Fresh off losses against two of the three worst teams in the NHL, the Wild would square off against the team sitting in last in the Western Conference. The Los Angeles Kings. Twelve goals against two teams that struggle on a nightly basis isn’t something to be proud of. That turnaround we thought was happening came to a close abruptly against the Flyers and Wings. 8-13-1 in their last 22 after starting the season so strong has seen the Wild fall to the 2nd Wild Card spot in the Western Conference.
Although Alex Stalock played the 3rd last night after Devan Dubnyk’s rough two periods, he would be back between the pipes for the Wild. The first ten minutes of the opening period was all Minnesota. The majority of the scoring chances came from those in green, however Jonathan Quick stood tall time and time again. The second half of the period would be more of the same, including some moments of chippy play, but the period would end scoreless unlike Monday night’s four goal first between the Wild and Flyers. A penalty free period resulted in a fast moving 5-on-5 20 minutes of action. Shots on goal in the first favored Minnesota 14-8 and the Wild also had a heavy advantage in scoring chances generating 12 compared to LA’s 5.
The second would start with Jason Zucker making an incredible move to generate a 3-on-1, which turned into Zucker trying to make a pass to Mikko Koivu who gave it back to him that would hop over his stick. Typical Wild luck. Then about 10 seconds later, Quick get some luck off the post and his back skate keeping this game tied at zero. Quick’s stellar play would continue through the second truly keeping the Kings in this game while the Wild’s frustrations to score continued. Zach Parise would force a Kings turnover with 11 minutes left in the 2nd, but Quick would stop both chances Parise threw at him. However at the midway point of the game, the Wild would finally get a goal past Quick thanks to fourth-liner Nino Niederreiter and lots of traffic in front. With the Wild domination continuing, the Kings would tie things up off a rebound goal from Ilya Kovalchuk. Somehow, someway this game would be tied after two periods of play. Shots on goal and scoring chances once again favored the Wild.
The 3rd would begin just like the second did as the Wild had a great chance to jam one home but Quick would keep his pad down and keep the Wild from taking the lead. The Wild would get some luck from the hockey gods as Ryan Suter put a puck on net and Eric Staal was sitting there wide-open as the puck would bounce off his leg and into the net to give the Wild a 2-1 lead. The Wild’s chances would continue as Luke Kunin would ring one off the post with about 8 minutes left, but Quick once again was saved to keep this a one goal game. Then, with about 6 minutes left, Stalock and Jonas Brodin would combine for two acrobatic saves to keep the Wild on top 2-1. However, with just 2:30 left in the 3rd, Jeff Carter would sneak past Staal and jam one in front to tie this game up at two-a-piece and force overtime between the Kings and Wild.
Alex Stalock was the story of the first part of overtime. Almost putting a puck into his own net, keeping the play going, and throwing a punch at Drew Doughty. He’s fun to watch, but sometimes that fun turns into Wild fans hearts skipping a beat, or twelve. A Wild power-play would see a handful of chances, including Jared Spurgeon finding out that ice is slippery, but couldn’t beat the #1 star of the evening, Jonathan Quick. To the shoot-out we go.
Both teams taking part in their third shoot-out of their seasons. Here’s how things went:
Round 1: Kunin and Kovalchuk both denied on their chances
Round 2: Zucker scores on a beauty of a move. Anze Kopitar denied by post/Stalock.
Round 3: Parise denied. Brown fans, and then is denied by Stalock
WILD WIN!! 3-2!!