The Wild lost 6-3 in a laugher to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the final game before the All-Star break. Eric Staal, Mikael Granlund, and Jonas Brodin found the back of the net for the Wild in a late rally in the 3rd period, but the game was way too far out of reach.
Eric Staal had a terrible turnover at the Wild blue line that sprung the Penguins for a 3-on-2 inside the Wild zone. Sidney Crosby passed over to Dominik Simon for his 3rd goal of the season. It didn’t get any better when Jason Zucker took a penalty to put the NHL’s best power play on the ice. It didn’t take long. Evgeni Malkin scored as the puck deflected in off Ryan Suter’s skate. Shots were 15-6 after one period. Minnesota put almost zero pressure on backup goalie Casey DeSmith.
If you thought the Wild were going to regroup in the intermission break, you were wrong. Carl Hagelin would score after the Wild failed YET AGAIN to clear the puck out of the the zone. Malkin made a nice pass to the slot for Hagelin. It looked too damn easy. Brian Dumoulin scored with shot that had Devan Dubnyk flopping all over the place. It wasn’t a good look. It was 3-on-2 with Suter and Jared Spurgeon back. It became a 4-on-2 because no forward from the Wild felt it necessary to back-check.
Minnesota would look like they scored after Jonas Brodin had a shot go in on the power play. Instead, Penguins coach Mike Sullivan challenged the play for Goaltender Interference...because that’s what you do with a 4-0 lead. He won the challenge as it looked like Koivu’s skate just clipped the toe of DeSmith’s right skate as he went into his butterfly. It was the softest of soft goalie interferences, but c'est la vie.
After another penalty was called on the Wild, Malkin scored to open the third period. It wouldn't be long until Simon got his second of the night as the whole team completely hung the goalies out to dry.
Bruce Boudreau took a timeout and told his guys, "Play with a little pride." Staal got the team in the board, finally. Then, quickly, Mikael Granlund got one. Shortly after Brodin scored on a Wild power play. All told, it was too little, too late and only looked to make the final score closer than the game ever really was.
A funny thing I noticed when looking at this All-time series was that, now out of 23 meetings, all time, only 5 times has a game been decided by one goal. There was one tie, so I call that a no-decision, and the rest were all 2 goals or more. This game will be yet another high scoring, awful game by the Wild at Consol Energy...I mean, PPG Paints Arena. Apparently, naming rights get sold on stadiums on a short-term basis these days.
Minnesota sports teams should just avoid the state of Pennsylvania.