A week off to forget about Wild hockey sounded great, but when the players turn in that kind of performance, it's tough to not want to forget about it again. The players sure didn't shake the bad habits the plagued them prior to the break while on vacation or taking part in the All-Star weekend festivities. Charlie Coyle, Jason Pominville, and Nino Niederreiter scored for Minnesota, as the islanders found the back of the net behind Devan Dubnyk five times to best the Wild at Barclays Center.
Minnesota put up 20 shots on goal in the first period, testing Jean-Francois Berube early in just his second start all season long. Charlie Coyle made another awesome individual effort to open the scoring at the 14:43 mark of the first period. Matt Dumba and former Islander Nino Niederreiter each got and assist on the goal. But 20 shots on goal, and you'd expect maybe a few more goals. The Wild broadcast will have you believe that the Wild were "dominant" in the first period, but the Shot attempt margin was much, much closer after one period.
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It's troubling the way the Wild should have had the momentum after the first period. It was two shots shy of a franchise record for shots in a period. Then to not really come out of the locker room in the second by not getting a shot on goal until after it relinquished the lead is discerning. And you can't, can't, can't give up that goal with less than a minute remaining in the period for a couple reasons: 1) the wild just tied the game and it snuffed out any kindling of any momentum that could be had, and 2) it was within the final minute of a period, which is a hockey no-no because those early and final minutes of periods are huge momentum swinging minutes.
The Wild were hoping to make a push for tie the game, but it was the hope was squashed with Frans Nielsen getting a puck to deflect in past Dubnyk. Dubnyk looked to be fighting the puck all night, did make some spectacular saves, but the shots in the final 40 minutes from the Islanders were continuous. Almost two minutes later, the Islanders captain John Tavares put the Wild away for good with a snipe of a shot from the left circle that chased Dubnyk from the net. Darcy Kuemper would stop all eight shots he faced in relief.
Nino Niederreiter had eight shots on goal in the game. That's solid, solid work by the former Islander first round draft pick. He was able to capitalize with a goal on his last shot be scooping and scoring on a rebound from a Matt Dumba shot on the power play. Nino was camped in front of the net (where he should be) and used his body to create havoc and space for himself on the goal. However, it was a turnover inside the Wild zone in which Niederreiter was muscled off the puck in the corner that led to the tying goal for the Islanders.
After the game, when speaking with Fox Sports North, Matt Dumba stressed that the team needs to stick together, the fans need to hang with the team because they are capable of going on a run. If that doesn't scream to the atmosphere inside the locker room, then I'm a monkey's uncle.
Wild will stay in New York and take on the Rangers on Thursday. Lets hope the can find the win column in Manhattan.