Minnesota Wild Embarrassed by Dallas Stars, 7-1


7. 119. 1. 98. Final

The most lopsided loss in Wild history came March 20th,2011 when they were blown out by the Montreal Canadiens 8-1. Tonight, the Wild suffered their worst loss of the season at the hands of the red-hot Dallas Stars in big D. Thomas Vanek had the lone tally for the Minnesota Wild.  

Good evening Wild fans. I wish I had a lot of positive things to say tonight, but I don’t. After a quality win over the Toronto Maple Leafs last night, the Minnesota Wild played their worst game of the season and arguably the worst game I’ve seen as a fan. Failing to register more than 11 shots in a single period, the Wild got stomped on by the Dallas Stars. Darcy Kuemper, making his second start in as many nights, was chased from the net allowing 5 goals in the first 29 minutes of the game. The second period alone saw the Wild completely collapse and hemorrhage 5 goals. Jason Zucker made his return for the Minnesota Wild after falling ill with the stomach virus ravaging the team. Check out Dustin’s pre-game for more storylines to follow.

First Period:

The Wild, who owned a 3-0-0 series advantage over the stars coming in to tonight’s game looked flat in the first, though they were slightly competitive. I thought Kuemper was tracking the puck reasonably to start, but was far more passive than he was on Friday night. He rarely came out of the paint to challenge, which won him the Toronto game.

Doghouse dweller Erik Haula took a slashing penalty in the 4th minute, and Dallas used the opportunity to score first. Vernon Fiddler, Erik Cole, and Jamie Oleksiak executed an unimpeded line rush on the left-wing wall with about a minute left. Ritchie centered for Fiddler, and Fiddler fired a wicked quick shot from just inside the face-off dot to make it 1-0 Stars at 05:34 of the first period. By the time Fiddler touched twine, the Wild had been out shot 4-0.

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  • A minute or so later, Zach Parise took a check from behind in to the boards, giving the Wild a power play with the chance to tie. Mikko Koivu managed the Wild’s lone shot on goal after collecting a Ryan Suter rebound. The Wild had a second power play a few minutes later, but again managed just one shot on goal.

    Dallas earned two more power plays in the first, but the Wild gave us a glimmer of hope by killing both penalties.

    Like I said, despite being completely outplayed, I still felt a glimmer of hope since Kuemper played well and the wild have become notorious for terrible first periods.

    Shots after one period: Minnesota Wild 5, Dallas Stars 12

    Second Period:

    It didn’t take long for a glimmer of hope to turn in to a flicker, then a dull glow, then thoughts on who the Wild would draft with their top-10 pick.
    Completely smothered in the neutral zone, Jason Pominville had his pocket picked by Tyler Seguin along the boards. Seguin turned and passed off for Colton Sceviour. Sceviour fired a bouncing puck toward Kuemper that rose over Kuemp’s big leg pad. The puck whistled just inside the near post and made it 2-0 Stars at 05:03 of the second period. By the time of this goal, 5 minutes in, the Wild had yet to register a shot on goal in the second frame

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    Stu Bickel and Cole took coincidental minors for unsportsmanlike conduct just after the goal and the 4-on-4 play to follow wasn’t pretty for the Wild. There was absolutely no effort on the ice tonight.

    Fiddler put the Stars up by 3 after the 4-on-4 expired. A no-look pass from Brett Ritchie behind the net gave Fiddler a wide open lane in the slot for his second of the night. 3-0 Stars at 07:44 of the second period.

    On Cole’s next shift, he dropped gloves with Nate Prosser. Prosser won, so there’s that. Unnecessary fight, but he won. That may be the nicest thing I’ll ever write about a fight.

    To make things worse, Tyler Seguin earned his league-leading 26th goal of the year while all 6 Wild players were firmly fixed on John Klingberg. Klingberg opted to pass off to an uncovered Seguin who potted home a wrister from just above the goal line. Kuemper had no chance. 4-0 Stars at 08:56 of the second period. With that, the Kuemper was finished and Niklas Backstrom came in for relief.

    With Prosser in the Box, the Wild went back on the power play after Nino Niederreiter got tripped by Trevor Daley. Backstom had a major gaffe on an attempt to keep the puck moving during the power play and coughed up the puck to Jamie Benn. Benn casually passed the puck to Erik Cole who fired in to an empty net to make it 5-0 Stars at 11:15 of the second period. A shorthanded, empty-net goal. That’s where we’re at, folks. Let that sink in.

    The Wild did manage to set one record, tonight. Stu Bickel set a club record for most Penalty minutes recorded in one game.  A scrum between Ryan Carter and Vernon Fiddler became an all-out brawl with Fiddler, Carter, Bickel, and Jason Demers. For his efforts, Bickel received a game misconduct, an aggressor penalty, and instigator penalty, a fighting major, and a 10-minute misconduct. All in all, 39 minutes in penalties. He was on the ice for just over 90 seconds all game. Demers was also ejected. Carter took 7 PIM. More on this later, but I’m still steaming mad. Especially because Bickel’s actions made for a 5-on-3 power play for the Stars. Nothing to report there, though. Wild killed it off, though it didn’t matter.

    The Wild’s 4th and final power play would prevent them from a shutout. Vanek put the Wild on the board thanks to a couple quick passes by Mikko Koivu and Zach Parise. Despite being surrounded by victory green, Vanek fired a quick wrister that beat Lehtonen on the short side.

    5-1 Stars at 15:16 of the second period.

    Even  Vanek’s fly by was depressing.

    Antoine Roussel made it 6-1 Dallas at 17:41 of the second period.

    Shots after two periods: Minnesota Wild 16, Dallas Stars 29

    Third Period:

    I’ve got nothing on the third period. 6 shots a side, and I think the Wild were already on the plane.

    Ritchie scored the final goal for the Stars to end the game and make it 7-1 Stars at 18:32 of the third period.

    Final shots on goal: Minnesota Wild 22, Dallas Stars 35

    Trembley’s Take:

    Our Minnesota Wild played its worst game in recent memory tonight, folks. The way they played tonight, there’s no way they make the playoffs. At several points tonight, the Wild spent most of the game outshot by a 2-to-1 margin. The Stars had 17 shots in the second period while the Wild had just 16 shots in the first 40 minutes.

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  • The Wild is now 1 point behind the Stars for 10th place in the West. They continue to alternate wins and losses kids playing keep away. Ryan Carter called this loss “rock bottom” for the Wild. I’m not sure we’re there yet, but I think we’re close. I’d hate to see rock bottom.

    I’ll never understand why Justin Fontaine, who is statistically one of the best possession players on the team, was scratched in favor of Bickel. I’d also love for someone to tell me how his brawl was a good idea. There was no fire to light under the Wild because the Wild was ice cold. The result of Bickel’s retaliation? 2 more goals by the Stars and a club record for the most penalty minutes in a single contest.

    I think this game would’ve been different if Backstrom had started. Two separate 60 minute contests in just under 24 hours is a huge workload for a netminder still trying to find his way in the NHL.

    I’m frustrated, folks. The Wild is my favorite team. This wasn’t supposed to happen.

    Wild is off until Tuesday when they take on the Sharks at the Xcel. I’ll be live at that game so hit me up on Twitter for more.