Jump to content
Hockey Wilderness
  • Wild Stumble Again in Return to Game Action, Fall to Jets in Winnipeg

    Heather Rule

    The Minnesota Wild got a chance to play a hockey game Friday night. Unfortunately for them, they’ll have to wait for another victory.


    The Wild hit the road and lost to the Winnipeg Jets 4-3 Friday night. The Wild are now 4-2 in their last six meetings with the Jets (4-3-0). The Wild’s only victory this season is in Chicago.


    “When you’re that close in every game… and come out with nothing, we’ve got to do some soul searching,” said coach Bruce Boudreau.


    The start showcased a team that hadn’t played a game since last Saturday – and it was clear. Before the first period was 10 minutes old, the Wild (1-2-2) were already down 2-0. In a camera shot of Boudreau behind the bench, it didn’t take a professional lip reader to see he yelled: “Wake up!”


    His players seemed to listen, some of the time. They scored three straight goals and entered the third period tied. But the Wild spent most of the third period with just two shots on goal -- ending up with four. The Jets got an early power-play chance in the final period. They didn’t score, but they kept the momentum and put pressure on before Blake Wheeler’s game-winner.


    Some good times

    The Wild actually had some good shifts in the first frame, particularly from guys like Daniel Winnik, Joel Eriksson Ek and Zack Mitchell. They ended the first 20 minutes leading shots on goal (13-10) and scoring chances (6-3).


    Jason Zucker was flying around the ice as well, and he set up the Wild’s first goal. With just under a minute left in the first, the Wild cut the deficit in the half when Chris Stewart delivered a huge check to Josh Morrissey. The puck squirted around the back of the net to Zucker, who found Stewart in the slot who finished the scoring play with a nifty backhanded shot to make it a 2-1 game.


    With the goal, Stewart joined some elite Minnesota Wild company. He’s the fourth player in franchise history to score a point in the first five games of the season, joining teammate Zach Parise, Andrew Brunette and the late Pavol Demitra. Stewart leads the Wild this season with seven points and five goals.


    That Zucker-Mikko Koivu-Stewart line skated well for chunks of the game. Koivu tied the game in the second as part of an odd-man rush. Zucker earned his second pretty assist of the game by sliding a pass over to Koivu who put away the backhander.


    Marcus Foligno was back after missing just one game with a facial fracture. He plans to wear a cage with his helmet for a while. He and Stewart screened the goaltender perfectly on the power play to set up the Wild’s third straight goal of the game. Foligno got credit -- after a couple scoring chances -- with a tip-in on Mike Reilly’s point shot. It was Foligno’s first goal of the season.


    And bad times


    Unfortunately, the Jets responded with some offensive pressure, resulting in a power play. Patrik Laine scored his second power-play goal of the night from the point. Koivu actually tipped it toward the goal. That came with 32.7 seconds left in the second, making it a 3-3 tie in the second intermission.


    As earlier noted, the Wild did not play a good enough third period. Eriksson Ek took a hooking penalty at 1:54. The only good news was the Wild killed that off. The Jets fueled their momentum from there. With 11:18 to go, it looked like the Jets scored the go-ahead goal with your basic crashing-the-net scenario. But Boudreau challenged the call for goaltender interference. The call was overturned to keep it a tie game. Wheeler’s skate got hooked with goaltender Devan Dubnyk’s pad, spinning him around in the crease as the puck squirted in.


    Wheeler got his revenge a couple minutes later. It came after the Wild lost the puck in the neutral zone, sending the Jets in for a scoring chance. The Wild allowed two unanswered goals on their way to their second loss in regulation.


    “We’re going to have to find a way to be sharper,” Dubnyk said. “Having some more games in a row here will allow us to do that.”


    In goal:

    Dubnyk (1-2-1) with 26 saves. Connor Hellebuyck (4-0-0) with 24 saves.


    Mikael Granlund, who’s only played one game this year before sitting out with a groin injury, is on the road trip and was reportedly a game-time decision. He didn’t play. Let’s wait and see on Saturday.

    Add another name to the injury list. Landon Ferraro left the game with a hip flexor injury, the team tweeted during the third period. Ferraro was called up from Iowa for the second time before Friday’s game. He scored a goal in the home opener.

    Special teams were notable. The Wild went 1-for-1 on the power play. The Jets went 2-for-3. For the Wild, their penalty kill has allowed six goals in 21 attempts this season, good for just 71 percent.

    The Wild have given up 18 goals in their four losses (two in regulation). It’s a pattern of 4-5-5-4 per game and something to watch for a team that has a history of playing defensively-sound hockey.

    Up next:

    It’s the first of 15 back-to-back games for the Wild, with this one a road-road series. They’ll head to Calgary for a 9 p.m. Central start Saturday night.



    Listen to Heather Every Week on the Cold Omaha Staff Pod!


    Think you could write a story like this? Hockey Wilderness wants you to develop your voice, find an audience, and we'll pay you to do it. Just fill out this form.

    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    There are no comments to display.

    Join the conversation

    You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
    Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

    Add a comment...

    ×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

      Only 75 emoji are allowed.

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

    ×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...