Like any good story, we need to start at the beginning. There are plenty of moments to consider. The team was firing on all cylinders for nearly the entire game. But, in the end, we have to hand it to the power play. Special teams has been a sore spot for Wild. Last night against the Vancouver Canucks, the Wild were given 5 opportunities with the extra man, and converted on 3 of those.
Who knew, a team starved for PP life could turn it up a notch? But I digress.
So, how did it all happen? 3 power play goals in one night is pretty extreme, and for a lot of it, we need to thank Charlie Coyle for his hard work and drawing 2 of the penalties from which PP goals were scored. The first one, very clearly holding at the 4:50 mark on Coyle as has tries to escape a Canucks defender Ben Hutton behind the net.
Pretty easy call for the stripes to make. I mean, the guy was literally 2 feet in front of Coyle looking right at him. You cannot possibly miss that. So Coyle puts in the dirty work, which puts the Wild up a skater when Thomas Vanek capitalizes on the situation with a nice feed coming across the ice from one Zach Parise.
Easy as 1 - 2 - 3.
That got everything started for the Wild. They were not done though. At the 5:12 mark of the 2nd period, Coyle again would draw a penalty by splitting the Canuck defenders giving Yannick Weber no options but to hook Coyle or allow him in on Ryan Miller 1-on-1. Charlie Coyle was working his tail off through much of the game and the Wild benefited from his efforts immensely.
Coyle is playing like a man possessed at this point. Ultimately he would not be rewarded on the score sheet, but his hard work through the slot here would put the Wild up an extra skater once again, and this time it was Parise who would take 3 whacks at the puck while being left alone low on Miller's right side. Just incredible effort from Captain America on this play.
Man that was pretty. Parise squeezes that 3rd shot from a sharp angle past Miller, through Alexander Edler's legs and into the goal. Give me a second, I'm going to watch that again.
The Wild's 3rd PP goal would come Jared McCann would be flagged for high sticking Parise off the draw. He would draw blood, causing the penalty to be a double minor. This happened while the teams were actually playing some 4-on-4 hockey after Nate Prosser and Derek Dorsett would get matching double minors for roughing. Parise was battling for a loose puck right off the faceoff when McCann would move to lift Parise's stick, miss, and smack the Wild winger right in the chin.
It certainly looks innocuous. Parise goes down in quite a lump on the ice and is slow to get up (presumably so he could slice his chin with the razor blades in his gloves), but that put the Wild on a big advantage, skating 4-on-3 over the Canucks and getting the Wild their 3rd PP goal of the evening. Who would score for the Wild this time? Ryan Suter, with his 5th goal on the season.
Suter flicks that puck on net, and it had eyes. It certainly didn't hurt that Vanek had planted his big body right in front of Miller, screening him from knowing there was even a shot coming until after the horn was blowing. The power play was on fire last night for the Minnesota Wild, which is why it has been selected as last nights pivotal moment.
FUN FACT: Last night Marco Scandella had more time on ice than Ryan Suter, pulling in 23:01 to Suter's 22:21. It's the first time Suter wasn't your minutes leader (among non-goalies) for the Wild since March 21, 2015 when Matt Dumba registered 1 second more than Suter in a 6-3 victory over the St. Louis Blues.