Minnesota Wild Win 6th Straight But Lose Jason Zucker and Ryan Carter

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104. Final. 5. 98. 3

The Minnesota Wild is winners of 6 straight games for the first time since October of 2006, but it came at a price. Taking on the Vancouver Canucks, Jason Zucker and Ryan Carter were injured in the first period and did not return. Jordan Schroeder scored his first goal as a member of the Minnesota Wild against his former team as the Wild held on to win 5-3.
Good morning, Minnesota Wild fans. As I walked out of the Xcel Energy Center and back to my car, I couldn’t help but think about a few things. Mostly, I couldn’t remember the last time the Wild won 6 straight games. That’s because I was 16 the last time they won that many games straight. Don’t get me wrong, a 5-3 victory is great, but losing Zucker and Carter to injury in the opening frame is a big problem. Check out Dustin’s coverage of that before you get my spin on it below.
First Period:

The Wild looked disorganized and befuddled to start the game, allowing Vancouver to put the first 4 straight shots on goal while failing to hold the offensive zone at all. Then, in the 5th minute, Schroeder scored with the Wild’s 1st shot on goal.

After Nate Prosser and Mathew Dumba did a great job clogging up the neutral zone to slow down the Canucks, Dumba fed Charlie Coyle the puck and he went hard towards the net with Schroeder. Coyle used his big frame to open up space in the slot and force Christopher Tanev in to a 2-on-1 while Schroeder cruised down the left-wing side. Coyle fed Schroeder, and the Prior Lake native buried a quick backhander over the blocker of Ryan Miller to make it 1-0 Wild at 05:05 of the first period. Schroeder has been sniffing hard for his first goal with the Wild and it’s great to see the kid finally get there.

Ryan Carter was hurt shortly after the Schroeder goal while crashing the net. Carter fell to the ice and went shoulder first in to the end wall with a Canucks defender on top of him. Carter looked to be in a ton of pain, heading straight to the locker room after skating to the bench. He played just 94 seconds before his injury and did not return.

Kyle Brodziak and Derek Dorsett fought about a minute after Carter’s injury. The refs let the fight go on a bit longer than I expected, allowing Brodziak to get a few hefty hits away. Not sure who won the fight, but if you’ve read my work before you know fighting isn’t really my thing.

Just as Vancouver started to turn up the pressure again, Alexandre Burrows took his first penalty of the night and watched from the box as the Wild went up by a pair with a power play tally.

With the Wild’s top Power Play unit on the ice, Thomas Vanek picked up a loose puck in the right face-off circle, drew all four defenders to the right-wing side of the ice, and fed a wide open Jason Pominville who buried a one-timer past Miller in to a wide open net to make it 2-0 Wild at 07:37 of the first period. Pominville snapped at 12-game goal drought and Mikko Koivu picked up his first of 3 assists on the night.

Zucker got hurt shortly after Pominville’s goal and did not return to the game.

Zach Kassain put Vancouver on the board first after smothering Zach Parise with a high hit in to the boards to force an offensive zone turnover by the Wild. Kassian cruised in to the Canucks offensive end with his line mates and fired a quick wrister that went past Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk and clanked in off the far goalpost to make it 2-1 Wild at 10:18 of the first period. After the play, you can see Parise arguing with the referees that Kassian should’ve been assessed a penalty well before the goal was scored. Kassian’s goal also ended Dubnyk’s shutout streak at 136 minutes and 57 seconds. That streak started in Vancouver last week.

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Nino Niederreiter got moved up to the second line with Koivu and Pominville following the Zucker injury and rewarded the Wild with a goal. Niederreiter, picked up a pass from Koivu in the low slot near the right face-off dot and fired a lighting fast shot that beat Miller’s glove to the back of the net. 3-1 Wild at 15:37 of the first period. I’m super glad they moved Niederreiter to that line and he put himself in the right spot to score. He seems to do better on the right side, but can play on either wing.

Shots through one period: Vancouver Canucks 10, Minnesota Wild 11.

Second Period:

Shawn Matthias opened the middle frame by pulling the Canucks within one. Radim Vrbata pushed a shot right behind Dubnyk that slid across the crease without crossing the goal line and Matthias bumped it home to make it 3-2 Wild at 01:11 of the second period.

Schroeder and Coyle tried to make the same 3-on-2 move that earned them the opening goal in the 6th minute and ended up drawing a penalty rather than scoring.

On the ensuing power play, Ryan Suter re-established the Wild’s cushion. Suter fired a slap shot from the blue line that Nick Bonino blocked, grabbed his own rebound, and fired the same shot again, this time making it through a screened Miller to make it 4-2 Wild at 07:05 of the second period. Suter hadn’t scored since opening night, and the excitement (relief) on his face was awesome. Koivu earned his 3rd and final assist on the night on Suter’s power play goal.

54 seconds later, Kyle Brodziak scored his 7th of the season to chase Miller from the crease. Brodziak fired a low shot from the right face-off circle that beat Miller on the far side of the crease to make it 5-2 Wild at 07:59 of the first period. Eddie Lack came on in relief for Miller, who allowed 5 goals on 18 shots in 27 minutes of ice time for a dismal .722 save percentage.

Dumba let loose one of his wicked slapshots on his next shift that shattered Derek Dorsett’s stick and sent him hobbling back to the bench. I can’t wait for Dumba to fully refine his one-timer. That thing is gonna be wicked.

Shots after two periods: Vancouver Canucks 17, Minnesota Wild 21

Third Period:

Not a ton to report on the third. Lack stopped every shot he faced, including a beauty one-timer chance by Mikael Granlund that looked earmarked for a goal.

The Wild certainly went to the box a few times, all for fighting or roughing,  but didn’t give Vancouver a power play chance until the 16th minute when Schroeder served a bench minor for too many men on the ice. Vancouver’s power play unit only got 38 seconds with the man advantage until Vrbata took a penalty for tripping Parise, sending the game back to 4-on-4. Vancouver did not register a shot on goal during its power play despite pulling Lack in favor of 6 skaters.

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  • As the 4-on-4 expired, Daniel Sedin fired a shot from the top of the right face-off circle that Ryan Stanton tipped up and over the glove of Dubnyk to make it 5-3 Wild at 17:57 of the third period.

    The Wild went back on the power play with 21 seconds left to seal the game. Game over, Minnesota Wild win 5-3 in regulation.

    Final shots on goal: Vancouver Canucks 25, Minnesota Wild 32

    Trembley’s Take:

    The last time the Wild had a 6 game winning streak, I was in high school. George W. Bush was still in office, and Akon (remember him?) was at the top of the Billboard radio charts.

    It’s nice to see the Wild find different ways to win. The last two games were carried on the back of Devan Dubnyk. Tonight’s game, the offense stepped up in a big way, especially without their #2 goal scorer in Jason Zucker.

    Congratulations to Jordan Schroeder on his first goal as a member of the Minnesota Wild.

    With his 3-point night, Koivu has his 112th career multi-point game and is needs just two more of those outings to tie Marian Gaborik’s Wild record for most multi-point games.

    For the second game in a row, Niederreiter was a team-leading 68% corsi-for. He also led the team in hits with 5 and played more ice time than Vanek. I think we’re gonna see more from him really soon.

    Per Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Carter could be seen walking around the locker room with his arm in a sling after the game. Jason Zucker did not talk to the media, but Mike Yeo said “we should not expect to see them back in the lineup in the near future.” This is way bad news tonight, especially considering the Wild are right back at it in Winnipeg tonight. Expect some call ups from the Iowa Wild. My guess is Brett Sutter slots in for Carter and Stu Bickel is recalled as an extra skater. Justin Fontaine will return from injury tonight. Talk to you the, folks.