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Recap: Wild lose 2-1 in tight game against Red Wings

It was not pretty, but it was narrow.

Minnesota Wild v Detroit Red Wings Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images

The Minnesota Wild headed into Michigan with a little bit more confidence than they had last week, but it still wasn’t enough against the Detroit Red Wings, as they suffered a 2-1 loss to the home team.

Kirill Kaprizov and Lucas Raymond were the stars for their respective clubs, being the only goal scorers of the night and it ended up being a back-and-forth tilt between two teams that desperately want to improve on their season so far.

The scoring started right away on the ice of Little Caesar’s Arena tonight. Minnesota pushed down hard in Detroit’s zone almost immediately, saw the puck head the other way, but then Kaprizov and Zuccarello launched themselves on an odd-man rush on the counterattack to get the game’s first goal and Kirill’s sixth of the season.

Yet another goal where Zuccarello is the last to touch the puck before Kaprizov snaps it behind an opposing goaltender, but what makes this more significant is how Gaudreau managed to be the first player to create that play in transition, laying the puck over right before contact is made by a Red Wings defender. Great timing from the top-line center that has deserved this opportunity and is proving Dean Evason right with every goal.

The game continued to go back and forth, with both teams getting decent scoring chances but nothing extraordinary. That is until Lucas Raymond was able to get his first goal of his sophomore season by being a patient little winger and tying the game.

What earns Raymond this goal is outwaiting Jonas Brodin. The Wild defenseman goes down to block the expected shot, but the young winger receives the pass from his linemate Adam Erne and slowly glides, sees Brodin go down to his knee, and the goal becomes a much better target all of a sudden. All within milliseconds.

Brodin shouldn’t be blamed for that goal, but he definitely could have been more aggressive and gone at Raymond, since he is a shooter and didn’t really have any better options to pass to.

The Wild were controlling the majority of the play in the first period — both in shot attempts and expected goals, Minnesota was easily over Detroit — but it was the opposite to start the second frame. The Red Wings had the advantage in the first half of the period, attempting virtually double the amount of shots and getting way more high-danger chances than the Wild.

With the Red Wings just pushing and pushing and pushing some more for the entire period, they finally got the goal to finish the second period leading 2-1.

Raymond get his second of the game and the season in ugly fashion, but even with him standing right on top of Gustavsson, Evason opts to not challenge it for goaltender interference. It was the result of Detroit just edging out Minnesota all period long and the road team not taking advantage of opportunities, whether that is a missed pass or just getting out-battled along the boards. A period to forget, surely.

The third period started out being all-Wild. When getting the first nine shot attempts and seven shots on goal of the period, you would think that the Wild would be looking better, but nothing seemed to really click in the end. Just staggered out of the gate, trying to get some more scoring chances but nothing got past Ville Husso.

Minnesota attempted 20 total shot attempts in the third period alone, compared to the Wings’ five attempts in the same timeframe. There was a considerable push to try to get an equalizer, but again, just nothing seemed to work as Detroit suffocated the Wild’s high-danger chances and the game just ended with a whimper.

The Wild finished with the advantage in basically every category — won the shot battle 31-25, 5-on-5 shot attempts were 56-43 in Minnesota’s favor, and the Wild had 61.03 percent of the expected goals at 5-on-5 — but Detroit just shrugged them off and swatted away their attempts. It was a frustrating game at times, but sometimes the puck doesn’t bounce your way.

Next up, the Wild look to redeem themselves in less than 24 hours as they face the Chicago Blackhawks to finish their road trip on Sunday night.

Burning Questions

Will the special teams continue their streak?

This game was light on special teams for both squads. Just three powerplay opportunities split between them — one for the Wild, two for the Wings — and it was Detroit that got the only goal on the man advantage. Not the best percentage, but not necessarily the worst performance on the special teams for the Wild tonight.

Is Tyson Jost going to show up tonight?

Jost was, for the purpose of answering this question, unfortunately a healthy scratch for the second consecutive game. He did not get a chance to redeem himself, but maybe since there is a game tomorrow night, he will get in the lineup to have some fresh legs.

Goaltending momentum?

Filip Gustavsson came up big tonight, he must have enjoyed seeing Marc-Andre Fleury play his last few games and dominate. Gustavsson saved 23 of the 25 shots he faced, which included going 22-for-23 at even strength. Not a bad ratio at all. An above-average one at that. We’re certainly glad that he can join in on the solid performances in between the pipes and just have other aspects of the team be the issue, for now.