Thursday night, the Wild (3rd place Central, 22 points) lost to the Washington Capitals (2nd place Metro, 18 points) by a score of 3-2 in a shootout. The Capitals, who own the best power play in the NHL, got goals from Ovechkin and Johanssen in a game where Harding made some great, flashy saves to keep the score close.
The scoring started with a power play goal from the reigning Hart and Rocket Richard trophy winner, Alexander Ovechkin. It was a pretty pass across the goal crease and Ovechkin had a wide-open net to shoot into, and he didn't miss. It was Washington's first shot on goal of the game.
Clayton Stoner left the game early with an injury in the first period. He was chasing the puck down into the corner, when Jason Chimera hauled him down from behind. Stoner fell backwards awkwardly and into the boards. In the process of the fall, Stoner took Chimera's boot of the skate in the face. The Wild were down to 5 defensemen for the rest of the game and it led to Suter breaking the franchise record for time on ice at 36:51. The next highest Time On Ice minutes was Jonas Brodin at 29:16. When asked about the status of Stoner, Yeo said, "He was too sore to keep going tonight. He fell pretty awkwardly in to the boards. I just talked to him, though, and he said he's already feeling better."
Minnesota would regroup to tie the game at one late in the first period with a goal from Charlie Coyle. Mikko Koivu sent a centering pass out from behind the net to Zach Parise. The rebound would then find an untouched Coyle, who potted his first of the season. The Wild took a 12-5 shot advantage in to the locker room.
For the second period, the Wild would impose their will on the Capitals for most of the first half of the period. The Caps just couldn't get anything going 5-on-5. Eventually the pressure would lead to Mikael Granlund's second goal of the season. The initial shot would come from Nino Niederreiter, which caromed right to the stick of Jason Pominville. Pominville tried to corral the puck and shovel it in to the open net, but his attempt would go off the defender's skate and land right on Granlund's stick and then to the back of the net. The "Graninoville" line has been very good for this Wild club and with the awakening of the first line; hopefully the Wild can keep their top two lines clicking. The Wild took a 2-1 lead in to the second intermission.
Washington would turn up the heat on the Wild. After the Wild had a gigantic kill of Matt Cooke's slashing penalty, Marcus Johansson would tie the game after his shot would deflect in behind Josh Harding off of Nate Prosser's shin guard. The play was semi-controversial because Mike yeo and the Wild felt that Brodin was picked on the play and it went uncalled. "Good old fashioned 1980s pick," as Mike Yeo described it to the officials, "They disagreed."
Wild were upset about a pick on Jonas Brodin that set up Johansson for the tying goal. Here's the play in question: pic.twitter.com/Xq69UYrPRi— Chad Graff (@ChadGraff) November 8, 2013
The third period ended with a Wild power play that was Oh-so-close to clinching the game as Parise had three good whacks at the puck in Holtby's crease before he was absolutely leveled with a cross check from behind that went uncalled. The power play would carry over in to the overtime period with the Wild on a 4-on-3 advantage. Unfortunately, the Wild could not "capitalize" (oh, the pun was very much intended). After some good chances and great saves from the goaltenders, the game would be decided by a shootout. The Wild haven't won a shootout yet this season, and tonight would prove to be difficult because Parise could not go. He blocked a shot from the point with his hand. He had an ice pack on his hand on the bench and was trying to give it a go. Yeo commented on Parise after the game, "Parise, you know he's in awful lot of pain. He's a competitor. He's a guy who's going to score goals but he's going to block shots too." Unfortunately, he couldn't go and Coyle would get denied in the last Wild attempt to end the game. Parise did say that he was ok after the game to reporters.
Ryan Suter played 36:51 and Jonas Brodin played 29:16.
The Wild are 0-3 in shootouts this season.
Penalty kill was 2-for-3 against the best PP in the league. Power play was 1-for-3.
Harding faced 27 shots and stopped 25 for a .926 SV%
1. Despite the slow start the Wild have had in the first period over the past few games, they've managed to pick up the pace and then come out with the W. Can they keep that going tonight? They did start slow, but held a lead into the 3rd period, but no. No they lose in a shootout and the win streak does not continue.
2. The Capitals lines are full of some amazing players. Will our defense do what they can to prevent them from getting scoring chances as much as possible? They limited the Caps' shots through the first 2 periods and went 2-for-3 against the League's number 1 power play.
3. Harding has been amazing so far with a GAA and SV% that lead all the NHL right now. Can he keep his hot streak going and prevent the Capitals from scoring when he can? Too bad he lost tonight, but he still played amazingly.
4. Our penalty kill was perfect in our last game, as we didn't allow any PPGs in our game on Tuesday against the Flames. Can they keep that going against this team who has the league's best power play percentage? PK was 2-for-3.
5. Relating to my previous question, can the Wild stay out of the box as much as possible tonight? They took only three penalties, but one of them cost them.