The Chicago Fluffy Bunnies came to town tonight in the first meeting between the two divisional rivals. There was a lot of offense and not much defense or goaltending, with a total of 9 goals scored.
Jason Zucker got the Wild off to (another) fast start, scoring just 18 seconds into the period. After a few more chances, Chicago would commit the first penalty of the game. Unfortunately, the Wild couldn't cash in, and Jonathan Toews found the puck with some time and space to score the tying goal shorthanded. Six minutes later, Brent Seabrook would capitalize on a Fontaine penalty to take the lead 2-1 for Chicago.
Not content to be losing on home ice, Haula streaked down the left boards and floated a pass to Ryan Carter, who buried the shot. With the period winding down, Charlie Coyle tipped-in a shot from Scandella to take the lead for the Wild 3-2.
The second period was by far the worst for the Wild. After Desjardins was put in the box for an ugly knee-on-knee hit to Justin Fontaine, Jared Spurgeon made Chicago pay with a power play goal, assisted by Vanek and Scandella. The Wild took the lead 4-2.
It wouldn't last. Jonathan Toews took the puck away in the neutral zone and led a 3-on-1 charge towards Dubnyk, slotting his shot home for his second of the game. Just 3 minutes later, Artem Anisimov broke away from the Wild defense and fired a backhand past Dubnyk to tie the game at 4-4.
Chicago dominated most of the second period, with the Wild seemingly just trying to survive.
Jason Zucker does not like tie games at the start of a period, however, and just 30 seconds in, he charged at Scott Darling and fired a shot into the net minder. The rebound fell right to Nino Niederreiter's feet, who had an entire net to aim at. He did not miss, and scored what would eventually be the game-winning-goal.
The rest of the period was very back and forth, though the visitors did get the better of the chances. Chicago did put the puck in the net, but the referees ruled that Dubnyk's pad had been pushed in. This was a questionable call, given that Dubnyk seemed to be drifting into the net on his own, even before he was pushed. Regardless, Chicago would have another chance, but Garbutt missed his shot on a wide-open net after Dubnyk mishandled a puck.
The Wild seem to have shaken their 'boring' label, instead opting for the offensive explosion. It's great to see defenseman getting involved in the offense, but they have not played well defensively, and that was very true tonight. Dubnyk did not play well tonight, but he didn't get much help in front of him on the 4 goals he let in. 2 were Jonathan Toews who was unmolested and had all the time and space he could want, 1 was a breakaway, and 1 was a power play goal during which Dubnyk suffered what looked like a few friendly-fire redirections.
The Wild take the ice again tomorrow night in St. Louis. With Fontaine injured (the team is saying it's a lower body injury), it's looking likely Schroeder will be called up for the game.