Minnesota Wild Start Western Road Trip With Win In Edmonton


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The Minnesota Wild started the back half of the season off right with a 2-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers. Former Oiler Devan Dubnyk performed very well in net while goals from Nino Niederreiter and Charlie Coyle sealed the victory for the visiting Wild.

Good morning, Minnesota Wild fans. I feel a weight coming off the Wild’s shoulders. Now earning points in 4 of 5 straight games (3-1-1) The Wild look to be playing more like a team every day. Last night, the Wild beat the Edmonton Oilers, though it wasn’t the rout we were hoping for. Niederreiter snapped his 17-game goal drought and Coyle scored a gorgeous, highlight reel game-winner.

Don’t forget to check out Dustin’s look at the Wild’s prospects before we get to my game notes.

We’d also like to extend our thoughts to the police department in New Hope, Minnesota. As you may have heard on the news, two of their officers were injured in a shooting Monday evening and are recovering at a Minneapolis area hospital.

First Period:

The Wild had a lot of energy in the first period, especially for a team that had a 5-day vacation. Having Mikael Granlund back on the 2nd line with Zach Parise and Thomas Vanek certainly didn’t hurt.

Niederreiter, Coyle and Ryan Carter had some really great chances as well, but never put anything of quality on net.

Granlund sent Edmonton to its first power play of the night after closing his hand on the puck while Benoit Pouliot viciously cross-checked the much smaller Granlund in the neck. The Wild PK returned to its usual form, holding Edmonton to one shot on goal and forcing the Oilers to chase the puck down the ice

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Parise, Granlund and Vanek had a glorious chance in deep after Vanek took a long outlet pass and set up camp along the side boards.

Granlund and Parise tried a few jam-ins before Vanek had a wide open net to fire at. Vanek’s shot was saved just above the goal line by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Though they didn’t score, the Wild used the momentum to get on the board.

After a quick line change, Justin Fontaine, Niederreiter and Coyle found themselves deep in the offensive zone. Nail Yakupov beat Niederreiter to a loose puck but made a silly mistake by skating in front of Goaltender Viktor Fasth. Fontaine stole the puck from Yakupov, passed off for Niederreiter just outside the crease, and El Ninõ roofed a wrist shot over the glove of an unprepared Fasth. 1-0 Wild at 09:09 of the first period. Niederreiter scored his first goal since a penalty shot in Chicago on December 17th, 2014. More on him later.

A Matt Cooke penalty 50 seconds after Niederreiter’s goal gave Edmonton a Chance to tie. Dubnyk faced two shots during this PK, stopping them both.

Parise took a puck to the teeth on hos first shift after the penalty expired. In true hockey fashion, he spit some blood and one of his teeth on to the ice, picked up the loose tooth and calmly skated to the locker room. Parise didn’t play the remainder of the first, but returned later. After this season, the poor guy is going to look a little different.

Rob Klinkhammer sent the Wild to its first power play at the end of the first. Ryan Suter had the only good chance with a hefty slap shot at the blue line.

Shots after one period: Minnesota Wild 10, Edmonton Oilers 5

Second Period:

Fontaine had the only good chance for the Minnesota Wild in the second, but made a poor pass rather than shooting from the high slot.

Dubnyk came up huge a few times in the second, denying Justin Schultz on a breakaway early.

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  • Edmonton tied the game late in the second, thanks to former Oiler Kyle Brodziak. Matt Hendricks scooped up a puck behind the Wild net, and passed off for Boyd Gordon. Gordon attempted a wraparound attempt and looked to be stopped by Dubnyk, but the puck came loose in the slot and caromed off of Brodziak’s skate. Dubnyk had no chance. It’s not really Brodziak’s fault, either, but it’s certainly not a goal to hang on Dubnyk. 1-1 tie at 17:16 of the second period.

    Shots after two periods: Minnesota Wild 19, Edmonton Oilers 11

    Third Period:

    Granlund had a really nice attempt from the top of the left face-off circle that land in Fasth’s hands with a disappointing thud.

    The Wild had a power play in the 6th minute that went nowhere. Jonas Brodin had the only shot on goal.

    Honestly, this game was a bit of a snoozer until Charlie Coyle happened. Coyle picked up an errant pass from Jordan Eberle just inside the center red line and burst down the left-wing wall all alone. Fasth stepped out to challenge Coyle and looked to have him stopped, but Coyle held on to the puck, slid past the goal line and pushed the puck home with a huge extension and a gorgeous forehand-backhand move to make it 2-1 Wild at 15:37 of the third period. Coyle’s goal made SportsCenter’s top-10 and it’s nearly impossible for me to put it in to words, so have a look for yourself.

    Thank goodness for that playoff series with the Avalanche, because the Wild found themselves in a 6-on-4 situation for the last 2 minutes of the game when Suter went to the box for holding the stick of Derek Roy. Miraculously, or perhaps because of practice, the Wild stonewalled the Oilers and squeezed out a victory. Game over, Minnesota Wild win 2-1 in regulation

    Final shots on goal: Minnesota Wild 29, Edmonton Oilers 24

    Trembley’s Take:

    Did anybody else feel like this should have been a rout? I’m glad the Wild won and all, but they never really got going offensively.

    Niederreiter earns my star of the game tonight with a goal, 4 shots, a +2 rating, and a 60% corsi for. He only played 11:49 of the game, which is super disheartening considering Cooke had 11:39. Seriously, the guy has 15 goals and is only getting 10 seconds more ice time than Cooke. Brodziak had 2 full minutes more, though he plays a lot of time on the penalty kill.

    Dubnyk has a 0.958 save percentage and had no chance on the Boyd Gordon goal. He looked  to be fighting the puck a bit more than we’ve seen previously, but it’s one game.

    Granlund, fresh off his return from injury, was second on the team in TOI with 17:25, added 3 shots on goal and won 56% of his face-offs. I’m glad to see him back.

    The Wild has to figure out what do with Suter. He played just under 30 minutes again tonight and was the only top-4 defenseman to post a sub 50% corsi-for. Jared Spurgeon was an absurdly good 78% corsi-for in just under 20 minutes of ice time.

    The Wild arrived in Calgary as I’m writing this and reported to the team hotel only to find it evacuated due to a reported fire. After a 3-hour bus ride, I’m sure they’re not incredibly pleased. Talk to you Thursday when the Wild battle the Flames. That joke writes itself, I swear.