Whether it was some sort of karmatic revenge or the natural progression of multiple hockey games, the Minnesota Wild got a taste of their own medicine against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night.
With a hard-fought 2-1 lead heading into the dying minutes of regulation, the home Blue Jackets were able to fight tooth and nail, crawling along the percentage line and with the goalie pulled, scored an equalizing goal that sent shivers down the spines of every Wild fan. We all know the feeling that Columbus felt with 30 seconds left, but it is a strange sensation to finally be on the other end of it and experience a one-goal lead just slip away so easily.
ugh. Blue Jackets tie it with 30 seconds left. pic.twitter.com/xqN1crt6Py— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes) March 12, 2022
It had to happen eventually, and for it to take place during the final minutes of the Wild’s second game played in 24 hours while on the road, makes it a little bit easier to swallow.
Mats Zuccarello was the only Wild player to get more than a single point, earning a goal and an assist, and Kaapo Kahkonen kept his stat line respectable, saving 26 of 28 shots on goal.
Well, it all started with Columbus getting on the board first with another display of some dismal penalty killing from Minnesota.
Chinakhov scores a clean PP goal, 1-0 CBJ. pic.twitter.com/pIlf23Ah4F— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes) March 12, 2022
At least that terrible penalty killing didn’t last long, and it was all thanks to Connor Dewar, who during the lengthy double-minor, essentially killed off 30 seconds just by himself and ended up drawing a penalty himself, after being an extreme pest in the Blue Jackets’ zone.
Dewar with an insane shift on the penalty kill that draws a penalty himself. Just beautiful. pic.twitter.com/5o4r8i5K0K— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes) March 12, 2022
A thing of beauty.
Penalties were going back and forth between the two teams and eventually, the Wild had a 4-on-3 penalty (wild) in which Kirill Kaprizov scored his 30th goal of the season.
KIRILL. 30 GOALS. Snaps one past Merzlikins to tie it 1-1. pic.twitter.com/bVhrnnAWxp— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes) March 12, 2022
With this goal, Kaprizov becomes just the seventh 30-goal scorer in Wild history and the first since 2018. He’s also only the third draft pick that the Wild made to score 30 goals.
The game was tied for the majority of the second period, but that doesn’t mean the Wild weren’t trying to get on the board. And sometimes, Matt Boldy was doing a solo-effort scoring chance.
Boldy does not care, he will go through the entire team. pic.twitter.com/YGa8S3dKW8— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes) March 12, 2022
It is just incredible what Boldy has done so far and how he can take full advantage of a slow-moving defense by just twisting and turning around them. His stickhandling is something to behold, and while it might seem less impressive and more dramatic with its wide movements, it still works.
Columbus just kept on taking penalties in the last two periods — Minnesota had four full minutes in each period to score goals, but I guess they were comfortable with a one-goal lead provided by Mats Zuccarello.
ZUCC! Mats deflects a Spurgeon shot from long range and the Wild are up 2-1. pic.twitter.com/fZeI2HDCaL— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes) March 12, 2022
While at 5-on-5, the Wild still dominated. In the second period, Minnesota had 19 shot attempts compared to Columbus’ four, 12 shots on goal to their two, and 13 scoring chances to their two as well. The ice was tilted, but they just could not get that extra security of a third goal.
And they really tried hard to get that in the second half.
Pretty evident that our favorite hockey club was in control, but it just didn’t finish that way, as we all know now.
The third period was just a big blob of blah, as the Wild still had more chances, but just nothing would work for them. And then overtime, and then the shootout, in which we all know what happened — and that is that the Wild lost.
A fairly forgettable game and one that you can provide all the context you need to make yourself feel better about it. With this single point, the Wild still remain third in the Central, but have a two-point buffer ahead of the Nashville Predators and five points ahead of the Dallas Stars. And we were worried that they might slip down and out of the playoffs!
Next, we get to celebrate Mikko Koivu as we host those evil Predators in a game that should mean so much off the ice, but also on the ice as well.
Can Kaapo Kahkonen come back from a disappointing performance and make the goaltending duel interesting again?
Kaapo was certainly better than in the past and a more solid performance than what Cam Talbot showed us on Thursday. At 5-on-5, Kahkonen saved all 15 shots he faced — buuuuut that first goal scored by Chinakhov cleanly went under his arm and it was certainly one that he would want back. Not an ideal start, but he rescued the game a little bit in the rest of the hour. I wouldn’t say he suddenly should be the starter, but he’s edging closer and closer the more Talbot stinks and he just does an average job.
Will we get a sequel to The Boldy Fiala Show?
Boldy was everywhere on the ice and Fiala was getting involved in scoring chances (and even in a couple post-whistle scraps). Unfortunately Boldy didn’t get any points, but he did have three solid scoring chances, three shots on goal, and five shot attempts. Not bad for a stupid stalemate of a game. Fiala got an assist, had a team-leading eight shot attempts and seven shots on goal. Certainly another good performance from the quickly-forming dynamic duo.