Wild Recaps – The Wild Flew Right Through Winnipeg’s Jetwash

They are in a flat spin heading out to sea.

Looking for a rebound from a 6-3 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Saturday night, the Minnesota Wild had a great start to last night’s game in Winnipeg against the Jets. They could’ve been up 3-0 if a goal wasn’t overturned because it was ruled offsides when Charlie Coyle’s skate came off the ice just a split second before the puck crossed the blue line. They scored about 2 minutes later to make it 2-0 and then the wheels came off and the Winnipeg Jets scored 7 unanswered goals and won 7-2.

It doesn’t make any sense. The Wild got the start they wanted. They got a 2-goal lead. Say what you want about a 2-goal lead being the worst lead in hockey but this team has no reason to relax with any lead. They looked confused about how to even play the game defensively, like they weren’t sure where to be or who to cover. They stopped competing and winning battles. I don’t care what the score is. You have to keep competing in this league because no lead is safe. Look at what happened in the playoffs. How many multiple goal comebacks happened last season in the playoffs?

Maybe a good beatdown is what this team needs. Maybe it will show them they aren’t doing enough and they need to prepare more and better to win in the 2017-18 season of the National Hockey League. They are no easy wins anymore and they aren’t in a place to overlook anybody anyways.

You can’t tell me this team is as bad as they’ve played in the last week. They’ve had stretches against some of the best teams in the league where they’ve made them look lost. They came back against a very good Nashville Predators team to win in the 3rd period. They even had stretches against St. Louis where it appeared they had them on the run and scrambling to get the puck and clear their zone. Look at their 3rd period production and that they never quit. Before this stretch of bad defense, they shutout 3 teams in a row.Those teams were the Montreal Canadiens and the Philadelphia Flyers twice. The Habs were a mess and the Flyers have now lost 8 games in a row.

Sure, the defense isn’t as deep and they’ve had a lot of injuries to their top players but that’s hockey and that’s sports. Find a way to get through it & move on. They don’t trust each other and aren’t playing as a team. They are trying to make plays individually instead of making the good team play.

Making a pass at the blue line to a player standing still is not a good play. The puck has to get deep so you can get your forecheck going and that forecheck has to work together to make it work. The Wild has speed and some physicality to make things happen on the forecheck. F2 & F3 have to read the play and switch depending on where the puck is and where it’s going. Sometimes a defenseman will be F1 and then a forward will cover for him. It’s about working together as a team.

Defensively is the same thing. They have to work together. Communicate, switch and backcheck. Backcheck to get even with the offensive player not just so they can barely reach them with their stick. It’s somewhat amazing to see players struggle with how to play the game on both ends of the ice. If you’re a good offensive player, you have the ability to be a good defensive player. You’re offensive instincts can help on the defensive end because you know what the offensive player is trying to do. If they want time & space then you take away time & space. If they are driving towards the net, you drive towards the net. If a player can change the game with their speed offensively, they can change the game with their speed defensively.

Looking at the big picture, the Wild are only 2 points out of a playoff spot. There’s actually 7 teams with 24 to 27 points battling for the Wild Card spots. It feels too early, with 57 games to go, to be talking about Wild Card spots and the playoffs but this will be a battle all season long, especially in the Western Conference. There are a lot of teams struggling right now and really, with so many games to go, there isn’t one team that should feel safe or comfortable with their place in the standings.

Obviously, the Blues, the Jets, the Predators and the Vegas Golden Knights should feel good about how they are playing but they aren’t that far ahead that they should feel comfortable by any means. The Blues have the Jets right on their tail. The Jets have the Predators hunting them. Vegas are only 2 points ahead of the Kings and the Calgary Flames are only 2 points behind them.

The Chicago Blackhawks are in the first Wild Card spot and have started to play a little better lately. The Edmonton Oilers, Dallas Stars and Anaheim Ducks have had just as shaky of a start to the season as the Wild. You’d be crazy to think those teams aren’t going to play a role in how the standings shake out by the end of the season. Trades will happen and injuries will happen. There’s a long way to go to get to the postseason. This season might be like no other with the mix of teams in the Western Conference.

The Wild have to keep working on fixing the problems and get to playing a consistently good game for a full 60 minutes so they’re in the thick of things as soon as possible. They have the talent and the players to make it happen. It’s hard to see now because we are judging them at the lowest point of the season so far. It’s the same as judging the Blues as the best team in the league. They might be the best team right now but they will have everyone coming for them every game because they are the top team in the West and one of the top teams overall.

The Wild have 2 days before they play at home against Vegas for the 1st time and reunite with former teammates, Erik Haula & Alex Tuch. You’d think it’d be good to have 2 days between games but one of them is a mandatory off-day so they won’t get the practice time they need to fix their current problems. They’ll have to get most of it done on Wednesday. We’ll see on Thursday if we want what happened on Wednesday will change this team. Hopefully, it’s a Golden Night for the Minnesota Wild!

Thanks for reading some Clutter. What do you think the Wild have to do to fix this team?

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Wild Get The Blues in St. Louis – November 25th, 2017

6-3 the difference of a confident Blues team & an inconsistent Wild team

Coming off a shootout win at home against the Colorado Avalanche, the Minnesota Wild were looking at a measuring stick game against the top team in the Central Division, the St. Louis Blues. The Blues were 16-6-1 in their 23 games including 8-3 at home before facing the Wild last night, leading the conference in goal differential and goals for so this was definitely going to be a challenge for the Minnesota Wild.

The Wild received an early power play but that was quickly nullified by a bad penalty from Nino Niederreiter 6 seconds in when he pushed over Alex Pietrangelo in front of the net. Jonas Brodin took a tripping penalty and even though the Blues power play hasn’t been very good so far this season, they certainly have the weapons to get hot at any time. Paul Stastny is one of those weapons and he’s played many a game against the Wild. He scores with a tip-in off a pass to him while he’s standing in front of Devan Dubnyk on the power play.

Should Ryan Suter have his stick in the shooting/passing lane to Stastny instead of the lane to Blais in the middle?

This is one of the league’s latest plays with the man-advantage. Teams are employing this play a lot now. They put a player or have a player skate in front of the goalie and pass to him and he tries to tip the pass by the goalie. On this play, Paul Stastny tips the pass trying to get the puck to go through Devan Dubnyk’s 5-hole. Dubnyk doesn’t allow that to happen but the puck goes up his stick, over his right pad and into the net and the Blues are up 1-0 early.

A PK unit will sometimes give a shot to the opponent and trust their goalie to make the save most of the time. A tip play is probably not be one of those times, though. They are harder to save for the goalie because they are tracking the puck from a shot from further out and reacting to a tip happening a foot in front of them is almost impossible considering the speed of the shot, how much the puck will change directions and they have no idea which way it’s being tipped.

The Wild don’t look like they are trying to keep it from happening in this instance, though. They set up in a diamond formation to stop the Blues 1-3-1 power play setup and from the above screenshot, it looks like a good setup because every player is within reach compared to where the puck is. Jared Spurgeon can get to Stastny. Eric Staal can get to #20 Alexander Steen at the point. Ryan Suter & Daniel Winnik can get to #64 Sammy Blais in the middle and Winnik and Spurgeon and move over to either get to or block a one-time from #55 Colton Parayko on the weak side.

Suter, being left-handed, has his stick in the passing lane to the middle and he’s leaving the shot/pass lane to Stastny and the net open. Limiting shots and chances is really your #1 goal so why allow one of the more dangerous shots? He could move to his left, switch his stick location to the left and/or pressure the puck. With his stick where it is, he’s not really covering much since Daniel Winnik can get to Blais in the slot.

Obviously, you’d like Dubnyk to make that save and, most of the time, he probably does but he seems to allow a soft goal way too often. Your goalie usually has to be the best penalty killer to have consistent success. Unfortunately for the Wild, Dubnyk is nowhere near consistent right now.

A bad turnover in front of the Wild net from Kyle Quincey made it 2-0. Kyle Quincey might need to worry about having a job here soon. According to TheAthletic.com’s Michael Russo (Subscription Required & Recommended), the Blues might soon have to waive former Wild defenseman Nate Prosser but after hearing the Wild might place a waiver claim in, they decided to hold off and try to trade Prosser first. A good play by the Blues top line of Vladimir Tarasenko, Jaden Schwartz and Brayden Schenn where Tarasenko shot then there passed it from the corner on a reverse move to a driving Jaden Schwartz made it 3-0.

The Wild had some great chances of their own to score in the 1st period and could’ve easily lead the game by 1 or 2 goals a couple of times but they just didn’t capitalize on them. Is that because they aren’t the most confident team right now? While St. Louis seemed to score on every chance they got.

Down 3-0 after 20 minutes, the Wild had to play better in the 2nd and they did. Dubnyk was excellent, making 19 saves and giving his team a chance to come back. Charlie Coyle scored shorthanded with the help of an aggressive forecheck by Jason Zucker and a turnover by Sammy Blais at the Blues defensive blue line. Charlie fired a wicked snap shot past Jake Allen to get the Wild on the board and within 2 at 3-1. That would be the score after 40 minutes and the Wild needed a great 3rd period to have any chance in this game.

The Wild are one of the better 3rd period teams in the league and will never quit on a game. Jared Spurgeon draws a penalty and appeared to have brought his team to within 1 early in the 2nd period but the puck went off the crossbar and never went in the net. Then, on the ensuing power play, a pass to the feet of Spurgeon springs former Wild player Kyle Brodziak on a breakaway and he puts the Blues up 4-1 with a shot that went off the crossbar and in over Dubnyk’s glove.

Just moments later, the Wild scored, on the same power play, off the rush on a great play from Tyler Ennis, Daniel Winnik and Zack Mitchell. Ennis fired a pass to Winnik, who was coming down the left center of the ice. Winnik showed some great patience with the puck waiting for an opening to get Zack Mitchell the puck in front of the net then hitting his stick for an easy tap in by the most recent Iowa Wild callup. Either Boudreau was not happy with the other power play forwards or he threw them out there because the power play was almost over or maybe even both but it was a great play and a great response to once again get within 2 at 4-2.

Daniel Winnik to Zack Mitchell to get the Wild within 2 again at 4-2

The Wild kept battling and would score on the power play again after an interference penalty for a big hit on Zack Mitchell by Scottie Upshall. This time it was the Wild making the pass to the stick of a teammate tip play in front of the goalie with Matt Dumba hitting the tape of Eric Staal’s stick. The tip didn’t work but the rebound came right back to Staal and the Wild were within 1 at 4-3.

Uncharacteristically, the Wild kept taking penalties and the penalty-killers were maybe a little anxious to try to make a play while shorthanded. Both of the penalty-killing forwards were making a break to clear the zone when a loose puck went to Dumba behind the net. Unfortunately, he tried to send it up the boards but it was intercepted by Colton Parayko and he hit Jaden Schwartz who was all alone in front of the net and he just waited for the aggressive Dubnyk and made a move around him and it was 5-3 Blues.

Another penalty gave the Blues another power play and they struck for their 3rd power play goal of the night on a quick pass for a one-timer by Sammy Blais for his 1st NHL Goal for a final score of 6-3. The Wild were plagued by mistakes and misfortune but that’s been the case for a lot of the games this season. They’re not going to get consistent play until they fix the mistakes and start playing better team hockey.

After the game, Bruce Boudreau said “I think they’re (the Blues) a really good hockey club. I just don’t think we played anywhere near the capabilities that we’re capable.”

Next up, the Wild return to Winnipeg to face another Central Division foe in the Jets, who’ve been one of the hottest teams in the league and are currently 3rd in the Western Conference with 31 points with a 14-6-3 record (7-2-1 at Home, 7-4-2 on the road) and 7-3 in their last 10 games. Then they’ll head to Vegas for the first time to face another hot team with a great home record in the Golden Knights, who are surprisingly 2nd in the Western Conference with 31 points with a 15-6-1 record overall (with a 9-1 record on their home ice).

This is the new Central Division and the new Western Conference. There really are no easy games and for the Wild right now, they can’t think about who the opponent is anyways. They have to play their game and get to it right from the start and play a full 60 minutes and limit the mistakes. If they can do that, this team can go on a run just like they did last season when they won 12 in a row but that starts with one game and one win.

Alright, ClutterPuckers. #GetWild &…

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The 2017-18 Minnesota Wild Need to be Tamed

The definition of tame - Tame The Wild

Wildly inconsistent play has been the problem for this season’s Minnesota Wild team.

This Wild have yet to reach a consistent level of play this season. They’ve had stretches where they’ve looked like they figured it out and will get on a roll but then they’ll have a setback with a loss because of uncharacteristic play. Or they’ll lose confidence in their play and have up and down stretches during the game and have to turn it on in the 3rd period to comeback from a deficit.

Maybe that shouldn’t be very surprising considering the injuries and new players transitioning to the lineup. They made the trade for Marcus Foligno and Tyler Ennis from Buffalo and lost 2-3 players in free agency and the expansion draft. That’s 3 defensemen and around 7 forwards transitioning or still working on transitioning to the Wild’s system when you include the prospects who have been up & down so far this season.

That’s half of the forwards and the bottom pair of defenseman. Add a new defensive coach to that list and that means there were probably some changes to the defensive scheme, too. Maybe that explains the problems as the younger players & prospects have played pretty well in their roles. It’s been the veterans who haven’t brought their A-games or haven’t prepared well enough to be ready for the game. You have to live with the mistakes from the younger players who have yet to complete a full season in the NHL like Gustav Olofsson and Mike Reilly. They still need time to develop but that time needs to be in the NHL. They probably aren’t going to learn as much at the minor league level at this point in their careers.

Those are traits of a weak-minded team that doesn’t yet trust their teammates or understand the system they are playing. No, it doesn’t help that they suffered injuries to 4 of their top forwards but injuries are a part of the game and every team has to deal with them at some point during the season. The good to great teams find ways to battle through the injuries whether it’s a “next-man-up” situation or multiple players stepping up their game.

Last season, Bruce Boudreau said he thought it would take his team until Thanksgiving to play his system the right way. That meant they’d just play the game and know what to do from playing this new system for the first quarter of the season. They wouldn’t have to think about what they were supposed to do in any situation. It would just come naturally after playing that way for the first 20 games or so.

Well, look at the calendar! Thanksgiving is tomorrow and this team has yet to hit a level of consistently good play. They’ve been consistently inconsistent. We don’t know what team is going to show up at any point of the game. We know they won’t quit as they’ve shown with multiple comebacks and the way they bring it in the 3rd period.

The bottom line is they need to start games like they play in the 3rd period. Get and play with a lead. They are still one of the best defensive teams in the league. The offense hasn’t been great but that also shows a team not trusting each other or even themselves as they hesitate to shoot the puck way too much.

It was a good sign to see Mikael Granlund start to shoot the puck more in the loss to New Jersey on Monday night. He scored two goals in the 3rd period to tie the game and force overtime before the Devils scored early to force the Wild to settle for only 1 point. Hopefully, the rest of the team will take a note from that and also start to shoot the puck more and have a shoot-first mentality. Should they shoot every time? No, but they should have confidence in their shots and know when they should shoot the puck. Obviously, sometimes a pass will work better in certain situations but, a lot of times players are looking to pass when there’s a clear and very good opportunity to shoot and to score.

Tonight, the Wild are in Buffalo to face a couple old teammates in Jason Pominville and Marco Scandella. Marcus Foligno and Tyler Ennis return to where they played the majority of the 6 and 8-year NHL careers, respectively, before being acquired by the Wild. The game starts…well…right now so….

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Alex Stalock Can’t Save Everything Wild Lose 3-1 at Capitals

Alex Stalock stood on his head but the Caps wanted this one after 2 bad losses & facing their old coach

Very rarely is it a good thing to face a good team after they’ve lost 2 consecutive games, especially if those losses were bad losses where they gave up a lot of goals. When that happens, a good team will fix the problems and come out ready to play the next game. Washington lost 6-3 in Nashville and 6-2 in Colorado before facing the Minnesota Wild. The were also sure to be pumped up to play against their former coach in Bruce Boudreau and their former teammate in F Daniel Winnik and, of course, they’re at home so you knew they were going to play a lot better defense and they always shoot the puck, A LOT!!!

The Wild went with the same lines that were a key part of the great 6-4 comeback win against Nashville on Thursday night. This game wasn’t as fun but it had it’s moments. Most of those moments happened on the Wild’s end of the ice. Backup goalie Alex Stalock got the start since the Wild are beginning a stretch of 5 games in 8 days alternating between being on the road and at home and Alex hadn’t played since November 6th at Boston and hadn’t started a game since October 31st vs Winnipeg.

Alex has played great all season. There isn’t any step back when the Wild go to him to give Devan Dubnyk a breather or to keep giving the backup a start to keep him ready. The team doesn’t have to play any different when he’s in goal where in year’s past, that may not have been the case. Strangely enough, former Wild backup goaltender pitched a shutout for his new team, the Los Angeles Kings, tonight.

Washington took the lead a little over halfway into the 1st period when they received a power play due to a boarding penalty committed by Kyle Quincey on T.J. Oshie. The Washington Capitals power play is one of the most fearful in the league. Alex Ovechkin is the main reason for that but they also have Nicklas Backstrom, Evgeni Kuznetsov, T.J. Oshie and John Carlson on their 1st Power Play unit. That’s a lot of firepower and playmaking to defend against.

On the Caps first power play, they set up with Ovechkin in his familiar spot on the left faceoff circle with D John Carlson playing the point, Backstrom at the right half-wall, Kuznetsov to the right of the net and Oshie in the right slot (from the point-of-view as if you’re looking at Wild goalie, Alex Stalock):

The Wild have this defended pretty well with a diamond setup with Daniel Winnik up high, Ryan Suter defending the right side, Eric Staal in position to defend the left side and Jared Spurgeon in front of the net.

Looking at the next shot with Backstrom having the puck at the half-wall, it’s basically pick your poison once they get set up. What do you want to take away depending on the location of the puck?

Backstrom only has two options. He can only really pass to Kuznetsov by the net or Oshie in the slot but he has time and space. There’s no pass available to the point or a good angle to get the puck to Ovechkin. He could shoot but there’s really nothing to shoot at with Kuznetsov and Stalock covering the entire net.

Ryan Suter is too far away to effect either pass and if he passes to Kuznetsov (which ends up being the play), Suter will likely follow the puck and turn towards Kuznetsov and turn his back on Oshie. The Wild have been great on the Penalty Kill this season and had killed 17 straight before this power play so they are confident and it’s very easy to second-guess a play after looking at the replay multiple times from multiple angles.

On this play they had really eliminated all but the two options of Kuznetsov by the net and Oshie in the slot. The easy choice is to give them the pass to Kuznetsov but they left a slight opening for him to make a one-time pass to Oshie who then made a one-time shot to the upper left corner that Stalock really had no chance to save.

What could they have done different? Again, this is second-guessing, not actually covering a play with two passes and a one-time shot that happen in less than a second. Pass, pass, shot, GOAL! That’s really fast. That being said, I believe it comes down to trusting your teammates and talking during the play. Suter should trust that Stalock and/or Spurgeon have Kuznetsov and instead of turning towards Kuznetsov, back up and take away Oshie as an option, taking away the most dangerous shot available. Spurgeon could have trusted Stalock to cover Kuznetsov and instead of going in front of his own goalie and maybe screening him, he could’ve taken away the far side of the net. All of them can talk during the play, too.

Stalock could save he’s got Kuznetsov or tell Suter to cover Oshie and tell Spurgeon to take away the cross-ice pass to Ovechkin. Staal could say he’s got Oshie and tell Suter to take away the pass down low and tell Spurgeon to take away the pass to Ovechkin. Winnik could move down and say he’ll get Oshie and cover the pass to the point, too. Again, this is all easy to say and I’m sure they are talking on the ice and have a plan on what they want to do. Reacting to a play instead of reading it doesn’t usually work very well.

Sorry. I may have rambled on that one and that goal happened very quickly.

The Wild would come back to tie the game at one with a power play goal of their own on a Nino Niederreiter goal off a rebound. Mikko Koivu throws the puck at the net with Mikael Granlund in front of Capitals goalie Braden Holtby. Granlund tips the shot and gets another shot on a rebound then another rebound goes to Nino and he puts in the back of the net while falling to the ice in a battle for position. A goal is a goal. Dirty or pretty, they all count the same.

Unfortunately, the Capitals would take another 1-goal lead only 44 seconds later on a one-time blast from the point from Dmitry Orlov. Niklas Backstrom skated right in front of Alex Stalock as the shot was being launched and it went upper left. That shot needs to be blocked or the D-to-D pass needs to be taken away. Chris Stewart really did nothing on that play. He allowed the pass to the left defenseman that he’s supposed to be covering and he also allowed the pass over to the right defenseman for the one-time. Tyler Ennis could probably have been higher and closer to his defenseman, too. He could help take the D-to-D pass away, too. Neither of them really affected the play in a positive way.

Shots were 43 to 31 in favor of the Capitals and 22-10 in the 3rd period, also in favor of the Capitals. The Wild had their chances to tie it up, a point-blank shot from Kyle Quincey headed to the upper right corner is barely stopped by the catching glove of Braden Holtby,

So close….

and a Suter had a shot that went off Holtby’s shoulder and hit the crossbar but they couldn’t tie it up and Washington would score another Power Play Goal to give them a 3-1 lead late in the 3rd period. That goal was another crazy goal that seem to happen to the Wild way too often for some reason. Call it Puck-Luck or whatever but it’s crazy how many goals the Wild have scored against them that go off their skates or sticks into the net or to the opponent for an easy shot in the wide open net.

This one was a shot from Ovechkin from the left point that may have been a pass. Anyways, to goes off of Jonas Brodin’s stick then hits Kuznetsov’s right skate up to his stick and in.

They were, as always, some questionable calls by the officials. There was a play in the 2nd period where Nino was hit from behind and seconds late Staal looked like he was hooked while battling for the puck along the boards and there was no-call on either of them. Then, the Capitals were given a 4-minute power play when Ryan Suter was called for a double-minor for high-sticking Lars Eller in the face.

Wild Head Coach Bruce Boudreau was telling the official that it was a follow-through from Suter trying to clear the puck and it shouldn’t be a penalty. Boudreau backed off his initial thoughts in his postgame interview but I think he has a good case. A shot went through to Stalock. He stopped it but left a small rebound and Suter was going to clear the puck away as Lars Eller was coming in to jab at the loose puck. Eller’s stick gets under Suter’s stick and Suter sticks rides up Eller’s stick into his face. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a replay of it. Here’s the rule from the 2017-18 NHL Rulebook:

NHL Rule 60 - High-Sticking Penalty from the 2017-18 NHL Rulebook

He was, in my opinion, clearly trying to clear the puck. He doesn’t even know Lars Eller is coming for the rebound. He can assume that, yes, but he doesn’t know where he’s coming from to get at the rebound. Ryan Suter only knows he doesn’t want a puck loose in front of his own net and his own goalie. Is he supposed to anticipate and read the mind of his goalie and know he’s going to cover it up? That’s almost impossible and nobody really wants to be in the mind of a goaltender anyways.

In the end, the Wild played well but could’ve probably played better in front of their goaltender who saved 40 of 43 shots and kept them in the game. They need to shoot the puck more, especially on the power play. Shoot the vulcanized rubber at the net. That’s where it wants to be. When you shoot, hit the net and be ready for rebounds and deflections so you are the first player there and you can keep the puck in the offensive zone.

Alright, that’s it. The Wild face the New Jersey Devils tonight at home at 7pm at the Xcel Energy center so…

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A Wild Recap – Holy Comeback!!! Wild Attack Predators in 3rd period, win 6-4.

The Predators were the prey in a 4-goal 3rd period from the Minnesota Wild.

I watched last night’s game on DVR starting around midnight. It was difficult to watch for most of the game as the Minnesota Wild they were reacting to the Nashville Predators were instead of reading, anticipating and playing their game.

Devan Dubnyk’s shutout streak ended in the first minute of the game when Ryan Johansen scored his 1st goal of the season when he shot from a very bad angle. It went just past Dubnyk’s stick, through the five-hole and off his right leg pad into the net. Dubnyk didn’t let that stop him from having a good game in the cage, although, he would allow 3 more goals in the game.

The Predators would go up 2-0 when a shot from the left point was deflected/blocked in front and eventually went back to Roman Josi at the left half-wall and with no hesitation, he shot it again and it got past Devan Dubnyk. There was a lot of bodies in front of Dubnyk and when the initial point shot came, he may have been interfered with or he just overslid to his left, then had to flip over on his belly and get up and try to see the next shot coming. It was actually Ryan Suter trying to clear the puck but it went right to Josi. Wild Head Coach, Bruce Boudreau, challenged the call asking the officials to look for Goalie Interference but the call would stand* as a good goal. 2-0, Nashville.
*More proof that nobody knows what Goalie Interference is. Boudreau in the postgame interview: “All I kept thinking was Stewart’s goal at the beginning of the year. The guy had 6 seconds and they called it back….I didn’t think he got a chance to get settled…You just never know how that thing’s going to go…”

The Predators went up 3-0 when they scored shorthanded after a Jason Zucker turnover at the offensive blue line gave Mattias Eckholm a breakaway and he put one past Duubs with a snapshot through the hole between his blocker arm and his right side with just over 7 minutes left in the 2nd period. My question is why isn’t a penalty called when Jason Zucker is tripped at the blue line? (1:18 mark of highlight video)

No-call when Jason Zucker is tripped at the offensive blue line vs Nashville

No call when Zucker is tripped? Is it because the Wild were already on a Power Play & coming off a 5-on-3, too? If yes, that’s wrong! A penalty is a penalty.

Down 3-0, the Wild really had to start bringing it. Coming back on any team is difficult but, the reigning Western Conference champion Nashville Predators on a 5-game winning streak, is much more difficult. The Wild were going to have to change how they were playing. They had to start being the aggressors and attack the Predators. That happened once Matt Dumba scored his 1st goal of the season on a slapper to the upper left corner off a faceoff win with 3:44 left in the 2nd period.

It’s amazing how much scoring goal can change the game and get a team going. It was a different #Wild team from that point on. Nino Niederreiter would score 42 seconds later but it was called off due to the puck going in the net off of Nino’s glove. No worries, though. Nino would score on the Power Play with 39 seconds left in the 2nd period to set up a huge 3rd period.

That huge 3rd period would start with Predators F Viktor Arvidsson scored 57 seconds in to give his team another 2-goal lead at 4-2. I’ll admit, at this point, my attention went to fantasy hockey and while I was looking at stats, trying not to see a final score, I saw a Nashville Predators player’s name and it said “@ MN, L 4-6” under it. I didn’t believe it but then I saw Eric Staal’s name and it said “vs NSH, W 6-4” so I knew the Wild had won but I kept trying to figure out how they were going to score 3 goals as the time kept trickling down.

The home team Wild kept the pressure on but, with the clock ticking, their chances of coming back seemed to be ticking away as well. This team, despite their rocky start to the season, has never shown any sense of giving up in any game and they weren’t about to give up in a game against a Central Division foe at home. They kept battling and were all over the Predators for the majority of the 3rd period.

Finally, they hit paydirt when Eric Staal hit Jared Spurgeon in the slot for a one-timer to get the Wild within 1 at 4-3 (the goal was changed to Ryan Suter after the game.) Apparently, Spurgeon’s shot went off of Ryan Suter and, more specifically, his butt. Ass Goal! Haha! Roughly 2 minutes after that (1:57), Eric Staal tied the game on THE POWER PLAY after Marcus Foligno tried to make a move in front of the net but appeared to mishandle the puck and #12 was Eric on the Spot and he put the puck into the empty net.

Again, roughly 2 minutes later (2:04), you can see (& hear) the crowd start to go wild as Mikko Koivu took the puck from the left half-wall into the corner and passed to Jason Zucker, who was surrounded by 3 defenders in front of the net and, knowing he wouldn’t be able to get a forehand shot off, he turned to his backhand and fired it past Pekka Rinne for a 5-4 Wild lead with 2:55 left in the 3rd period.

Jared Spurgeon added an empty-net goal with a 150-foot chip shot to seal the W, extend the Wild’s winning streak to 4 and snap Nashville’s winning streak at 5.

Just look at the Shot Summary Chart. The Wild only allowed 3 shots from the Predators after they scored in the first minute of the 3rd period. That’s 3 shots in 19 minutes and 3 seconds:
Wild vs Nashville - 11-16-2017 Shot Summary Chart

Hopefully, the Wild learned a lesson about playing their game instead of reacting to the opponent. Maybe they weren’t sure what to expect from the Preds and it took scoring 1 goal to get them going. They have to figure out how good they are as a team and do the right things from the first puck-drop. Get the puck deep, establish that forecheck and SHOOT THE PUCK!!! IT BELONGS IN THE NET!!! THAT’S IT’S HOME!!! IT’S NOT TOO GOOD FOR IT’S HOME!!!

NEVER TOUCH MY PUCK!!!! I’m sorry. I may have gotten a little carried away but, hey, don’t blame me! Blame that Wild Comeback!!!

THANKS for reading!!! #BeWild &…

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