It was the kind of game that you hate to stay up and watch until midnight. The Wild let a 2-0 lead in the second period, and control in just about every aspect evaporate by 4 consecutive Canucks goals to fall 5-4 at Rogers Center. Darcy Kuemper allowed all five goals, most of the redirection type, and the Minnesota defense was terrible at clearing out the front of the net.
The Wild got off to a good start when Jason Pominville found the back of the net after Nino Niederreiter made a strong move to the net, which Canucks netminder Ryan Miller kicked back out into the slot. In a penalty-free period, the Wild and Canucks traded shot attempts for most of the period. The Niederreiter - Erik Haula - Pominville line show up all over the score sheet on the evening, and were even sent out as a power play unit late in the game when the Wild were searching for the equalizer.
It would look like the Canucks had tied the game on a scramble and shot by Loui Eriksson. Wild Head Coach Bruce Boudreau would challenge, and ultimately win the challenge for there being goaltender interference on the play. It was a huge break at the time for Minnesota as Kuemper couldn’t catch the puck cleanly and the puck would eventually get to Eriksson, who put it in the open net.
Pominville would net his second of the game in the second period after Haula gained the Vancouver line and fed Pominville on the wing for a shot that beat Miller. The Minnesota Wild was in complete control of the game, with a separation in shot attempts and shift after shift of dominating zone time. Then Matt Dumba took an unnecessary interference minor by stepping into the lane of Brandon Sutter. On the ensuing Canucks man-advantage, Brandon Sutter would enact his revenge on the Dumba aggression by tipping the puck past Darcy Kuemper. A minute and 50 seconds after the Wild penalty kill surrender the Sutter goal, Brodin would get collared for hooking and sit.....for nine seconds because the Ben Hutton would find the puck that no one could seemingly find and place it over a down Kuemper. Darcy thought he had the puck covered, and never saw the puck near his right pad, and neither did his defensemen.
With the Wild able to re-group in the second intermission, it would be the Canucks that would storm the Wild net. Eriksson scored with just a little over a minute into the period. A scramble in front of the net and with Kuemper scrambling, Eriksson had nothing but net to put the puck home. Fifty-nine ticks later, Kuemper would surrender yet another long range shot that got deflected. Bo Horvat got the goal, and the Canucks not only erased a 2-0 deficit, but scored four consecutive goals for a 4-2 lead.
Jason Zucker would have something to say about that. He’d corral a puck in the neutral zone on a breakaway and place a backhander over the glove of Miller. As the Wild pressed for the tying goal, Kuemper had to make a couple great stops with the right pad. Ryan Suter would then get a shot off from the left point and Erik Haula would get a stick on it to tie the game.
With three minutes remaining, Boudreau and the Wild were hoping to get a point by playing for overtime. That was before a couple bad clearing attempts, and cloud of ice shavings, and Sven Baertschi deflecting a shot from Troy Stecher to regain the lead and eventually the victory.
Defense and most importantly, the penalty, has been highly suspect lately by surrendering now two two-goal leads on the season, and it was the 3rd power play goal given up in the last two games. The coach was not happy as he explained that it felt like after the second goal, guys thought it was going to be an easy game. (Hmm....that sound like our Wild squad, doesn’y it?) Kuemper surely could have come up with a few more big saves and while there’s quite a few people that want to place that game all on Kuemps, the team took two awful penalties, then allowed the Canucks to score on two power plays, and essentially put themselves in a situation to lose the game.
Minnesota will play next on Friday as they head to Calgary to take on the Flames. These Canadian teams are all extremely beatable, and the Wild allowed the game to get away from them in Vancouver. They cannot let the games go awry as they proveed through Canada.