Minnesota missed an opportunity to create more space and pull within two points of the Nashville Predators, who currently occupy the first wild card spot in the Western Conference. Cody Ceci's centering pass at 16:03 of the third period deflected off Erik Haula's skate and past Devan Dubnyk to beat the Wild 3-2 in St. Paul.
The first period was mostly sloppy play as both teams tried to play more offense than defense in the period. The Wild lost Jared Spurgeon after a Bobby Ryan shot hit him in the left ankle. He only played 1:27 while the Wild had to play roughly 57 minutes with five defensemen. Minnesota was out-shot 11-7 as the two teams skated to a scoreless tie. Both goaltenders played very well. Dubnyk was solid, as was Craig Anderson for Ottawa.Jonas Brodin was moved up to the top pairing with Suter in Spurgeon's absence.
The second period saw some scoring. The Nino Niederreiter / Erik Haula duo, as well as whomever plays the other wing continues to be good all over the ice. That line easily was the best line for Minnesota the whole game. However, a Ryan Suter turnover inside the defensive zone ended up with Ryan passing across the zone for Erik Karlsson. Niederreiter couldn't handle the pass as he attempted to intercept it. Instead it was like he settled the pas down for Karlsson and Karlsson didn't miss the upper corner over Dubnyk's glove. It was a hell of a snipe. Minnesota needed a response after the goal and Zach Parise gave was there to answer. After the Wild strung together a series of good shifts in the Ottawa zone, because before that, the Wild basically resorted to pitchforking the puck out of the zone for much of the period, Parise found a rebound to the right of Anderson in the crease. He fought off Ceci with a headlock and one-handed the puck in the net. The tie didn't last long. Jean-Gabriel Pageau deflected a softer Ryan shot through the five hole of Dubnyk to re-gain the one goal lead.
In the third period, we saw more great work in the offensive zone by 22 - 56 - 29. Jason Pominville threaded the needle with a pass to Erik Haula in the right circle. Haula went upstairs to beat a sprawling Anderson. The line of Mikael Granlund with Justin Fontaine and Jason Zucker, I don't think, played a particularly good game. Often chipping pucks out of the zone, passing to no one, and being a mess in their own zone, that line struggled. Not to mention those guys getting muscled off the puck with relative ease. But as Minnesota had gotten close to scoring the go-ahead goal on the power play, the Senators took advantage of a flukey bounce to take the lead for good. A goal that was disallowed because the referee had a quick trigger, though the puck was never covered, is swung back the other way when Marco Scandella's missed hip-check on Ceci, allowed him to get behind the goal line. The centering pass the deflected off Haula's skate and into the net.
Matt Dumba tried to put the game on his stick after dangling into the defensive box of the Sens. Once he lost the puck, he lifted the stick of a Senator, whose stick then hit Bobby Ryan
in the face at shoulder level with 1:58 remaining. The ensuing penalty kill turned into a 5-on-5 affair when Dubnyk was pulled for the extra attacker. The Wild couldn't get the equalizer, and the Wild fell.