A slow start morphed into a flat performance that evolved into a pretty big letdown for a Wild team at home facing a Central Division opponent playing on the second half of a back to back with travel. The Wild had a chance to hold practice and get some work in and got one extra day of rest to prepare for a Central Division back-to-back of their own. They outshot the Wall 13-9 in the first, but managed only another 13 shots the rest of the game while playing from behind. The Jets had jumped out to an early lead just over three minutes into the game, and they immediately they settled into the prevent defense, and sufficiently executed it for nearly 3 full periods. The prevent defense usually doesn't prevent anything, but Winnipeg shut the Wild down as the Wild again struggled to execute in the offensive zone.
The goal came following a bit of back-and-forth as the forwards lines sized each other up. A majority of time was spent in the Wild's end with no real chances developing on either end. Then Blake Wheeler got Jonas Brodin to lay down on front of him in the ice as he entered the zone with speed on a rush. Wheeler then pulled up to maneuver around the prone and sliding Brodin. In the process the puck went up on end and when Wheeler pulled up to push the puck forward, it caromed off like
Fulton Reed's Russ Tyler's (Mighty Ducks 2) patented knuckle puck fooled everyone including Wheeler, but more importantly, Devan Dubnyk. Take a look:
Wheeler pic.twitter.com/CKPVoEqsHG— Winnipeg Jets (@NHLJets) January 16, 2016
That flutter was all it took to establish the final score of this game as both teams looked to wear each other down with suffocating defense down the middle. There honestly isn't much to say other than the Wild need to have a short memory and find all of the energy they didn't expend tonight and be ready to deploy it tomorrow night against a Nashville team that has been struggling as well.