Minnesota was in need of win to get back on the right track after a couple back-to-back losses in which the Wild lost control of their position in the standings. Trailing 3-1 after 26 minutes, Mikko Koivu broke a scoreless slump that hadn’t seen him on the score sheet since October 28th, and the Wild rolled from there, scoring three times in the third to get the victory.
The first period was much like the last two losses. Erik Karlsson is an outright Wild killer. Courtesy of Ian McLaren from The Score, Karlsson scored his first NHL on December 19th in 2009. He scored again against the Wild on December 19th. Must be the time of the year.
However, Minnesota tied the game at one when Eric Staal deflected a Ryan Suter wrist shot through Craig Anderson. The passing wasn’t good, and it was mostly dump and chase style hockey. The teams were tied at the end of one with the Wild holding a 10-9 edge in shots.
The Wild managed to stay away from the sin bin in the first, but immediately became reacquainted just 11 ticks into the 2nd period. Karlsson struck again with another blast from the point. Ottawa would gain some insurance after a Jared Spurgeon minor expired and the Wild defense were all kinds of messed up in their coverage and Jean-Gabriel Pageau made it look easy.
But a shift from the fourth line really helped Minnesota get back into the game. Joel Eriksson Ek, who ended the night with an assist and 4 shots, found Chris Stewart (Sasquatch) with a backhand pass to cut into the Senators’ lead. The goal gave the Wild a huge boost and more time in the offensive zone allowed the Wild to gain a few power plays. However, the comeback almost died with the man-advantage.
A faceoff win was too tough for Wild defensemen to handle and it allowed the Sens a breakaway. Alex Stalock summarily shut the door with a big save, and even followed up with another on the rebound that was punched back out front. That set the stage for Mikko Koivu (Loch Ness Monster) to notch the game tying goal with just under a minute left in the period. The Wild’s power play had just expired, but they still had possession in the offensive zone. Ryan Suter took a slap shot from the top of the key through traffic, and Koivu was able to redirect the puck with a waving stick. It was his first goal since October 28th - a span of 11 games.
With the game now down to just a solid 20 minutes, the Wild weren’t going to wait for the Sens to answer. Nate Prosser (Unicorn) would put the Wild up by one 1:48 into the period. Minnesota was really crashing the net and Prosser gathered in the rebound and sent a wrist shot that eluded all the traffic in front and just inside Anderson’s left goal post. Minnesota wasn’t done. Jonas Brodin made the score 5-3 after a rebound squirted to the left of the goal and Brodin got it past Anderson before the Ottawa netminder could get over.
Eric Staal would net his second of the game on the power play to make it 6-3. Derrick Brassard would net power play goal for Ottawa in garbage time and the Wild would go on to win. Minnesota put up 40 shots, generated much more offense, and even if the passing was bad for the Wild, the shooting was there.
Wild will head to Florida for two game, starting in Sunrise to take on the Panthers on Friday. With Unicorns, Sasquatch, and the Loch Ness Monster all making their presence known, (makes sense for a team named ‘Wild’) the Wild have to feel good going into the game.