Minnesota had to do some tweaking to the line-up after losing to the Jets on Saturday. They called up Brett Sutter and Tyler Graovac made his NHL debut in Winnipeg Monday in the second half of a home and home series. The Wild were looking to enact some vengeance for the losses both in the standings and in personnel.
If you remember, Jonas Brodin left Saturday's game early and missed Monday's rematch, as would Mikael Granlund who was clothes lined by Dustin Byfuglien and went off with an apparent arm/wrist injury. Granlund eventually was ruled out for 4 weeks following wrist surgery during the day Monday.
The first period opened with the Wild taking the game's first five shots on goal. They were solid in the defensive zone and strong in the neutral zone in the first period. after failing to score on their first power play opportunity, The Jets would get another one after Nino Niederreiter was called for hooking. Michael Frolik would take advantage of Ryan Suter being out of position after attempting to regain his stick.
Jets up 1-0.
Minnesota would have to look for an answer in the second period. However, the period wouldn't start the right way for Minnesota. Just 20 seconds in, Matthieu Perrault extended the Jets lead. It was a case of, "here we go again" and the tension around the Twittersphere was palpable.
Then Ryan Carter found himself in front of Hutchinson all alone after Sutter made a nice play to Carter to spring him in alone. Carter made one move and got the Wild on the board and cut the lead in half. Brett Sutter would secure his first multi-point NHL game of his career as he found Justin Fontaine streaking down the right side for the game-tying goal. Kyle Brodziak also factored in both goals as well as the fourth line was the X-factor for the Minnesota Monday night.
Just 12 seconds remained when Marco Scandella scored his ninth goal of the season and it would end up to be the fourth game-winner this year that has come off the stick of Scandella. Scandella was paired with Christian Folin for the game and Folin played very well too. Both had a strong defensive game and combined for four shots on goal.
For the third period, the pressure was placed squarely starting goaltender Darcy Kuemper. Kuemper has been searching for that confidence and swagger that saw him rise last January. He played well. He made a number of solid saves and an even bigger one by stone-cold robbery of Byfuglien with 1:47 left in the game to preserve the one goal lead. Hopefully this is a game he can build upon and return to form. If there is any goalie that can return to form and rediscover his game, it's Darcy. He has all the attributes and athleticism to be good, and General Manager has gone on record to say that a trade isn't in the works.
With all that said, the Wild snapped a five-game losing streak and took three of a possible four points in these games against Winnipeg. While there is still plenty of work to be done, I think as Wild fans, maybe we can exhale and enjoy this win for now. It's been awhile.