The post Charlie Coyle era began Thursday night for the Wild as they began a brief trip in New York before heading to Detroit on Friday. The Wild however are on close watch these next two games as the trade deadline is Monday afternoon and obviously, as we saw Wednesday, if the Wild don’t get into the win column, General Manger Paul Fenton will not be afraid to trade players. However, that would not be the case Thursday as the Wild picked up a 4-1 win and are once again back in the playoffs holding down that 8th spot in the Western Conference. Let’s get to the recap.
With tons of scouts in attendance as both teams could be sellers come Monday, Donato wasted little time in making a mark setting up Joel Eriksson Ek from the left circle. However, he couldn’t finish. Just moments later, Wild fans began heavily breathing as Devan Dubnyk took a knee to the head and got up very slowly. Late in the period, the Wild broke the ice on the power-play. Jared Spurgeon netted his 12th of the year with assists to Eric Staal and Ryan Donato. 171:04 of scoreless Wild hockey came to an end. Just 49 seconds later, the Wild thought they had taken a 2-0 but after review, Eriksson Ek was offside by a half inch to keep the game 1-0.
In the second, the game remained 1-0 until Pavel Buchnevich squeaked one past Dubnyk on a shot that I am sure that Dubnyk would want back. Buchnevich was left alone in the right circle, had time to gather it from his skate, release a shot that somehow found a way through Dubnyk to tie things up a 1. That is the 16th power-play goal given up by the Wild in the last 14 games. Not a good sign when you need the PK to do it’s job. However, the game would not be tied for long as Greg Pateryn put a puck on net and Mikael Granlund was there to bang home the rebound as he was falling down. That would be the final go of the period as the Wild would take a 2-1 lead to the 3rd period.
The third started with some ringing after Mika Zibanejad beat Dubynk but wasn’t able to beat the post as the hockey gods kept it a 2-1 Wild lead. The score remained the same until the Wild got some even more luck as Eric Staal tripped Brady Skjei in the corner with a really awful non-call by the officials. The puck wound up on Zach Parise’s stick on a mini breakaway and he beat Henrik Lundqvist to give the Wild a two-goal lead. Donato got tagged for a four-minute double-minor for high sticking just a few minutes later, but Dubnyk came up with a big save on Jimmy Vesey to keep the Wild ahead 3-1. Then with the net empty late in the 3rd, Jordan Greenway put the icing on the cake by snapping his 13 game goal drought. Also, on that goal, Donato picked up the secondary assist for two points on the night. Not bad for a Wild debut.
The final horn sounded, and just for the second time in 11 games this month, the Wild came out victorious by downing the Rangers 4-1 over in New York.