Minnesota Wild Rally Late To Beat New York Islanders In Shootout


98. Final. 1(so). 106. 2

Zach Parise provided all the offense, including the lone shootout tally while Devan Dubnyk made 37 saves and stopped a 3 shooters in the shootout to steal yet another win for the white-hot Minnesota Wild.

Good morning, Minnesota Wild fans. If you’ve got a bit of a short memory, the Wild was completely outplayed by the Islanders and trailed by as much as 4-1 before an errant check by Matt Martin ended Keith Ballard’s season if not his career. That turned the game around and led the Wild to a win.

I mention that because it seems the Wild has trouble with the speedy Islanders and tonight was no different. If not for a flurry of saves by a razor-sharp Devan Dubnyk, the Wild would’ve been down 4-0 in the opening minutes. Instead, the Wild did what they do best and rallied in the third to force overtime and eventually won in the skills competition. The Wild just keep finding ways to win.

First Period:

From the opening face-off, this one was all Islanders. Registering 4 shots on goal in just over 90 seconds, The Isles set the tone very early on. Minnesota native Brock Nelson had the best of the early chances, but couldn’t get the puck past Dubnyk.

I honestly don’t think the Wild spent more than 50 seconds outside its defensive zone. Thomas Vanek had a couple of chances while drawing boos from the Nassau faithful.

As an aside, Nino Niederreiter also drew a flock of boo birds every time he touched the puck. I don’t know if Islanders nation should boo the kid. They traded him for peanuts wile hindering his development, so there’s that.

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Sean Bergenheim was also quite good for the Wild, mostly thanks to Jordan Schroeder.

At one point in the first, the Wild was outshot 11-1 and finished the period outshot by a 3 to 1 margin. Devan Dubnyk came up huge for the Wild and helped them escape to the locker room tied at zero.

Thomas Vanek led all Wild skaters in even strength Corsi at 50%. Sad to think that dead even was the best the Wild could muster.

Shots after one period: Minnesota Wild 5, New York Islanders 16

Second Period:

The middle frame was far more even, with the Wild using its speed to generate chances and force turnovers.

Justin Fontaine had the best scoring chance in the early goings with a lighting fast wrister from the left face-off circle, but it was blocked out front.

Zach Parise and Jason Pominville had a brilliant 2-on-1 chance after Parise hustled to force a turnover. Parise set up Pominville brilliantly on the short side, but Jaroslav Halak made a brilliant save to keep the game scoreless.

Marco Scandella did really well to jump up on offensive rushes tonight, which I think is one of his strong suits. He put a shot past Halak that stopped short of the goal line. Halak fell to his back on top of the puck, but slid past the goal line as play was whistled dead. I’m not sure if the puck went with him, but this is where a coach’s challenge would come in super handy.

Thomas Hickey tripped Mikael Granlund for the game’s first penalty in the 15th minute. The Wild’s top power play unit pinned the Islanders in their own zone for 90+ seconds, but didn’t get much on net.

As soon as the Wild’s power play expired, Granlund took a penalty of his own and sent the Islanders to its power play. Jordan Schroeder (more on him later) spent some time on the penalty kill with Erik Haula and I think it served him well.

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NY Islanders: Is this the week we learn if Zach Parise is retiring?
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  • Just as the Islanders power play expired, John Tavares opened the scoring. Tavares started the play by putting a centering pass on to the stick of Kyle Okposo from the half wall. Okposo tried for a quick shot in tight, which Dubnyk stopped but couldn’t control the rebound. Tavares, now in front of the net, chipped away at the puck while Dubnyk frantically reached for it. After about 3 whacks of the puck, Tavares finally put the puck up and over the leg pad of Dubnyk to make it 1-0 Islanders at 19:36 of the second period. For a little Minnesota connection, Okposo (St. Paul) and Anders Lee (Edina) earned the assists. With 74 points on the season, Tavares is tied with Sidney Crosby for lead in the scoring race.

    Shots after two periods: Minnesota Wild 17, New York Islanders 28

    Third Period:

    The Wild’s scoring chances in this game rose exponentially. Rather than losing its legs in the third period, the Wild completely took over, despite finishing up a back-to-back.

    Schroeder generated stacks of offensive chances in the 3rd, including a Bergenheim to Haula chance that went just wide.

    Niederreiter had quite a few chances that all went wide. You could tell he really wanted to score against his old team.

    Mikko Koivu also had a great chance by gaining separation from a few defenders, but Halak forced it just wide.

    After tons of chances by all 4 Wild lines,Parise tied the game in very Parise fashion. Pominville fed Parise a centering pass and Parise put a shot on goal that bounced off of Halak’s leg pads, leaving a juicy rebound. Travis Hamonic grabbed the rebound and tried to push it across the crease where Parise stole it and buried home his 29th of the season to make it a 1-1 tie at 11:45 of the third period.

    Lots of great chances on either side to try to end this one in regulation, but nothing clicked. Parise also blocked a Nick Leddy shot to force overtime, which was huge for the Wild, who rallied big time in the 3rd.

    Shots on goal through regulation: Minnesota Wild 29, New York Islanders 35

    Overtime and shootout:

    Three shots a side in overtime, including a 3-on-1 with Schroeder, Parise and Ryan Suter that Leddy barely broke up just outside the crease. Thomas Vanek also had a clean breakaway. In the slowest breakaway ever, Vanek put a slap shot wide of the net, so off to the shootout we go.

    Zach Parise scored on a wrister that bounced off the goalpost and then the glove of Halak before sneaking in to the net. Devan Dubnyk stopped all 3 shooters he faced. Game Over, Wild pull off a win in the shootout.

    Trembley’s Take:

    I’m running out of nice things to say about Devan Dubnyk, who moves to 24-6-1 with the Wild. It’s not that there is nothing else to say, it’s that I’m running out of superlatives to describe his greatness. He’s 3-0-1 in back-to-backs with the Wild. He was rightfully the second star of the game according to the media, though he deserved all three.

    With 8 games remaining in the season, Zach Parise is at 29 goals, matching his season total from last year. He’s tied for 10th in the NHL in goals scored. Pominville’s assist moves him to 2nd on the team points list (tied with Vanek.)

    Jordan Schroeder played extremely well tonight. He generated tons of chances from the 4th line and used his speed to force tons of turnovers. If he stays in the lineup, it will likely be for Bergenheim. I think they’re interchangeable based on the team the Wild is facing. For speed, Schroeder slots in while Bergenheim slots in to the lineup for grit and physicality.

    After the game, word got out that the Wild signed NCAA undrafted free agent Grayson Downing from the University of New Hampshire. We’ll bring you more on that tomorrow. Thanks for reading!

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