With 19,310 fans filling Xcel Energy Center, the Wild came out and got an early power play when the Stars took a bench minor for Too Many Men. Just two shots got through to Dallas starter Kari Lehtonen. The best chance came from Jason Pominville. his shot was stopped and Nino Niederreiter caused just enough havoc out front, but the play was whistled down, though the puck was still free. Charle Coyle then finished his check on Jason Demers. Demers then reached for his face and got the best of Referee Gord Dwyer, who obliged by calling an elbowing minor on Coyle.
Charlie Coyle's elbowing penalty pic.twitter.com/WilPggu1Is— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) April 24, 2016
On the ensuing power play for the Stars, Marco Scandella caught Patrick Sharp with a stick to the chin, resulting in a two-man advantage. Dallas would get on the board after John Klingberg scored his first career playoff goal. Jason Spezza and Jamie Benn got the helpers as the puck went up high, then off to the left circle for Klingberg and Devan Dubnyk couldn't get over in time to stop the one-timer.
Minnesota had trouble getting out of its zone and had trouble winning faceoffs. Erik Haula lost a face off deep in the Wild end. The puck went to the point where Mattias Janmark took a shot. The initial shot was stopped but Spezza found the rebound and back-handed it in to make the score 2-0. The Stars weren't done when Sharp sniped a shot over down Marco Scandella, and over the blocker of Dubynk on a 3-on-2 rush. The Wild just couldn't get much of anything going in the first frame. Shots were 13-6 in favor of the Stars and the crowd was summarily silenced.
Fans became restless in the second period when the Wild failed to come out with more energy as their season rests at the bottom of a 3-0 hole. Dallas wanted to put that last nail in the coffin for the Wild's 2015-16 season. Dubnyk made some big saves to keep the Dallas lead from extending. Mikael Granlund drew a power play after Vernon Fiddler tripped him. Minnesota, looking for anything in terms of momentum, just could not get a shot on goal in the two minute man-advantage. A smattering of offside calls, failed passes, and shots getting blocked, the crowd was becoming unruly.
To have this series extended to six games was more than most expected. But fans have every right to be upset with the game being hardly competitive.
The best chance of the period, let alone the game, came when Pominville passed wing to wing to Niederreiter, who was behind everyone on the Stars. Nino tried to go underneath the blocker, but the puck didn't get high enough and was blocked by the right pad of Lehtonen. Instead, within in the final minute of the period, Jamie Benn extended the Stars' lead to four, when he snapped a shot in the upper right corner over Dubnyk's glove.
Minnesota found new life, and possibly a new goal song. Jared Spurgeon got the Wild's first goal as he found the puck sitting idle at the side of the crease and he stuffed it in. We finally got to hear Prince's "Let's Go Crazy" debut. Wild Game Operations picked the right part of the song too as the chorus, "Let's go crazy, let's get nuts..." leads right into the guitar solo. Just 16 seconds later, Jonas Brodin was on the receiving end of a beautiful set up by Erik Haula to make the score 4-2. Minnesota and Erotic City has come alive. With pressure int he Dallas end, Jason Zucker took a high stick from Stephen Johns to give the Wild its fourth power play of the game. Mikko Koivu put a back-hand pass across the slot to Spurgeon for his second of the game. Minnesota trailed 4-3 with 11:21 remaining.
Then Dallas answered. On a faceoff deep in the Wild end, an Alex Goligoski shot went off Charlie Coyle and fluttered towards the net. Dubnyk lost sight of the puck as it trickled into his feet and eventually into the net. The score was 5-3.
Jason Pominville brought the team back within one, when Jonas Brodin's shot was deflected, hit him, and laid down next to the crease for the tuck in. Minnesota pulled the goalie at 52.4 seconds. Jason Demers almost put the puck into his own net, but upon review, the puck didn't look to completely cross the goal line. The Wild were mere millimeters from tying the game and forcing overtime. Minnesota had the chances, but when you're looking at millimeters from tying a 5-4 game, the Wild should have started the game earlier.
Here’s a look at how close the Wild came to tying it pic.twitter.com/9RA1fB3ZfV— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) April 24, 2016
The Wild fall by a score of 5-4 in Game 6 at home, and the series 4-2 to officially be eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The offseason will be an active one for the Wild. With the draft in which the Wild owns just a 1st, a 4th, and two 7th round picks, there will likely be some wheeling and dealing from the GM that the owner recently gave a vote of confidence to. There will be a coaching search as Minnesota should consider a lot of candidates this summer. With the prospects from the NCAA recently signed to the Iowa Wild, training camp will likely be an active one as well.
Don't go away from Hockey Wilderness as we break down this series, this season, and what's next for this team all offseason long.
Thanks to our great community of readers for another great season!