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Wild Breakdown: How Darcy Kuemper's Shutout Streak Ended

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Where should the blame fall for the breakdown that led to Andrew Cogliano's shorthanded goal which ended Darcy Kuemper's record setting shutout streak?

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Wild gave up their first goal of the season to Andrew Cogliano of the Anaheim Ducks. The goal happened to be a shorthanded marker, something the Wild were great at preventing last season. Like most goals, especially shorthanded ones, it was a series of mental errors that led to Darcy Kuemper's shutout streak being broken.

The play starts with Ryan Suter bringing the puck up the ice while the Wild are completing a change. The smart play here for Suter would have been to circle back into his own end until the line change was complete, so he could execute a proper breakout. The whole point of the power play is having more skaters than the other team, so you might as well use that advantage. Suter does not seem too concerned about the lack of numbers, and so it ends up being a three player breakout with Mikko Koivu on Suter's left and Mathew Dumba going up the wall near the benches. Suter moves the puck to Dumba who has a little bit of space along the wall to carry the puck.

At this point, Dumba has the option to win the race along the wall and carry it in, or to dump it in hard around the boards so that Koivu might have a chance to recover the puck. Bringing the puck into the zone with two guys really limits the options here. Dumba makes the right choice in my opinion, and carries the puck into the zone.

Below is the entire failed zone entry in gif form.

Dumba wins the race up the wall and appears to have enough space to complete the carry in. Devante Smith-Pelly does a great job making a sweeping poke check and hooks the puck off of Dumba's stick. At this point, Cam Fowler jumps on the puck and attempts to clear it out of the zone. Thomas Vanek joins the play from the bench and does a great job to hold the puck in at the blue line. Unfortunately, that's the only positive effort Vanek contributes on this shift.

Now, all three Wild players that had originally started the breakout are caught along the boards, not really in any position to receive a pass. Niederreiter has come off the bench and smartly stayed on the wide side of the ice to make himself an option. As Vanek keeps the puck in at the blue line he does not have the time to move it to Niederreiter, which appears to be the best option in this case. He decides to just throw the puck into Koivu and Suter's area, and head to the middle of the ice for a give and go (maybe?). He sort of just drifts off of the blue line. I'm not too sure if he actually had a plan. The problem here is both Suter and Koivu thought Fowler's original clearing attempt was heading out of the zone, so they have already started to retreat from their offensive positions and have little interest in being Vanek's passing partners. With Vanek vacating his position as last man back on the blue line, the Wild have all five players committed to the offensive zone without having control of the puck. Vanek's pass does in fact end up on somebody's stick, it just so happened to be held by a guy in a black jersey. Fowler gets a second crack at moving the puck out of the zone here, and sends an area pass out to the neutral zone where Cogliano is able to pick up the puck and walk in on Kuemper all alone. (He scored.)

Hearing people cast the blame on Dumba for this goal blows my mind. He was forced to enter the zone with almost no help because Suter chose to carry the puck up the ice before the line change was complete. The turnover Dumba commited upon entering the zone would have been a complete non-factor if Vanek had made a proper decision as the last man back to get the puck deep. It's often easy to blame the young kid when things go awry, but this goal was a result of multiple bad decisions by veteran players.