The first period started off slow for the Wild. Being hemmed in its own zone for the first five minutes of the first period, Harding stood tall to keep the puck out of his net. The Wild didn't get their first shot until Koivu unleashed a one-timer from the right face-off dot. The Wild would march to the sin bin throughout the period, giving the Devils three power plays. While the Wild penalty kill looked good on their opportunities, the Wild absolutely need to stop that trend.
A scary moment early in the first when Torrey Mitchell tripped, Devils rookie playing in his first game, Jon Merrill into the boards. Merrill fell and slid hard into the lower part of the boards - the part that doesn't have any give - and was very slow to get up and went immediately to the locker room. Mitchell went to the box for two minutes for the trip. Some fans don't agree with the call, but I would call it a slew foot. We wish Merrill all the best and hope he makes a speedy return.
Minnesota would score first with Mikael Granlund's first of the season. The assists went to Niederreiter and Pominville. The goal would extend Granlund's point streak to five games. The scoring from the "Graninoville" line is a welcome surprise. Minnesota would head into the first intermission ahead 1-0.
The second period started with Keith Ballard in the box. With a successful kill (the PK ended 3-3 for the game) the Wild would eventually get their own chance on the power play. Minnesota could not capitalize but did finally generate good offensive zone time and pressure that would lead to the Wild's second goal. The goal would be credited to Torrey Mitchell, but the work was all done by Zach Parise. Parise received a Ryan Suter pass all alone to the right of Schneider. Knowing that he had nothing to really shoot at, Parise would chip the puck across the goal mouth and it would bounce around until eventually bouncing into the net off of Marek Zidlicky.
The third period would bring gifts in the form of a Dany Healtey goal. Yes, that's right - a Dany Heatley goal. "If he didn't score that goal tonight, I'd still sit here and say that he played his best game of the season tonight," Yeo said about Heatley. He scored his second of the season on a deflection from a shot from the point by Keith Ballard. Nino Niederreiter would be credited with the second assist on Heatley's goal. With three minutes left in the game, the Devils would pull Schneider in favor of the extra attacker. Pominville would extend his 4-game goal streak with an empty-netter. Niederreiter would get another assist for a total of three on the night. Niederreiter has been playing very well this season and is finally starting to click on the second line with Granlund and Pominville. When all was said and done, Harding would quietly cinch the game with his second shutout of the season.
Final Score 4-0
Harding with 2 shutouts on the season, is 7-2-1, 6-0-0 at home with 1.06 GAA; 1.11 GAA overall.
Wild are winners of 5 of their last 6 games.
Niederreiter had his first multipoint game of his career with 3 assists.
Granlund has totaled 11 points (1G-10A) in 15 games and has a 5 game point streak.
Pominville has a team-leading 10 goals on the season and currently is on a 4-game goal streak.
Wild was 72.2% in the face-off dots - 3rd best percentage in team history. 13-13 in the 3rd period.
Granlund, Niederreiter, Pominville have combined for 9 Goals & 11 Assists in the last 5 games.
1. How does Zach Parise fare in his first game against his former team? He played with energy all night and tallied an assist tonight.
2.The Devils are a not very good team. Can the Wild run away with the game, or do they play down to the Devils level? After starting slow, the Wild sure did and shut the Devils out 4-0
3. How many sick plays do Granny and Pommer make tonight? Sick plays? Please. These guys are all business. 2 goals from them tonight.
4. Overall play has been up and down for the Wild lately. Do they put on a good game, or does everyone level early? It was still a bit up and down, but the Wild really took control in the 3rd period.