Well, that was ugly.
The Minnesota Wild played a decent first period Friday night before getting dominated by the Winnipeg Jets the rest of the way. The Jets used a three-goal third period to put the icing on their cake for a 4-1 victory in Game 2 and an aggressive 2-0 series lead.
Amazingly, the Wild were only down 1-0 at the start of the third period, but they failed to generate any offense in the period as the Jets peppered Devan Dubnyk with shots once again. The Wild didn’t even register a shot on goal in the third until there was 4:56 left in the game and the Wild were staring at a 3-0 deficit. After getting outshot 40-20 last game, the Jets put up 44 shots in the game to the Wild’s 17.
“We’re not really giving ourselves a chance,” said Zach Parise. “Our puck movement needs to be a lot better… we’re not coming up the ice together.”
Parise ended up scoring the Wild’s lone goal, his second of the playoffs, with 44.8 seconds left in the game on the power play on a Mikko Koivu shot that he tipped in front.
Coach Bruce Boudreau was quick in the postgame comments to defend his team and give due credit to the opponent. The loss wasn’t for lack of effort on the Wild’s part, according to Boudreau.
“We’re trying,” Boudreau said. “You guys try to make it sound like we’re not trying. They played really good, and they beat us tonight. Sometimes the other team has the jump.”
Paul Stastny put the Jets up 2-0 at the 7:42 mark of the third period with a pass from behind the net from Dustin Byfuglien as Stastny waited in front of the goalmouth for the quick goal. The 3-0 lead came a couple minutes later after Charlie Coyle failed multiple times to get the puck out of the Wild’s own end. Andrew Copp scored his first career playoff goal. With about two minutes remaining, Patrik Laine made it 4-0 with his second of the series.
The Wild finished the third period with just three shots on goal in the final 20 minutes.
“We’ll find a way,” Boudreau said. “We have all year. There’s no reason for me to believe that we’re not going to find a way… Sunday.”
A game after Dubnyk tied his career-high with 37 saves in a playoff game, he set a new mark with 40 saves. He did his job in the net, again, but couldn’t get the necessary help from the players in front of him.
Just like Game 1, the Wild found themselves down 1-0 through two periods. However, the Wild’s middle frame was one in which they were outplayed right out of the gate. The Jets were all over the Wild’s zone, and with the long line change, the Wild looked sluggish and tired at times while the Jets tried to make something happen.
With 11:19 to go in the period, Tyler Myers did just that. He grabbed the puck and took a quick shot from the circle, beating Dubnyk for a 1-0 Jets lead. Jason Zucker tried to defend Myers but ended up trailing him with his only defense using his stick to try and bother Myers.
The Wild had a chance to tie it right after when Myers went to the penalty box, but much like the rest of the period, the Wild couldn’t generate much at all in the offensive zone.
A couple minutes before the Jets goal, Koivu had one of the better chances of the period when he took the puck down the ice shorthanded with Jonas Brodin in the box. Koivu’s second-chance shot off his own rebound just missed. Joel Eriksson Ek also had a solid scoring chance but fanned on his rebound.
The Wild ended the period getting outshot 14-5, a mark that was 8-1 in favor of the Jets at one point. A 1-0 lead for the Jets meant the Wild were still in the game, even if a one-goal deficit may have felt like a seven-goal deficit.
“They won the battles, and consequently they had the puck, and it was in our zone,” Boudreau said.
Also just like Game 1, the first period was a scoreless one. However, it seemed like a much more evenly-matched period than the lopsided affair on Wednesday.
The Wild started out with the offensive-zone pressure. Coyle had a scoring chance less than a minute into the game. The Zucker-Eric Staal-Nino Niederreiter line looked a little better in the first than in Game 1. Although by the end of the game, Boudreau had done some line shuffling.
They kept the Jets at bay for about the first seven minutes of the game, not allowing a Winnipeg shot on goal. They started getting their chances, however. The closest call of the period was a puck shot on net, bounced off Dubnyk and then hit Nate Prosser up high with his back to the net.
The puck deflected and hit the post. A couple more inches the other way, and it would have been a very deflating goal going against the Wild’s favor.
The Jets came back to outshoot the Wild 13-9 in the opening frame, though it could still be considered a good road period for the Minnesota lads. Marcus Foligno had five of the Wild’s 10 hits in the first period and finished with a team-high six hits. Yes, there were plenty of hits in this game, too. Byfuglien absolutely lit up Koivu along the end boards in the second.
For the game, the Jets once again out-hit the Wild, 38-23.
The final 10 seconds of the game was when the fighting broke out. First, it was a group skirmish with the highlight being Daniel Winnik sparring with Brandon Tanev. Then when the referees dropped the puck again, Nick Seeler dropped the gloves.
With 10 seconds left, Winnik was assessed a penalty for fighting Tanev (who also got five for fighting), Foligno was called for roughing and given a game misconduct in his rift with Byfuglien, who received the same fate, and Prosser received a cross-checking penalty along with a misconduct. Joe Morrow got a roughing and misconduct against Seeler.
Three seconds later, Seeler and Ben Chiarot each received fighting penalties, and Seeler took an extra cross-checking minor.
Penalties aside, this sets the table for the next game of the series. The physicality is not going anywhere.
Dubnyk (0-2) with 40 saves on 44 shots. Connor Hellebuyck (2-0) with 16 saves on 17 shots.
The Wild are 2-9 all-time in Game 2 scenarios. They haven’t won a Game 2 since 2008 in the first round.
The Jets haven’t lost on their home ice since Feb. 27.
Boudreau is now 42-45 from behind the bench in the playoffs.
Mathieu Perreault did not play for the Jets. He was a game-time decision after his injury following a Koivu hit in Game 1.
The Wild went 1-for-4 on the power play and are now 1-for-5 with the man advantage in the series.
Byfuglien finished with a game-high eight hits.
The series comes to Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul for games three and four, starting on Sunday evening.
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