For a team that found out the hard way just how good the Stars are at scoring, and knowing that it can't allow it to happen again on home ice just a month later, the Wild repeated many mistakes that cost a 2-0 lead late in the second period change into a 6-3 loss.
While the Wild did have the shutout going into the third, it's nearly impossible to keep a team as skilled as Dallas from scoring when you've given them carte blanche to shoot the puck. Instead of being more aggressive and pushing the puck into the offensive zone, we saw more of the same. Dallas was able to shoot the puck with impunity, and it finally paid off for them when Alex Goligoski beat Kuemper with a bouncing puck shortly after a Stars power play expired.
It got worse when Johnny Oduya cross-checked Parise to give the Wild the man advantage. Granlund tried to connect to Parise on a cross-ice feed on the ensuing power play, but the puck was picked off by Jamie Benn, who beat Kuemper cleanly for a short-handed goal. John Klingberg would then tie the game with 5 minutes remaining
That was the post-game wrap from the last meeting with the Stars. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?
Jared Spurgeon, who signed a four-year $20.75 million contract extension early Monday, scored the first goal for the Wild. He found a little space above the left shoulder of Stars starting goaltender Kari Lehtonen. Charlie Coyle then scored on an absolute snipe of a shot from the left circle some 3 minutes and change later. Lindy Ruff then chose to take Lehtonen out of the game for Antti Niemi. Niemi stabilized the game on the back end for Dallas and kept the game at two.
In the second period, Minnesota found most of its chances in the one-and-done variety off of line rushes. Only a few times did they get decent zone time. Dallas was allowed to find their game - especially when the Wild took a couple penalties in a row, and one such weird officiating move that resulted in a 4v3 power play for the Stars. That weird call coming when Mikael Granlund made a clean, legal check on a Stars player, then Patrick Sharp jumped in as Granlund tried to skate away, but the officials took both of them for roughing. it was a questionable call, but not the reason the Wild lost as it was able to kill off the penalties. The only thing the power play did was allow the Stars to settle into their type of game.
Then all hell broke loose. Jordie Benn scored on a shot from the point to cut the lead in half. Vernon Fiddler would then score on the power play after Spurgeon was called for tripping Jamie Benn to tie the game. If the Wild could have gotten out of the period with only that happening, then maybe they'd have had a chance. Tyler Seguin then corralled a bouncing puck in front of Dubynk for the go-ahead goal. What made it worse, is ten minutes earlier, Granlund had a carbon copy of a play that he was unable to finish off that would have made it 3-0.
Minnesota tried to get back on its horse to start the third period, but Antoine Roussel found a puck that caromed off a Wild defenseman to extend the lead. Minnesota never got the advantage of a power play in the game. It could have been useful, especially in the third period. Nino Niederreiter had to score the hard way by crashing the net and putting away his own rebound after a nice feed from Coyle behind the net. it was his 7th goal of the season and first in 15 games. That goal cut the lead to one and with 2:01 remaining in the game, the Wild would pull Dubnyk for the extra attacker.
Cody Eaking wasn't playing hockey, he was curling out there. His clearing attempt banked off the glass and just spun towards the open net. Spurgeon couldn't catch up with the puck to keep it from going in. 5-3 Dallas. With time still on the clock, Dubnyk would be pulled again, and the Stars added another empty-net goal to finish the game off in 6-3 fashion.
Again, this isn't really anything new to the Wild. it already experienced exactly what the Stars are all about, yet it decided to stop applying pressure to the Stars defensemen - who can be had - and allowed the Stars find their game. For a team that learned the hard way, clearly didn't learn anything. You just can't ever think that the Stars will go away, and you definitely can't give up 34 shots and 17 scoring chances. Minnesota has strayed from the defensive game it had established at the beginning of the month in these past two games. The coach even echoed that in his post-game press conference: "Last couple games haven't been good enough by our standards. This is what you worry about when you get on a bit of a streak."
Wild will now play host to the Canadiens from Montreal on Tuesday. Montreal played Monday night as well so it should be a real treat for fans of hockey to watch that game.