The Minnesota Wild looked to repair some of their issues tonight against a Detroit Red Wings team that is right in the middle of a battle for the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference themselves. The Wild would struggle to put a complete game together, and it would cost them valuable points in their own playoff race.
As expected the Wings came out firing in the first period. They played a speed game and ended up owning the Wild in shots (11-5) and scored the periods only goal on the power play when Ryan Suter deflected a Dylan Larkin shot that fluttered past Devan Dubnyk's glove. He completely whiffed with his glove, but it looked like he was tracking the deflection pretty good until he went to catch the puck of course.
There was some physical play in the period as well. Zach Parise was of course battling in front of the net and drawing a lot of attention with and without the puck. He would end up drawing a holding penalty but the Wild would not convert on the PP. Jarret Stoll would give the Wings their first power play of the night and not even a minute after that was killed, Jason Zucker would get flagged for tripping which led to the Wings lone goal of the period.
The fact that the Wild only registered 5 shots on goal doesn't speak to the game they were playing. They hit the post twice in the frame and Erik Haula flipped a rebound over a wide-open net as well. The Wild were getting chances and the Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard definitely had some hole exposed, the Wild just couldn't capitalize on their few opportunities.
The second period was bipolar for the Wild. They struggled through much of the period with breaking out of the defensive zone, stringing together passes, and just generally playing hockey. Tomas Tatar would capitalize on these lapses early when he would put the Red Wings up 2-0 a little over 2 minutes into the period.
The first 10 minutes of the period featured a series of the Wild struggling to break out of the defensive zone. When they did they would be one and done in the offensive zone. Detroit hustled to loose pucks and kept the Wild from gaining any meaningful zone time. Pretty frustrating hockey for a team that is fighting to keep their point margin over the Colorado Avalanche.
Jonas Brodin would get the Wild on the scoreboard 16 minutes into the period after the Wild's best zone pressure of the period. Parise fed a pass to Granlund high in the slot. Granlund's shot would be deflected wide but the Wild were not done this time. Moments later Parise would be on the receiving end of a pass right in front of Howard where he jammed a puck into the netminder. The puck would make it's way to Brodin and he unloaded a shot past Howard.
The 3rd period brought more of the same though. A little extra pop from the Wild, but not enough to secure a victory, or even a loser point. Wild and Wings had some back and forth chances throughout the final frame but in the end, the Wild would not be able to muster up enough offense to get a point or two.
The Red Wings would score within the opening 3 minutes of the period once again when Riley Sheahan would find a rebound just outside of the paint and find an opening to deposit the puck. Riley was originally credited with the Wings goal in the first period, until the league review realized he didn't actually deflect the puck past Dubs.
The Wild would try to get back into this one, and Mikael Granlund who was quietly having a good night out there sniped a shot past Howard from the right circle. The Wild battled in the final moments of the period but Detroit's defense locked up pretty good, keeping any chances the Wild had to the outside. The Wild lose to the Red Wings, 3-2.
The Wild will finish this 2-game road trip on Sunday against the Winnipeg Jets.