The Minnesota Wild overcame a 2 goal deficit in defeating the Detroit Red Wings in overtime 4-3 at Joe Louis Arena in the second game of a home and home series. Matt Moulson deflected home a Jonas Brodin shot 2;15 into OT to earn the much needed second point for Minnesota. The teams split the weekend’s games with the visitors taking the win in each game. The Wild now have 85 points giving them a 6 point lead over the Phoenix Coyotes and puts them 8 up on the Dallas Stars for the top Wild Card spot in the Western Conference. Detroit earned 3 points over the weekend and now is tied with Toronto Maple Leafs with 80 points for the top Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Wild dominated play all game long but trailed on the scoreboard through the first 44:33. Detroit scored twice in the first period while being out shot 12 to 6. Both of those goals came from one of if not the hottest scorer in the NHL right now, Gustav Nyquist. He has 7 goals in Detroit’s last 5 games and 3 against the Wild this weekend. His 18 goals since January 20th lead the NHL. After two periods the Red Wings still led the Wild 2-1 while being out shot 19 to 10. Minnesota came on strong in the third period scoring twice in the first 6:18 on goals by Charlie Coyle and Zach Parise. The Red Wings tied the game at 3 apiece on a Tomas Tatar goal at 11:43 of the 3rd. From that point on the teams traded some chances but both seemed to focus on defense and preserving a sure point in the standings. In the overtime session the Wild traded possessions with Detroit before Charlie Coyle slid the puck over to Jonas Brodin who launched a shot that was redirected past net minder Jimmy Howard by Matt Moulson for the winning score at the 2:15 mark of the extra session. That’s Moulson’s 2nd career OT game winner and he now has 4 goals and 4 assists in 10 games since joining the Wild. After the game Moulson commented, “It was nice to end one before the shootout for once.” I wholeheartedly agree with him after watching Bryzgalov give up 3 goals on 16 shots and struggle with several of the 13 saves he made. I wouldn’t have had a lot of confidence going to a shoot out with Bryz in net tonight.
In the game the Wild totaled 25 shots on goal out of 49 attempted shots while limiting the Red Wings to just 16 total shots on net. Detroit managed just 6 shots on goal in the first and third periods and only 4 in the second. That’s Detroit’s lowest shot total ever against the Minnesota Wild, the previous low was 23 shots which has happened twice. Another area the Wild dominated was the face off dot taking 34 of 54 draws which works out to a 63% success rate. Mikko Koivu was the best winning 12 of the 15 face offs he took. Sunday night was it for the season series with the Red Wings as they are now an Eastern Conference team, something I’m still getting used to. All time the Wild are now 15-25-9 vs Detroit, 7-9-8 at the Xcel Energy Center and 8-16-1 at Joe Louis Arena. Recently though Minnesota’s fortunes have changed playing in Detroit, going 4-3 in the last 7 road contests. Ilya Bryzgalov got the win for the Wild making 13 save on 16 shots faced. His record with Minnesota is now 2-0-2 and overall he’s 7-8-7 this season.
Once again the Wild spread the scoring out with 4 players upping their goal totals for the season; Jason Pominville 27g, Charlie Coyle 9g, Zach Parise 24g, Matt Moulson 21g. A total of 9 different players had at least a point in the game tonight with 3 players, Coyle, Moulson, and Mikko Koivu with 2 points on the night. Coyle and Moulson had a goal and assist each while Koivu picked up his 33rd and 34th assists of the season. Pominville continues to lead the Wild in points with 51 (27g, 24a) followed by Parise with 46 points (24g, 22a), Koivu 43 points (9g, 34a), Suter 42 points(7g, 33a) and Mikaael Granlund 39 points(8g, 31a). All five of Minnesota’s top scorers had points in Sunday’s game. The defense was well represented also with Suter, Jonas Brodin (8g, 11a) and Jared Spurgeon (4g, 18a) all recording assists. One defenseman who didn’t show up on the score sheet but had a great game nonetheless was Jon Blum. He was called up to the NHL from the Iowa Wild along with Stephane Veilleux after Clayton Sstoner and Keith Ballard were unable to travel to Detroit due to injuries. Blum, who skated on the third D-pair with Nate Prosser, totaled 14:26 in ice time, 3 shots on goal, 2 hits, and 3 blocked shots. This was also his third game in three nights as he played for the Iowa Wild Friday and Saturday.
The Wild have just 10 games left in the regular season, 5 home and 5 away, with 4 of the next five contests on the road against some of the top teams in the Western conference those being the St. Louis Blues, Phoenix Coyotes, Los Angeles Kings, and Chicago Blackhawks. Minnesota’s lone home game in the next five is this coming Wednesday against the beloved Vancouver Canucks. At least the Wild finish the regular season with 4 of 5 at home before they (most likely) start the Stanley Cup Playoffs on the road.
The intensity level is ratcheting up with each game as the end of the regular season approaches. One team the Wild never have to get energized to play however is the Vancouver Canucks who come to St. Paul for a Wednesday evening tilt at the Xcel Energy Center at 7 pm Central Time. The Canucks are 3 points out of the 2nd Wild Card spot, held by Phoenix, in the Western Conference with 9 games left on their schedule. Minnesota has Monday off before resuming practice on Tuesday morning. I’ll be back Wednesday with your preview of Wild vs Canucks. Until then enjoy this victory over the Red Wings and as always this is Scott Drain yelling out victoriously, “LET’S GO WILD, LET’S GO WILD!!”
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