The Minnesota Wild were the only team in the NHL to come into Tuesday night having played just once at home. They responded by getting shut out Tuesday night in their second home game of the season.
It was a 1-0 loss for the Wild (2-3-2) to the Vancouver Canucks (5-3-1) in a listless hockey game for a majority of the 60 minutes. The Canucks finished off a five-game road trip with a win, while the Wild failed to show much energy until giving up the lone goal about halfway through the third period.
“Obviously, we played not to win,” said coach Bruce Boudreau. “We played to tie the game, and you can’t play that way.
“I’m disappointed that we lost. Home or away, when you lose, you’re not happy.”
Jake Virtanen scored the only goal of the game with 9:53 left in regulation off his own rebound when his initial shot didn’t get all the way through to goaltender Devan Dubnyk. It looked like Dubynk was prepared to defend the first shot. Jared Spurgeon was defending and showed some frustration after the play.
It was a good way to sum up the night.
The goal came just after Jason Zucker just missed a wrap-around opportunity after taking a great pass into the offensive zone from the returning Mikael Granlund. But the Wild just didn’t generate much offense before that. They only had three shots on goal for the first half of the final period.
Granlund was glad to be back but expressed some frustration after the game.
“We really wanted this one,” Granlund said. “I think everybody’s going to be a little pissed off right now.
“We really want to get a win and get this back on the right rail here.”
Getting down 1-0 seemed to spark the Wild into a bit of desperation mode to tie up the game. They got a power play with 6:25 left, but Zucker took an undisciplined penalty a minute in, negating the advantage.
The Wild went with the empty net with 1:36 left, took a timeout to mull things over with 1:03 left and even had a 6-on-4 advantage with a Canucks penalty with 19 ticks remaining. They just couldn’t tie the score.
The Wild held a brief edge in shots in the first two scoreless periods, but the game just didn’t have much energy. Each team had a few chances. Chris Stewart fanned on an open-net chance in the first period. Eric Staal was well defended on a breakaway opportunity. But neither team really provided much in the way of sustained pressure.
“It was a weird game,” Dubnyk said. “We had a few good power play chances… but couldn’t seem to get any chaos in front of the net.”
Dubnyk was back in net for the Wild and came up with some big saves, particularly near the end of the second period to keep the game scoreless.
On the positive side, the Wild figured something out defensively only allowing one goal. That’s not much consolation when the team is shut out, but the Wild have allowed either four or five goals in their other losses this season.
Still, the Wild are a team that have prided themselves on playing solid defense. Getting back to that would be helpful, as long as it’s not paired with a goose egg on their side of the scoreboard.
Dubnyk (1-3-1) with 24 saves. Anders Nilsson (2-1-0) with 29 saves.
Granlund made his return to the lineup. He was out there for 20 shifts and 18:49, registering one shot on goal and four attempts.
Justin Kloos played 13 shifts and 8:39 in his NHL debut. He was called up from Iowa for Tuesday’s game. He took his first penalty, too. The holding call came early in the third period just after he turned the puck over in the Wild zone.
For the first time this season, Stewart didn’t register a point in a game. His eight points in six games led the team coming into the game. He was back on a different line tonight as Granlund returned to play with Zucker and Mikko Koivu.
The Wild finished 0-for-4 on the power play (6-for-22 on the season).
Fans don’t have to wait long for the next Wild game. They’ll host an Eastern Conference foe -- the New York Islanders -- Thursday night at Xcel Energy Center.
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