Minnesota was unable to out-shoot a team for the first time this season and it was the Montreal Canadiens that tied them in shots, 31-31, enroute to a 4-1 loss. It what seems like a yearly tradition, the Wild play a flat, brutal game at the versus Montreal. Just ask former HW writer JS Landry about his thoughts about Wild v Habs.
Anyways, this game felt eerily similar to the Ottawa game in which the Wild dominated early, couldn't score, and then unravel defensively to ultimately lose pretty handily.
Nino Niederreiter was the best player on the Wild in the scoreless first period but even he was only able to manage a hard dinger off the post.
In the second, Montreal's Brendan Gallagher was the recipient of a Tomas Plekanec pass. He got some space after Marco Scandella got lost a little too far back and couldn't manage his gap. Gallagher let go a hard wrister that beat Minnesota goaltender Darcy Kuemper.
The Wild would get one back after a bad turnover in the neutral zone sprung a 3-on-1 rush for the Wild. Thomas Vanek decided to not shoot and sent a hard pass to a driving Jason Pominville for the score. It would prove to be the only goal the Wild could get on Carey Price, whom looked solid all game long.
With 50 seconds to go in the second period, Lars Eller picked up a loose puck in the right circle and got a glove-side wrister to regain the lead for the Habs.
Minnesota tried to make it interesting in the third period, but were matched with a great response by Montreal. The Habs out-shot the Wild 14-10 in final stanza. Jiri Sekac scored his second of the season after a goofy play (and highly controversial in these parts as the Wild are almost always victims of these types of plays) ends up with a Canadien on top of Kuemper while the puck goes in. Referee Kelly Sutherland called it a good goal because Niederreiter had pushed Brandon Prust into Kuemper. Others on Twitter maintain the net was off its moorings as the puck slid into the net.
1:22 later, Max Pacioretty, who is really fun to watch and is a good player, scored as Kuemper attempted to corral a shot that deflected before it got to him and landed on Pacioretty's stick for an easy slam dunk.
The Wild sure could use Jared Spurgeon and the likes of Zach Parise right now. Ultimately, the team must wait until they both are 100 percent healthy before they come back, but the Wild are missing them dearly. The third defensive pairing is a mess and for some reason Stephane Veilleux is still on this team. One last game on this road trip at New Jersey before they return home next week.
Prior to the game, Wild head amateur scout, and Montreal Canadien great, Guy Lapointe had his number retired by the storied franchise. It was a great moment for him, and the biggest reason the Wild have such promise with their prospects. Congrats Number 5!