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Recap: Wild scrape together win in rollercoaster game against Stars

My heart can’t take another game like this.

Minnesota Wild v Dallas Stars Photo by Sam Hodde/NHLI via Getty Images

The Minnesota Wild had a seemingly herculean task this afternoon in keeping red-hot Jason Robertson from taking advantage of them. The Dallas Stars were coming off a few days of rest, while the Wild likely had tired legs from a back-to-back. Furthermore, Dallas annihilated a Ducks team on Thursday that the Wild had to steal a messy overtime win from.

Granted Dallas didn’t have an easy task with the Wild either, their defense has been outstanding as of late, and the GREEF line had made a rather triumphant return in the previous few games. Furthermore, their special teams have been especially strong, so the Stars almost certainly went to the game with pretty clear directions to stay out of the box and not give the Wild those extra man opportunities.

However, the game ended up being more of a rollercoaster than either team probably expected or wanted. The Wild went on a scorching hot scoring streak in the second only to be beat up on in the third, and hold on for dear life through a long-feeling OT and shootout. Luckily, shootout hero Freddy Gaudreau got them their two points.

What an exhausting game, I went from THE MINNESOTA WILD WILL NEVER LOSE A HOCKEY GAME EVER AGAIN to THE MINNESOTA WILD WILL NEVER WIN A HOCKEY GAME EVER AGAIN within minutes, let’s get into it.

The Wild certainly didn’t start with their best skate forward. They couldn’t catch pucks, and within the first five minutes Dallas had five shots to Minnesota’s one. Marc-Andre Fleury had to be on his absolute best behavior.

Matt Boldy and Kirill Kaprizov began to add some razzle-dazzle to the game and former worked hard to give them a couple of chances. Kaprizov hit post on a shot. Boldy was then tripped and the Wild take their third power play. Finally, they’re rewarded and Kaprizov did his Kaprizov thing, and got the Wild on the board with a goal from an incredibly tight angle.

This period was entirely defined by special teams, and practically no 5-on-5 hockey, so naturally, Jake Middleton took an interference penalty and the Wild had to kill another penalty. They managed it. Aaaaand then with 52 seconds left of the first Jordan Greenway took a penalty for holding Esa Lindell.

In the first, despite giving the Stars lots of opportunities to score with the extra man, the Wild kept them off the board. Kirill also extended his point streak to 12 games.

The Wild started the second period with a 1:08 of Stars’ power play to kill. Listen, it’s not like the Wild are good at 5-on-5 hockey right now, so playing the entire game on special teams isn’t actually the worst strategy.

The strategy continued to work for that kill, and the Wild were 3-for-3 on the penalty kill, so far. However, the Wild remained not so hot outside of special teams. They were 18-7 in shot differential.

Tragedy struck with 13 minutes left in the second, Merrill was pressured into a turnover. Fleury was able to beat a Robertson shot, but Roope Hintz took advantage of a rebound and managed to get Dallas on the board.

Mats Zuccarello took a tripping penalty, and the Wild go back on the kill. Short-handed goal KING of the Minnesota Wild, Connor Dewar hustled like hell on wheels to score his second short-handed goal of the season. 2-1 Minnesota, for those keeping track.

Okay bare with me as I do my best to properly recreate the next 2 minutes and 50 seconds of fun we got to experience watching the Minnesota Wild score hundreds of goals.

First the Dewey 2 short-handed goal, which is about as much fun as a fan can have. The Wild killed the remainder of the penalty. Roughly two and half minutes later, Middleton absolutely blasted a shot from the circle and scored.

Unsatisfied with only two goals in a handful of minutes, Greenway got one in 15 seconds later. SCORE 4-1 IN THREE MINUTES????? RYAN REAVES ASSISTS???

The Wild end the 2nd period 4-1, despite Dallas having outshot Minnesota 25-16.

The Stars opted to give Jake Oettinger a break to start the 3rd, and Scott Wedgewood began in net.

JEEk decided to make sure the offense stayed hot and just went ahead and scored 29 seconds into the middle frame.

Let me clear though, this game was not done being absolutely insane. Hintz beat Fleury and minutes later Robertson got his goal with a quick tuck behind Fleury. Suddenly the 5-1 game was 5-3 with 12 minutes left. Not necessarily what you want.

Marchment then got his own and the game was within one. Absolutely miserable showing.

Middleton and Faksa went to fisticuffs after, Middleton took a hit on Faksa. Faksagot the penalty for instigating, and the Wild had an opportunity with a 5-on-4 PP to tilt momentum back in their direction. Which of course, they failed to capitalize on.

With 2:11 left, Hintz claimed his hat trick and tied the game.

The Wild went to OT, so they got at least a point but at what cost? The longest feeling OT of my life ended scoreless, and the Wild went to their second shootout in as many nights.

Kaprizov and Zuccarello matched goals from Robertson and Pavelski. Hat trick hero Hintz went just wide behind Fleury and missed and Gaudreau clinched the win.

Pretty ugly back-to-back wins, but a four-game win streak is a four-game win streak. So ha!! Never a doubt!!!

Burning Questions

(Softball question) Can Kirill continue his streak?

Yes! Kirill opened the scoring on the Wild’s third power play of the game. It was his 16th goal of the season and continued his 12-game point streak. It’s easy! The sun will rise, Kirill Kaprizov will score goals.

Can the GREEF line stop the supernova that is Jason Robertson?

Ummmm, Robertson was limited to only an apple and a goal, so no repeat of his Thursday, but they were considerably less successful at keeping Roope Hintz off the board, who managed to score all of the goals. Frankly, in a 5-5 game where you blow a 5-1 lead, I’m not sure anyone on that team can claim that they limited scoring tangibly at all.

I’ll say this: the Wild played a pretty ugly game throughout most of this, especially during 5-on-5 hockey. Fleury made some pretty major saves through the first two when he was largely left out to dry. However, he fell apart in the third, and was indefensibly leaky during the shootout. Now, whether that’s because a goalie can’t play alone for as long as he did, or if he should be held more accountable than that, I don’t know. I’m open to hearing opinions.

Can the fourth line create some offence?

CONNOR DEWAR SHORT HANDED GOAL KING. I love Connor Dewar, my stock for this kid is through the roof. Mason Shaw clearing the ice for this was a joy to watch too, these guys play good hockey together.

Ryan Reaves has some points to his name for this game too. Not to sow further discord and chaos but I’ll leave you all with this horrific nugget: