The Detroit Red Wings, in the hunt for the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference, handed the Minnesota Wild their second consecutive loss Friday night.
The Colorado Avalanche lost 4-2 to the Washington Capitals, leaving them five points behind the Wild, who are four points behind the Nashville Predators for the second wild card spot.
Colorado has four games left. Minnesota has three: at the Winnipeg Jets, vs. the San Jose Sharks and vs. the Calgary Flames.
“They got their huge two points,” Mikael Granlund told the Pioneer Press, referring to the Red Wings, “and we didn’t.”
Dylan Larkin scored on the power play to put Detroit up 1-0 halfway through the first period. It came after a Jason Zucker tripping penalty right after the Wild had killed off a Jarret Stoll slashing call.
“Shouldn’t happen,” interim coach John Torchetti told the Pioneer Press. “Can’t take those, giving them the opportunity to get momentum. We can’t take a lazy penalty like that. That’s the bottom line.”
Tomas Tatar scored early in the second. It wasn’t until Tatar’s goal that the Wild felt they got their feet under them. Torchetti changed up the lines, putting Granlund on a line with Mikko Koivu and Zach Parise. Charlie Coyle then centered a line between Thomas Vanek and Zucker.
“Until they scored their second goal I think we were not on top of our game,” Granlund told the Star Tribune. “After that we started playing our game again, playing a decent game. But, tonight, that was not enough.’’
Late in the second period Parise chased down the rebound of his own shot, and cycled the puck to Jonas Brodin, who scored his first goal since Nov. 21.
Riley Sheahan scored two minutes into the third to put Detroit up two. Zucker lost a battle along the wall, allowing the Red Wings to keep the puck in the Minnesota zone. Jonathan Ericsson got a shot on net, and Sheahan buried the rebound.
“It’s a 2-1 game, (and) we don’t box out going to the net,” Torchetti told the Pioneer Press. “Those are the little intangibles we’ve got to clean up. We’ve got to commit more to it.”
Granlund cut the lead to 3-2 halfway through the final period, but that’s as close as the Wild would get.
“When you don’t get the result you want it’s tough to say you played well enough,’’ Coyle told the Star Tribune. “We did battle, did a better job defensively, I guess. We had more chances on net. That was a tough one there.’’[Star Tribune, Pioneer Press]