It looked like a playoff game through 10 minutes of the first period. Hell, you could say the whole first 20 minutes was a good, competitive period of hockey. The Wild came out and tried to set the physical tone, and even had an early power play to take a raucous BellMTS Place crowd out of the game. Minnesota got the first five shots on goal of the game. After the power play expired, the Jets came back with a fury. Devan Dubnyk was sharp again early, and often. Just like in Game 1, the first period ended in a scoreless tie.
You could think that ending the first period having the shot counter a bit closer with a 13-9 difference. Except most of those shots came on the power play. Here’s the heat map for shot attempts at 5-on-5:
The Wild really didn’t have any real meaningful shots in the period.
Things got way worse when the 2nd period started. The Jets rattled off eight shots in the first couple minute, just peppering the Devan Dubnyk. The pressure wouldn’t relent as the Jets got a power play. Minnesota was able to kill the penalty, but the Jets amped up their physicality. Tyler Myers finally broke through when he moved around Jason Zucker, took the puck deep into the right faceoff circle, and shot from a low angle past Dubnyk. The Jets out-shot the Wild 14-5 in the middle frame.
Minnesota, just like Game 1, had all kinds of issues getting anything resembling offense going. They btmissed the net a lot, couldn’t get the puck into high scoring areas, and certainly got pushed around. That said, the Wild escaped the period only down by one.
The shots never came for Minnesota in the third period, at least when there was time on the clock to do anything about the score. No, Winnipeg out-shot the Wild 16-3 in the third period and quickly turned the game on its head. Paul Stastny scored shortly after a turnover inside the Wild zone. Andrew Copp got a nice deflection to get one past Dubnyk. Then Patrik Laine got one to quickly make the score 4-0.
The lone bright spot was the Wild ending Connor Hellebuyck’s shutout bid on a late power play when Zach Parise deflected a Mikko Koivu shot. It was too late and a dollar short on the effort offensively. The Wild’s brutally bad play in the offensive was offensive to hockey everywhere.
As the clock was in the final ten seconds, Minnesota had had enough and a fracas broke out. First Daniel Winnik took on Brandon Tanev and pummeled him to the ice. Then Nick Seeler took on Ben Chiarot. Look, it’s not unheard of for a team to have the frustration boil over after having their rears handed to them in back-to-back games in the post season. However, it’s always a bad look when you got so badly beaten everywhere else on the ice and now resort to fisticuffs.
Joel Eriksson Ek has, so far, been the best skater on the ice for the Wild in both games, and it’s not even close. He’s played physical, gotten some chances and looks and plays solidly on both ends of the ice.
Jordan Greenway was elevated to the top line with Eric Staal and Mikael Granlund late in the third period and dropped Zucker down. Greenway has certainly not been an issue for the Wild, just not sure if the he’s ready for the top line. Actually, not all that sure the top line is ready for the post season.
Charlie Coyle had perhaps the best look of the game for the Wild way back in the first period when he had a clear lane to the net and his shot was gloved over the net by Hellebuyck.
A lot of credit should be given to the Wild defensemen for having to play both all-time defense and all-time offense. The forwards did absolute zilch to create offense and apply pressure, and instead they relied on the defensemen to get shots to the net.
Nick Seeler played a very good game against some of the speedier wings of the Jets. He denied Nikolaj Ehlers twice when Ehlers tried to beat him to the outside with blazing speed.
The second period opened with the Jets’ 4th line pinning the Koivu line in the defensive zone. It was not ideal.
Minnesota’s CF% at 5-on-5 for the game was, get this, 29.76. The Jets destroyed the Wild in just about every way on the ice.
Lastly, Dubnyk had to face another 40+ shots. There may be people feeling compelled to blame him, but he certainly can’t be expected to play defense and offense either. In the first 2 games of this series, he’s been all you could want from the Wild starting goaltender. There has been zero offense giving him any support. He is forced to play mistake-free and the Jets are just too good to keep off the board. He’s the one promising area of this team now that the series shifts to St. Paul.
Wild and the Jets continue first round action on Sunday at 6 PM CT.