The Minnesota Wild are just so predictable. Even if they are down by three goals and haven’t even seen their own fair share of scoring chances, they will somehow get every member of this fan base to the edge of their seat for the last handful of minutes on the clock. They did it again on Thursday night against the Vegas Golden Knights.
They went down 3-0 quick after some sloppy play and not really taking any sort of advantage offensively, to then somehow just end up with a potential game-tying situation in the dying minutes.
It all started with Kirill Kaprizov using his ass to essentially create an easy goal for his captain Jared Spurgeon.
kirill makes a nifty move and sets up a streaking jared spurgeon. 3-1 for VGK pic.twitter.com/AErFyvnedT— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes) November 12, 2021
And then about a dozen minutes later, Ryan Hartman (of course, it’s always Ryan Hartman) was able to cut the Vegas lead in half. Thanks to Dmytri Kulikov protecting the puck well enough, keeping it in the zone to pair up with his partner Jon Merrill and get the goal on the board with a centering pass to Hartman.
Unfortunately, even with a 6-on-4 power play with the net empty, the Wild just could not get enough control of the flow of this game to really force any extra period. They should have never truly been in it anyway.
Right from the top, Vegas was all over Minnesota with every opportunity they could get. Being first to loose pucks in their own zone, getting shots off and actually on net from unlikely angles; it was just constant pressure and it didn’t take long for the Knights to break through.
vegas takes the lead as talbot is caught sleeping pic.twitter.com/2GHYkyFYEm— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes) November 12, 2021
And then later in the period, it was yet again another no-name Golden Knight to get them the two-goal lead in the first period.
goligoski gets beaten on the outside, so does talbot. 2-0 golden boys pic.twitter.com/UvBv61ESEA— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes) November 12, 2021
During the entire second period, the Wild were finally able to get some scoring chances and something going their way, cutting into the overpowering wave of grey jerseys in front of Talbot, but it just snapped when Matt Dumba was unfortunately under the spotlight with a bad giveaway to essentially hand over the third goal.
a bad dumba turnover turns into a 2-on-1 which turns into a 3-0 VGK lead pic.twitter.com/C3tv7MFSMT— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes) November 12, 2021
It would be tough to really blame any loss of points on this one play, or even bring up the context that after this, the Wild scored two goals for what could have hypothetically in a black and white world, been a tie game. Since so much happened in between the two events, it’s not as easy as drawing a straight line connecting the two.
In the end, it was just an unfortunate loss to a team that was just able to catch an opponent on the second half of a back-to-back and killed all momentum at points through the game.
Merrill, Kulikov, Spurgeon, Kaprizov, Hartman, Gaudreau, and Zuccarello, were all able to earn a single point tonight. And Talbot earned his keep, stopping 32 of 35 shots.
Next up, Minnesota visits Seattle on Saturday.
Can the special teams keep it up?
Well, considering that the Wild technically had six power play opportunities (some were overlapping but still count as two separate “opportunities”) and managed to force only two total saves from Brossoit during that time, it was a total failure on that front.
The only positive is that in the two chances that Vegas had, they came up blank as well.
Can Minnesota slow down Vegas’ scoring?
And speaking of Vegas’ scoring, they did manage to score three goals, which is extremely normal for a team missing their offensive stars. Despite the mediocre numbers, Jonas Brodin sure did put on a stellar defensive performance to make up for the total lack of effort in their own zone from a lot of skaters on Thursday. It was not a good look, but they did balance it out.