Minnesota Wild: Close Preseason Game Loss to Winnipeg Jets

ST. PAUL, MN - APRIL 17: Blake Wheeler #26 of the Winnipeg Jets collides with Nick Seeler #36 of the Minnesota Wild in Game Four of the Western Conference First Round during the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Xcel Energy Center on April 17, 2018 in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)
ST. PAUL, MN - APRIL 17: Blake Wheeler #26 of the Winnipeg Jets collides with Nick Seeler #36 of the Minnesota Wild in Game Four of the Western Conference First Round during the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Xcel Energy Center on April 17, 2018 in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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WINNIPEG, MB April 20: Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Murphy (6) tries to skate away from Winnipeg Jets forward Andrew Copp (9) during the Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round Game 5 between the Winnipeg Jets and the Minnesota Wild on April 20, 2018 at the Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg MB. (Photo by Terrence Lee/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

Ryan Murphy & Louie Belpedio

I’m going to take this off the track a little bit for my third pick of the night, because both of these men deserve it. Ryan Murphy and Louie Belpedio manned the first powerplay unit together and looked fantastic when they were out there.

This pairing is like #4 on the current Minnesota Wild depth chart, as Murphy and Belpedio should both expect to open the season in Iowa, but this should be the #1 pairing for the AHL team this season and could mean big things for the Iowa Wild.

As I mentioned earlier, the Minnesota Wild powerplay may not have scored in this game but they absolutely looked like they were buzzing for most of their powerplay time. This was a credit to Murphy and Belpedio for keeping the plays alive and moving the puck well together.

Ryan Murphy should have had a goal on his blast from the point early in the 3rd, but was absolutely robbed by the glove of Brossoit. Belpedio also was not afraid to pull the trigger when called upon and unleashed his own shot into traffic, while also standing strong on the defensive line and not giving up any bad plays the other way.

Murphy was also called upon to put up penalty kill time, while Belpedio was protected a little more from the shorthanded situations, but Belpedio got the secondary assist on the Hendricks goal while Murphy finished scoreless.

I could not get a bead on the even strength defensive pairings very well in this game, as it was being shuffled around all night long and I think everyone played with everyone, but when these 2 were together on the powerplay it was something special.

I want to see more of these 2 together in the preseason. Both will continue to battle hand as they fight to give the coaches a reason to choose them over the players with one-way contracts, but if nothing else they should get a ton of minutes and opportunity down I-35.

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I won’t be surprised if we see these two get another opportunity in the preseason to play a game at even strength together and see if they can continue the chemistry they were showing on the power play.