Minnesota Wild Falter In 3-2 Loss To New York Rangers


Final. 2. 98. 3. 95

Down 2-0 after the first, the Minnesota Wild rallied to control play in the final 40 minutes and  tie the game early in the 3rd, but it wasn’t enough to beat the speedy New York Rangers. Mathew Dumba tallied two assists for his first career multi-assist game.

Good morning, Minnesota Wild fans. Despite the outcome, last night’s Wild-Rangers match up was an incredible game. In what could be a Stanley Cup Finals preview, speed, finesse, and tenacity dominated both sides of the puck. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the outcome we hoped for, as the Wild was too slow to wake up and had to fight back from a two goal deficit. There’s a sentiment that the Wild lost this game due to poor officiating, but that’s not it. Let’s get to my notes.

First period:

Bottled up in its own end, turnovers plagued the Wild, especially on zone exits.

Zach Parise provided all the Wild’s offense in the first period, including a lighting quick wrister in the early goings that Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist gobbled up.

Dominic Moore opened the scoring in the 2nd minute due to a Thomas Vanek turnover. Carl Hagelin chipped the puck in to the offensive zone and pushed it along the boards. Jordan Leopold joined Vanek in sending the puck up ice, but Vanek’s clearing attempt found its way right on to the stick of Hagelin at the opposite point. Hagelin snapped a shot towards the net that wobbled a bit and caromed towards Mathew Dumba and Moore. Moore put a deflection past Devan Dubnyk before he could react to make it 1-0 Rangers at 02:07 of the first period. It’s hard to blame Dubnyk for that goal, especially because of a really nice deflection.

The Wild’s 4th line, Jordan SchroederKyle BrodziakRyan Carter, probably had the best sustained zone pressure in the first. I think a lot of that had to do with Schroeder’s speed, which matched up really well with the Rangers. Schroeder drew some interference, but no call was made.

In the 14th minute, Justin Fontaine took a hi-sticking minor and the Rangers capitalized on their power play chance just 23 seconds in.

The Rangers won the face-off and set up in the zone, passing around the zone completely uninterrupted by the Wild’s PK. Rick Nash ended up with the puck at the extend goal line and fired a sharp angle wrister on net that bounced off of Dubnyk’s blocker and in to the net to make it 2-0 Rangers at 14:37 of the first period.

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Fontaine made amends for his penalty by drawing one of his own, getting tripped up by Chris Kreider in the offensive zone. The Wild’s top power play unit had some really great chances, including a Parise deflection off of a Mikko Koivu shot that Lundqvist somehow saved.

Shots after one period: New York Rangers 6, Minnesota Wild 9

Second Period:

The Wild came out buzzing to start the middle frame. Lots of good chances and great blue line pressure by all four lines. The Wild’s defense was rock solid as well, putting pucks on net from the point to work for deflections.

in the 5th minute, the Wild’s top line got the home team on the board to cut the lead in half. Jason Pominville and Mikael Granlund made a great zone entry before Granlund fed a crashing Dumba. Dumba put a backhander on goal that slid across the crease and was deflected in by Pominville to make it 2-1 Rangers at 05:24 of the second period.

Hagelin tripped Jared Spurgeon in the Wild’s defensive zone to send Minnesota back to the power play, which didn’t produce much before Thomas Vanek took an interference penalty and sent the game in to 4-on-4 for a little over a minute with 50ish seconds of Rangers power play time at the end.

With 4:08 left to play in the middle frame, Ryan Suter took a double minor for high sticking J.T. Miller and cutting the bridge of his nose. It looked like an old cut that ripped back open, but there was blood either way. The Wild did incredible PK work until Carter took a delay of game penalty in the final minute, giving the Rangers just under a minute of 5-on-3. Kyle Brodziak broke his stick early in the 5-on-3, but made some incredible plays to shuffle the puck out of the zone. Marco Scandella also had a great shot block. The penalty kill has always been good, but this one stood out as a shining example of defensive responsibility.

Shots after two periods: New York Rangers 16, Minnesota Wild 17

Third Period:

The Wild killed off the rest of the Carter’s penalty with ease. As Carter exited the box, he joined Koivu and Nino Niederreiter in a 2-on-1 rush. Koivu sent a prefect drop pass to Carter and Carter ripped a gorgeous shot on net that Lundqvist miraculously stopped before denying Niederreiter’s one-timer off the rebound.

Schroeder clearly beat an icing a few minutes later, but the refs still called it, much to the malign of the crowd. In the end, it didn’t matter much as Vanek tied the game.

With Fontaine, Charlie Coyle, and Dumba all buzzing, Vanek helped control a rebound and get it up ice for Dumba via Fontaine. Dumba let loose his oh-so-dangerous one-timer, which caromed just wide of the net to a waiting Vanek. Vanek tapped the puck behind a sprawling Lundqvist to make it a 2-2 tie at 05:53 of the third period. This is one of those plays you just can’t diagram, gorgeous passing all around before Vanek gets to the right spot and pots home a rebound.

Unfortunately, J.T. Miller put the Rangers back in the lead less than a minute later. Kreider used his speed to gain the zone and fed Ryan McDonagh in the high slot for a one-timer. Miller deflected the puck through Dubnyk’s leg pads to make it 3-2 Rangers at 06:48 of the third period.

The Wild managed to keep the pressure on through the waning minutes of the game and pulled Dubnyk for an extra skater with just over a minute left. The Rangers iced the puck twice, including an egregious icing from behind their extended goal line, but the officiating team didn’t call either one. Unfortunately, the Wild’s pressure tied with having to chase the puck on two bad calls sealed the game, as the Rangers held on to win and clinch the Metropolitan Division.

Final shots on goal: New York Rangers 26, Minnesota Wild 28

Trembley’s Take:

First of all, we just can’t blame this game on poor officiating. It took the Wild a little too long to find its legs in this one and it cost them. It’s hard to battle back from a 2-goal deficit, which the Wild created with a lot of turnovers in the defensive zone. Sure, there were non-calls and questionable calls, but those happen every game.

Lundqvist played out of his mind tonight as well. Dubnyk made some spectacular saves, but Lundqvist was the better netminder. He’s fallen out of discussion as one of the league’s elite recently, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s a brick wall when he’s on his game.

Dumba was really good tonight. He wasn’t afraid to jump up on rushes, made some great plays at the blue line, and finished checks to get pucks separated from players. He was the game’s  3rd star and rightfully so.

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  • I also think Vanek deserves a little credit. His production is down compared to recent years, but he’s been on fire lately and always seems to get to the right spot in the offensive zone. He had 3 turnovers in the first period which I can’t really overlook, but maybe that’s just what I’ve come to expect from him.

    The thing we need to remember as fans is that this is just one game. The Wild has a 5 point cushion on the Kings and Jets and a 4 point cushion on the Flames.

    Talk to you Saturday, when the Wild take on the Red Wings at 6:00 central. Thanks for reading!

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