials on the ice and in Toronto determined that Foligno was interfering with Jimmy Howard and the goal was not allowed. It was a tough break for the Wild, as a goal that quickly into the game might have settled some opening-night jitters and allowed them to relax and totally dominate a very weak Red Wings team.
13:45 remaining - Devan Dubnyk robs Gustav Nyquist
After the Wild dominated play early, Nyquist gets away from the Minnesota defense on a breakaway. It would be very Wild to control play and then, boom, the opposition quick comes down and score, but that was not the case. Devan Dubnyk makes a highlight-reel save, as he sprawls out and gets a blocker on the shot to keep Detroit off the board. It was a huge confidence booster -- or so it seemed -- for the Wild, as Dubnyk appeared to be locked in.
7:01 remaining - Ryan Suter scores on a wrist shot, but the goal was again waved off due to goaltender interference
Howard is lucky this goal was called off, because he absolutely needs to make this save. Good news for Howard, is that the referees and Toronto deemed that Mikael Granlund did interfere with Howard by getting an elbow on him as he went by the net. A second goal of the period is wiped out for Minnesota, as they should have been up, 2-0. It was quite a deflating feeling to have two goals taken away to open the game, on opening night.
[Note: Good lord at the amount of time spent in the first period on challenges]
16:53 - Mikko Koivu misses an empty net
With a 5-on-3, Mikko Koivu is gifted a pass from the point and has an empty net to shoot at. He more than likely will be thinking about that for the next day, as he shot it through the crease and into the corner. In the minds of most Wild fans, this should have been a third goal for the Wild to give them a 3-0 lead, and instead, it was still a scoreless game. The Wild did not convert on this two-man advantage or the rest of the power play, which allowed the Red Wings to hang tough with the Wild.
5:20 remaining - Anthony Mantha cleans up a rebound to make it 1-0 Detroit
A cross-check on Matt Dumba and a trip on Daniel Winnik gave Detroit a 5-on-3, and the Wings were finally able to score the first goal in Little Caesars Arena history. Anthony Mantha cleaned up a rebound to give the home team the lead. With goals taken away and missed opportunities, you could see this coming. Detroit was going to score first, it was just a matter of when.
4:57 remaining - Dylan Larkin redirects a shot home, 2-0 Wings
Twenty-three seconds after the Mantha goal, Dylan Larkin redirects a shot from the slot on the power play to double the lead. It was a crushing goal for the Wild, who weren't exactly full of life in the middle part of the second period. Howard had also settled in nicely in goal, so there wasn't exactly much confidence that the Wild was going to be able to erase this deficit.
18:00 remaining - Joel Eriksson Ek puts the Wild on the board
Two minutes into the second period, Joel Eriksson Ek pots the Wild's first goal of the season on a good centering pass from Chris Stewart. Great start to the period, as the Wild were able to get on the board early which is always a great momentum shifter in hockey.
17:12 remaining - Stewart Ties The Game
Did this Stewart shot ever leave the ice? Stewart takes a great behind the back pass from Tyler Ennis, and skates out front of the net and beats a sprawled out Howard. It's not even three minutes into the second period, and Minnesota's fourth line was able to net two goals to tie the game. This was great news for the top-six, who had not been heard from as of yet in this hockey game. Everything was looking Wild at this point, as this appeared to be the point where they just take off.
12:53 remaining - Henrik Zetterberg scores from the slot
Minnesota didn't exactly capitalize on the two quick goals, as Detroit pushed back quickly after. The Red Wings were the ones who ended up capitalizing, as Henrik Zetterberg was left alone in the slot and he beats Dubnyk to put Detroit back out front. Bruce Boudreau was correct in saying after the game his team "took their foot off the gas," as the lack of energy from the Wild after tying the score came back to burn them.
9:21 remaining - Martin Frk blasts one by Dubnyk
Oof. At first glance, this is one Dubnyk probably wants back, as Martin Frk just puts one through the Wild goaltender. But upon further review, it appears that Dubnyk was screened via both Dumba -- why is he up at the point -- and Eriksson Ek. Again, this is a back-breaking goal -- this time for real -- as Detroit went back out ahead by two goals. The Wild did get some good looks to get back on the board later in the period, but they were denied by Howard, who had a surprisingly solid night in net. Frk's goal was the final nail in the coffin, and dealt Minnesota its second consecutive opening night loss.
Let's check in with Boudreau for his thoughts on the opening-night loss: