Stemming off of a Game Two loss, the Minnesota Wild looked to regain the series lead in Game Three.
One notable change in game three was Minnesota Wild forward Ryan Donato was scratched and the Nico Sturm took his place on the 4th line alongside Mikko Koivu and Ryan Hartman.
Sturm gets a long-awaited opportunity to be in the Wild line up after spending most of the season with the Iowa Wild and only being recalled for 6 NHL games throughout the 19-20 regular season.
For the most part, the 1st period was pretty even kilter between the Wild and Canucks. Both teams took turns on each other’s offensive zones but neither team was able to tally a goal this period due to the outstanding performance of Alex Stalock and Jacob Markstrom. As mentioned above, Nico Sturm took to the ice in place of Ryan Donato and looked extremely sharp.
The Period would go by with both teams remaining extremely physical with each other.
Just as Canucks forward Michael Ferland had exited the bubble, another rough and tumble forward had emerged for the Canucks in Antonie Roussel and Roussel is no stranger to antics he imposes on the ice. He steamrolled Alex Stalock behind the net.
Before the end of the period, Minnesota defenseman Carson Soucy collided awkwardly behind the Minnesota net with Ryan Hartman resulting in an injury to Soucy and it appeared that Soucy was favoring his shoulder.
The good news for the Minnesota Wild was at the start of the 2nd period, defenseman Carson Soucy had returned to the bench after being shaken up at the end of the 1st period. It would be Vancouver to test Stalock early on in the 2nd but big Al stood tall.
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Minnesota’s Ryan Hartman decided to play his own game of antics when he hit a vulnerable Elias Pettersson into the boards. JT Miller stuck up for the young star by dropping the gloves with Ryan Hartman. The fight never really developed, both got tagged with a roughing, and Hartman picked up an additional two for Boarding
Minnesota’s penalty-taking habits would end up costing them in the 2nd period when late in the period, Brock Boeser would score a power-play goal for the Canucks to put them up by 1 in the game.
The Physicality would stay the same in this period as Alex Stalock found himself victim to yet another Vancouver player running him over, this time it would be Loui Eriksson.
The 2nd period would end with the Wild on the power play which has had several chances thus far into the game but has not been successful thus far.
In the 3rd period, the Wild wouldn’t be able to capitalize on the carryover power play from the 2nd period. Everything would seem even kilter until the newfound nemesis Antoine Roussel would burn defenseman Brad Hunt and score on Alex Stalock to make it 2-0 Vancouver.
At this point in the game, frustrations are running high for Minnesota and Kevin Fiala is no exception to frustration as we’ve seen the Canucks getting under his skin all game, Kevin seems to have blown his cool.
He gave shots to Troy Stetcher and Jacob Markstrom which drew a crowd (and landed Fiala in the penalty box), but not Brandon Sutter who laid a dangerous-looking hit on Fiala as the scrum ensued.
Fiala’s numbers are shown, an awkward distance away from the boards where a hit lands the head into the boards, and Fiala is in an awkward position. While not identical to the Hartman-Petterson hit, similar situation.
The penalty troubles would continue for the Wild as Kevin Fiala would find himself in the box late in the 3rd. The Vancouver Canucks would capitalize on this as Elias Pettersson would beat Stalock to make it 3-0 Vancouver.
The Pettersson goal would seal the deal for the Canucks giving them the victory and taking a series lead 2 games to 1.
Gone Puck Wild Site Expert Lake Martin had this to say:
“If this series has taught me anything, the Wild can’t make a run with this squad as is. They need to win more important faceoffs. They haven’t scored a 5v5 goal through 9 periods of hockey. Just isn’t there.”
Not having the ability to score 5v5 combined with taking penalties and not being able to stay out of the box cost the Wild in the long run of Game Three. Minnesota certainly brought their chances to the table but in the end, Vancouver proved to be the better team.
With the Wild down 2 games to 1 in the series, is there any hope that they may be able to fix their penalty taking ways and be able to start capitalizing on their chances? Game Four is tomorrow night, late start, puck drop ~9:45.