The Wild faced off in Winnipeg tonight at the MTS Center. By the end of the game, it became the Empty Center with the Wild kids leaving the building with a 4-1 win against a Jets line-up that started a lot of its NHLers. It was a game that will help set the tone for the new Winnipeg/Minnesota rivalry in the new Central Division.
The first goal came off of the stick of the Wild's Mathew Dumba right after Nino Niederreiter was robbed by Al Montoya at the goal mouth. Dumba has looked pretty solid in camp this season and has impressed in 2 preseason games thus far. He was seen lugging the puck through the neutral zone (a lot like Suter does) and entering the offensive zone with possession a number of times during the game.
Offensive zone entries are a main focus of this year's camp and the Wild through 2 periods were looking good in that category.
The Jets tied the game at one late in the first period after Jonathon Blum sent a bad pass from behind his own net up to Charlie Coyle. Coyle couldn't corral the puck and turned it over. Bryan Little put it by Josh Harding, and the Jets wouldn't score for the rest of the game.
Charlie Coyle scored the go-ahead goal in the second period on a real nice give-and-go with Dany Heatley. It was a thing of beauty as Coyle had to reach a bit, but had a no-doubter to slide past Montoya. You can watch the replay here
Coyle goal (via Fel0096)
The chance was all started by Justin Fontaine's hustle back in to the defensive zone to back check and caused the turnover the sprung Coyle and Heatley on an odd-man rush.
Just 16 seconds later the Wild would crash the net and this time it would be Kris Foucault to slam it home. Kyle Brodziak and Torrey Mitchell would get the assists. It was originally scored as Foucault from Mitchell and Niederreiter, but Niederreiter was on the bench. Looks like the officials are still in preseason mode as well.
In the third period, the Wild started to march to the box. Steven Kampfer would get Evander Kane in the chops with a stick and Kyle Medvec would throw a People's Elbow on Winnipeg's Mark Scheifele upper body area including the head. The Medvec hit would not be called on the ice, but the Wild still came up short on the penalty stick and was still a man down for some phantom roughing minor. On Medvec's next shift following his penalty time, Kane was trying to stand up for Scheifele and tried to coax Medvec to drop the gloves. Medvec wouldn't have it and he would be summarily booed by the home crowd. The Jets would then try to hit and fight anything that moved after that.
The game was clinched by Steven Kampfer's long range shot in the final minute in to an empty net. The Jets fans would wave bye to their team and head home saddened that a team not starting its top line or defensive pair beat their line-up of mostly regular NHL players. Wild won 4-1 in Winnipeg and will now look ahead to face this same Winnipeg team on Saturday. The game starts a 7:00 pm and we'll finally get to see the top line in its first preseason action. Continue to follow Hockey Wilderness as we document the whole game Saturday from the time the puck drops to the final horn. Good night Wilderness from Winnipeg!