The Wild didn’t like the taste of their last road game heading into the All-star break. Losing 6-3 with little compete shouldn’t sit right with anyone. That’s why it was important to get a big-time road victory in Columbus in the first game out of the break. It would take to the fourth round of the shootout for Zach Parise to get the nod in his first shootout attempt of the season. He’d make the most of it and send his team packing from Nationwide Arena happy with a 3-2 win.
It wasn’t a good start as the Wild fell behind in shots and on the scoreboard early. David Savard took a shot from the right point that deflected off the derriere of Ryan Suter. The Wild were down by a goal, against a tough goaltender in Sergei Bobrovsky, just 1:16 into the game. Minnesota and Devan Dubnyk got lucky when Cam Atkinson rang the crossbar. Minnesota seemed to turn the tide in shots after Atkinson rang the bell. They rallied for a one period total of 11-6 to finish opening twenty minutes. However, they needed some help. With the Wild pressuring, the Blue Jackets looked to have scored again. Instead, David Savard was guilty of a kicking motion and the two goal lead was spared.
The Wild came out with a couple good, pressure-filled shifts to start the second period. They crashed the crease of Bobrovsky. That’s how Jason Zucker tied the game. On the power play, Zucker would sneak in behind Bobrovsky as a Jonas Brodin shot suck through and finish. It was Zucker’s 20th of the season. The second period was dominated by the Wild as they launched 20 pucks at the Columbus net. Bob was very good.
Mikael Granlund was responsible for seven of the 43 shots in total for the Wild. He had a very good game and the Blue Jackets often gave him time and space to shoot. It looked like it was going to be a certainty that Granlund would find the net, but Bob was just a bit better.
There were just two players that failed to register a shot on goal in the game - Gustav Olofsson and Nate Prosser. However, those two defensemen saw just 10:14 and 9:10 respectively. Joel Eriksson Ek had four shots on goal. Number 14 had another great game as he got robbed of his first goal since the first game of the season. It looked like he poked the puck through Bobrovsky’s right skate and the right post near the end of the second period. The puck crossed the line as the referee blew the whistle, and they didn’t even give it a second look.
He had another chance that Bobrovsky made a great save with the hand of his blocker to keep the puck out on a wrap-around try.
Tyler Ennis almost had a buzzer-beating goal at the end of the second period. The shot beat Bobrovsky cleanly, but on replay, it showed that the clock had hit 0.0 just a hair before the puck crossed the line.
After the Wild killed off a Chris Stewart penalty in the third period, Charlie Coyle would gather the puck near the Wild blue line and with a burst of speed, unleash a wrister that beat the Blue Jackets’ netminder over the glove. The 1-1 tie was broken.
It didn’t last. Zucker pitchforked the puck over the glass for a two-minute minor. Artemi Panarin took a slap shot from the right point on the ensuing power play and beat Dubnyk over the right shoulder. Bruce Boudreau would challenege the play for goalie interference, though none was there. “At that point in the game [5:12 remaining in the 3rd], I just thought we had nothing to lose,” Boudreau said post-game about the fruitless challenge.
The two teams would head to overtime where the Blue Jackets held a 12-3 record in games that ended past regulation. it was back and forth with good, exciting action, but goalless nonetheless.
In the shootout, Boudreau called on Chris Stewart, who had a brutal game otherwise, to lead the Wild off. He scored to put the pressure on the Blue Jackets after Dubnyk stopped Cam Atkinson. Panarin followed the Stewart goal up with a pretty snipe in the top corner to tie it. Coyle, Jussi Jokinen, and Mikko Koivu would get stopped back-to-back and the game would need a fourth round. Alexander Wennberg would get stuffed by Dubnyk setting the stage for Parise’s winner. Parise skated in to the Blue Jackets’ zone straight on to the net guarded by the reigning Georges Vezina Trophy winner. Parise would drag to the right of the net on his back hand as Bobrovsky dropped his glove just slightly. It gave Parise just enough room to flip the backhander over Bob and win the game.
Atkinson - O | Stewart - X— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes) January 31, 2018
Panarin - X | Coyle - O
Jokinen - O | Koivu - O
Wennberg - O | Parise - X
Wild WIN!!! Parise wins it on his first SO attempt of the season!
It’s a big game for the Wild to win because if they want to really make a serious run at the post-season, they need to figure out ways to win and secure points on the road. Boudreau had showed all the split home/road stats to his team prior to the game and explained that the disparity shouldn’t be that different. Minnesota had a good response by heavily outshooting the Blue Jackets and getting a big win.