The Minnesota Wild found themselves on the wrong side of a 5-1 deficit after 25 minutes. After dispatching the Anaheim Ducks in shutout fashion, the Wild called Darcy Kuemper to the net so that Devan Dubnyk, who tweaked his knee Saturday night, could take a load off. Jason Zucker's first goal of the season just ten seconds in was erased after some sloppy defensive play and shaky goaltending. Minnesota rallied with three unanswered goals, but couldn't find the equalizer.
It didn't take long for Jason Zucker to open the scoring. He gathered a Jonas Brodin pass from the opening faceoff, deked around Jacob Trouba and put one by Michael Hutchinson. A huge goal for Jason Zucker, who has just been unlucky while doing most things right. He can finally get that monkey off his back.
One minute and 12 seconds later, Bryan Little answered back and the score was reset. Kuemper's night wasn't getting any easier when Andrew Ladd gave the Jets the lead for good. The Jets forward speed was just too much for the Wild to handle early. Mind you, this was a three goals scored just 3:27 into the game. Young, budding star, Nikolaj Ehlers put the Jets up 4-1 with a wrister that beat Kuemper blocker side on a 2-on-1 break. Ehlers faked a shot then wristed one past Kuemps, who wasn't on his angle.
Kuemper's second start of the season would end short after Drew Stafford scored 51 seconds into second period. Enter the hobbled Devan Dubnyk. Drew Stafford scored the Jets' 5th goal as he dangled through two Wild defenders. That's when the Wild finally started to play better.
Mikko Koivu scored on the power play on a nice feed from behind the net by Mikael Granlund. Just 38 seconds later, Justin Fontaine scored his first of the season when Thomas Vanek's short angle shot fluttered out front and Fontaine swatted it out of mid-air.
The Wild ended the second period on a high note, hoping to complete the comeback in the third period. Minnesota put 12 shots on goal to the Jets' six in the final frame. The Wild had three chances in the third with the man-advantage. Jason Pominville was replaced by Vanek on those power plays as Mike Yeo was opting for someone that had some scoring success this season.
Then at 10:41 of the third period, Zach Parise made of those prototypical Zach Parise-type goals. he fought off a check, then stripped Jacob Trouba, who really had a tough game, of the puck and wrapped it around. The puck caromed off Mark Stuart's skate and trickled over the goal line to reduce what was a 5-1 deficit to a 5-4 deficit.
The Wild got the benefit of a stupid boarding penalty from Dustin Byfuglien, who got away with a trip on Jason Pominville, but then with Pominville down, decided to use his thigh and run Pominville's head into the boards. it was stupid in that Pominville was already neutralized and the hit was not only unnecessary, but dangerous as well. With Dubnyk pulled to make it a 6-on-4 advantage, Hutchinson for the Jets stood strong just long enough to keep the Wild at bay until time expired.
The question isn't why Mike Yeo called Darcy's number for the second of a back-to-back, it's that maybe he left Darcy in just a goal too long. While it might be moot because the 5th goal was scored on Dubnyk, and had he stopped the puck, the Wild would have forced overtime, but you have to think about "what if?" What if Yeo had pulled kuemper after allowing 2 goals on just three shots. And sure, there was some serious defensive problems at the start of the game.
The Wild next play the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday at the Xcel Energy Center.