The Wild and Devan Dubnyk had to weather the storm as it took a while for them to find their legs. But once they did, they were able to squeak out a 2-1 shootout victory over John Tavares and the New York Islanders. Zach Parise scored the game-tying goal and the shootout goal to secure the win.
New York put a barrage of pucks towards Dubnyk as the Wild reeled in their defensive zone. At one point shots were 13-2 with shot attempts 23-2 midway through the first period. Dubnyk stopped all of them as the two teams skated to a scoreless first period.
In the second period, Minnesota did start getting more zone time. They were able to get pucks deep and were much better through the neutral zone. it was a much more even period as both teams got 12 shots aside. Justin Fontaine shot just wide after a Thomas Vanek shot bounced around in front of Jaroslav Halak's goalcrease. It was the best chance the Wild had up to that point. Vanek was very good in the game for the Wild as he had four shots on goal. Jordan Schroeder made quite the statement re-entering the line-up after being a healthy scratch for 8 games since the trade deadline. He had four shots of his own and had Parise trying to feed him the puck for what could have been the game-winner in overtime.
John Tavares scored for the Islanders right after a Wild penalty expired at the 19:36 mark of the second period. Tavares got the initial shot off and Kyle Okposo was whacking away at the puck as Dubnyk attempted to cover and freeze. Taveres then corcled around the net, got a couple whacks of his own, and fluttered one over the left pad of Dubnyk. Dubnyk was not happy and ruined a stick on the post.
Minnesota finally showed some signs of life in the third period. The Wild were able to get 12 shots on goal with 26 shot attempts as they pressured to tie the game. Jason Pominville, Mikko Koivu, and Zach Parise were reunited during the third period partly due to that line needing a spark, and mostly due to Mikael Granlund's ineffectiveness. Granlund was a -16 in Corsi differential, took a bad penalty in the offensive zone that precipitated the Islanders' goal, and was 5 for 16 in the face off dots. It was a good thing that line was assembled too. Koivu was in on the forecheck, dished it to Pominville, who then passed across the ice to Parise for a hard wrist shot. Halak made the initial save, but Parise got his own rebound for the tying goal.
The Wild and Isles would skate to overtime for a necessary point. Overtime was back and forth and up and down. Vanek got stopped by Halak on a breakaway and Dubnyk stone-cold robbed Johnny Boychuk with and impressive glove save.
it would take a shootout to settle this one. Franz Nielsen wasn't able to squeeze one under the right pad of Dubnyk. Parise's wrist shot hit the post and caromed in off the back of Halak. Okposo couldn't convert as the puck rolled off the toe of his stick. Mikko Koivu had his patented backhand shelf sail high and wide because Halak made a poke check and forced Koivu to get his shot off out of position. Then Dubnyk shut the door on Tavares to secure the win.
Minnesota won its franchise record 10th consecutive game on the road. Parise scored his 29th of the season. After getting badly out-played and out-chanced in the first period, shots were 38-32 in favor of New York.
It looked like the Corsi counter for the Wild was broken throughout the first period. It was an onslaught for the first 20 minutes. As the game progressed, and especially after the Islanders took the 1-0 lead, the Wild really took control and the Islanders were more reserved to try and sit on their lead.
Here's the scoring chances chart:
Things really tilted in the Wild's favor in the third period.
Minnesota will now come home and face the Calgary Flames on Friday. Here is the most up-to-date standings as of this publishing:
Minnesota is also three points behind the Chicago Blackhawks for third in the Central Division with eight games remaining, including a game between the Blackhawks and Wild.