Slow to start the game, this felt like a game the Minnesota Wild could win until the final minutes of the third period. Maybe that is just a side effect of the recent run of success the Wild have had though.
While it didn't take much time for the Wild to find themselves behind the eight ball to the Dallas Stars, it did take a strange penalty where Matt Boldy and Mason Marchment seemingly high-stick each other at the same time. Because Boldy drew blood, the Wild were handed extra two minutes and the Stars were afforded the opportunity to draw ahead early.
In a tense penalty kill —where Marc-André Fleury made a valiant effort to keep the Stars off the board— Tyler Seguin eventually scored on a deflection from a Ryan Suter point shot. This is some foreshadowing because it became Fleury's Achilles Heel for the night.
But not all was lost, while Jason Robertson has no doubt been the story of the NHL this year, not even he can match some of the magic of Kirill Kaprizov.
kirill sneaks it by for his 20th of the season!! pic.twitter.com/DRtLZHTF9y— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes) December 30, 2022
His 20th of the year, Kaprizov has no business scoring from that angle. We've said that before and can't wait to say it again.
While the first period felt like two teams competing to make the most mistakes, the second period had the feel of two teams trying to overcorrect and tighten up completely. With 10 shots for Dallas and five for the Wild, the game felt much tighter in the second.
As things started to tighten up, they got chippier and more physical. Which we all know plays right into the Wild's hand.
dumba absolutely crushes marchment pic.twitter.com/pZXZl1bsxg— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes) December 30, 2022
The play got more physical and the offense took a back seat for both teams. The scoreboard reflected that.
Heading into the third, this felt like a win within reach for the Wild. Let's hit the bullet points why it wasn't.
an impressive fleury of saves from marc-andré pic.twitter.com/zbzZRJ3x0S— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes) December 30, 2022
Three minutes into the third, on a deflection from Wyatt Johnson, the Stars took a 2-1 lead. They extended that lead with seven minutes left on a powerplay marker from noted jerk Jamie Benn. With a Sammy Walker goal disallowed because of offsides —curse you NHL— the Stars iced it with a Tyler Seguin goal to make it 4-1.
For a game where the Wild were outshot attempted 73-60 and outshot 43-25. In spite of this, they felt like they were in it for the majority of the game and that some very convenient missed penalty calls helped out the Stars.
On to the answers.
The Wild vs. the third period
Three goals against in the third, although one was an empty-netter. But still, not a good showing from a team that seems to start slow and finish worse.
What's Sammy Walker gonna do?
Was this a cruel joke written by a clairvoyant?
He was noticeable and impactful and scored a goal before the cruel gods of offsides took that away from him. He looks good but seemingly disappears for a long time before popping up and showing the flash that makes him look unique.