They say greatness requires not only skill, but a bit of luck. Luck as in few injuries and longevity. Jaromir Jagr is 43 years old, playing on a team that didn't exist when he broke into the league, and his two goals led the Panthers to victory over the Wild.
Jagr scored the first goal of the game just 27 seconds into the game. A soft play at the blue line allowed the puck to get filtered down to the front of the net for Jagr. His little backhander slipped the puck through the five hole of Dubnyk. Minnesota responded with great 5-on-5 play - dominant at times possessing the puck and getting shots on goal. However, Al Montoya was equal to the task. But even then, the Wild shot itself in the foot by killing any momentum with three penalty kills in the period. Even short-handed for 6 minutes of the period, the Wild ended up 10-8 on shots.
Jason Zucker scored just 48 seconds into the second period after Montoya made a hell of a save on Mikko Koivu's shot. The puck ended up on dropping the crease and Zucker just had to nudge it past the goal line. The Wild continued to dominate 5-on-5 play as they started to the really pile up the shot totals in the period. The Nino Niederreiter - Charlie Coyle - Justin Fontaine line was easily the best line on the ice for the Wild in the period. That line helped the other lines gain some momentum. Minnesota also saw some power play time. Matt Dumba was moved to the left circle, opposite of Zach Parise and gives Ryan Suter two options to pass to for one-timers. The power play, while at times struggled to gain and keep the zone if the puck got cleared on them, did get the puck to Dumba in bunches for a lot of shots. Montoya stopped everything though.
The Wild was 0-for-4 with the man-advantage, but the Wild PK killed all 5 penalties the Wild had.
In the third period, Minnesota again tilted the ice towards the Panther's end, but Jagr scored with about 11:08 remaining in the game. The defenseman had a bad gap at the blue line and let Jagr into the zone with ease, and Koivu failed to challenge him as the shooter. Jagr's shot came from between the circles and was against the grain on Dubnyk. Even with an advantage in almost every single statistical category, Montoya ended up making the saves he needed to make, and Dubnyk faltered, albeit from an all-world goal scorer.
With a late power play in the third period, just five minutes left to go, Mike Yeo deployed Mikael Granlund on the left circle, Suter on the point, Parise in the right circle, Koivu and Thomas Vanek in front. Minnesota only managed one - 1! - shot on the power play and it was only a measley stab at the puck from Parise, to which Montoya tracked and covered. Suter, whom ended with eight shots on goal for the night, didn't even get a shot on the final power play -one that ended up being a pivotal one at that.
Minnesota ended with 39 shots on goal, dominated the face-offs 43-26, and if there was a time of possession clock, would have dominated that as well. But sometimes you just run into a hot team with a hot goalie. As Florida extended its winning streak to nine games, its tough to figure out just how they've won so many in a row. Giving up 40 shots on goal night-in and night-out is not a recipe for long-term success.