The Wild had been scuffling. Make no bones about it. Having lost five straight and shooting blanks, Minnesota needed to find the back of the net to make a return to the win column. In the second period Thursday night, the Wild struck first on the scoreboard with a power play goal. The power play goal broke a 0-for-25 goalless streak with the man-advantage and was just the second time in what seems like an eternity that the Wild scored first.
Minnesota was a different team after that. So this should e the pivotal moment right? Not really. The Wild up to that point only managed one goal in the last three games. Even though the power play goal was catalyst for the Wild playing better, the goal that Charlie Coyle scored with 13.6 seconds left in the second that changed everything.
Video courtesy of Wild.com
First, it was the second goal in the game, meaning the Wild would end the night with a multi-goal game. Second, it gave the Wild and Darcy Kuemper a small cushion so that if there was a mistake, and a goal was given up in the third period, the Wild could still recover and win the game. And thirdly, the goals scored in the final minute of a period are known to create momentum swings. The Kings had been pressuring and Kuemper made a big stop. Marco Scandella made a headsy play by lobbing it out to the neutral zone for Coyle to gather and score.
It set the stage for the third period in which the Kings were going to really apply the pressure to get on the board. Mikko Koivu would connect with Erik Haula for a short-handed goal to extend the lead and seemingly put the game out of reach. Minnesota maybe would have not taken the chance to get the shorty for it not for the two-goal cushion.