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  • Wild gut out hard fought 3-1 win over Jets


    The night before Thanksgiving is a raucous, rowdy night on the corner of Kellogg and West 7th Street in St. Paul. Not only are the patrons in Xcel Energy Center a little lubed up on Grandpa’s ol’ cough medicine, but the home team usually plays like they are too. With the Jets in town to face the Wild, Minnesota knew it was going to have to battle every minute of the game to come away with a victory

    Jonas Brodin’s power play goal at 11:13 of the third period would be just enough for the Wild to hold on to victory. Mikko Koivu scored late in the second period to get the goal scoring going in the game, and Zach Parise added an empty-net goal after Blake Wheeler cut the lead in half to seal the victory in front of a boisterous crowd.

    One line that should have scored a bunch of goals was the Zach Parise - Eric Staal - Charlie Coyle line, who had a plethora on low slot, out front type looks at the net and just couldn’t break the barrier that was Connor Hellebuyck. Parise had five shots on goal, and most, if not all, were ones on which Hellebuyck had to be excellent. Staal doesn’t look like he’s missed any sort of beat and they keep changing his linemates up. Charlie Coyle keeps getting glorious looks after glorious looks at the net. He needs to finish those chances.

    The teams skated to a scoreless and penalty-less first period. The second period was more of the same, though both teams exchanged power play opportunities in the frame. With Jason Zucker forcing the play in the Winnipeg corner, the puck would eventually bounce out to the slot off of Mikael Granlund where Mikko Koivu was there to pounce. Koivu corralled the puck, dusted it off, snapped his friends a picture, and then beat Hellebuyck to the glove side with only 58 seconds left in the second period. It was a big goal for the team, and a big one for Koivu, who hadn’t scored in the 11 games prior.

    The Jets looked to have scored on a Blake Wheeler deflection that was simply a thing of beauty. However, after a Boudreau challenge, it was determined Nikolaj Ehlers was in offside just before the puck broke the plane of the blue line.

    Josh Morrissey had struggled all night long facing guys that were shifty and speedy. He damn near accosted Jason Zucker for an entire shift that drew a penalty, and then Granlund was able to draw a holding minor from him as well. It was that ensuing power play that allowed Brodin to find space for a shot. That shot hit a Jets stick out front and deflected past Hellebuyck for the 2-0 lead midway through the third.

    Wheeler wouldn’t be denied his giving thanks to MInnesota by scoring on a power play. That power play was brought on by a phantom Jared Spurgeon tripping minor. Brandon Tanev fell on his own accord and the referees only saw the blade of Spurgeon’s stick make contact with the mid-section of the Jets winger and felt it was necessary of a two minute minor.

    With the score now within one, the Jets pulled Hellebuyck for the extra-attacker with 1:16 remaining in regulation. Staal found Parise with a pass at the Jets line and Parise skated it all the way in. He wasn’t going to be denied. Parise, whose missed time has derailed his productivity, played well all night long. He was driving the net, had five shots, and was a pest at the front of the net. Jason Zucker was promoted to that line late when Boudreau chose to shorten his bench, but felt that Zucker had played a good game and was a factor on the ice.

    Minnesota will take on the Pittsburgh Penguins on Black Friday at 2:30 pm. The Wild last defeated the Pens at PPG Paints Arena last time they met. This will be the first and only time the Penguins will travel to Minnesota this regular season. See you then Wild fans and non-black Friday shoppers!

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