Minnesota has found some decent offense on this current five-game homestand. They’ve stormed out to early 3-0 leads in games, but after an overtime loss at the onset of the stretch of home games, these three goal leads don’t leave Wild fans in a comfortable spot until that final horn rings with the Wild still ahead on the scoreboard. Minnesota was able to just outlast the Rangers in a 3-2 victory to go 2-0-1 on this home stretch.
Eric Staal continues to be one of the best moves, not just in Chuck Fletcher’s tenure, but in Wild history. He got the benefit of a loose puck just inside the Ranger’s blue line. Staal broke in on a mini 2-on-1 and Staal shot low blocker side. Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist was caught guessing wrong. The goal came at 3:09 of the first period and continued the trend of the Wild having goals scored early in their games.
Zach Parise then scored the most Parise-esque goal he’s had since the Red Wings goal a few years ago. This time he pressure Rick Nash inside the Rangers’ zone and disrupted the pass right into and somehow through Lundqvist. The goal came just a little over a minute after the Staal goal and the Wild looked like they were on their way to rolling the Rangers.
Hell, when Marcus Foligno gets on the board, things have to be working. Foligno missed had his shot stopped intially, but Daniel Winnik fought for the rebound in the left offensive corner and gave it right back to Foligno in his wheelhouse. Number 17 found the twine over Lundvist’s glove.
Then the Rangers pushed back. After the Wild’s third goal, New York took a number of shots and scored on the power play to cut into the Wild lead. Nino Niederreiter was guilty of putting the puck over the glass for Delay of Game. John Gilmour scored his first NHL goal when his shot looked to change direction off a Wild failed shot block.
The second period was the Wild playing conservative. New York fired 19 shots on goal in the period alone and Devan Dubnyk stopped 18 of them. The Wild were guilty of marching to the box and it gave the Rangers a few power play. Kevin Hayes would score to make it 3-2 just past the mid-way point of the game. Dubnyk was stellar outside of that.
I was certain the Wild would cough up the lead again due to complacency and the Rangers being a more desperate team. It’s happened before. You just can’t trust early leads with this Wild squad. However, the third period was much more controlled for Minnesota. They were better in the neutral zone and ended up out-shooting the Rangers 8-4 in the frame.
The Wild would hold on for the victory. Minnesota continues to be dominant on #OurIce now with a 20-4-5 record at home. The Wild’s penalty kill cracked twice in 4 tries.
Nick Seeler saw just over 10 minutes of ice time and wasn’t bad. He was credited with one shot on goal and it was a good, hard, low shot that Lundqvist had to be quick with the left pad to stop. Former Hermantown Hawk Neil Pionk scored his first NHL point with an assist on the Hayes goal in the second period.
Wild next play Thursday as they welcome Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals. Ovechkin is a “Wild Killer” and leads the league with 33 goals.