The Minnesota Wild played uninspired hockey in the first two periods, giving up three goals in the first and one in the second, but nearly came back after scoring the first three goals of the third period.
The Dallas Stars never lost their lead, however, took a 5-3 lead on a fluky Alex Goligoski goal that Devan Dubnyk lost sight off after it deflected off of Charlie Coyle, who tried to fish it out of his goalie’s skates before Dubnyk accidentally put the puck in himself.
“It’s a shame we didn’t come out like (we played in the third),” Coyle told the Pioneer Press. “It came down to inches there and we just couldn’t get it.”
“It feels like at least one (happened) every game,” Dubnyk added. “That makes you feel sick to have to lose a game and a series on a bouncer like that.”
Jason Pominville cut the deficit to 5-4 with less than five minutes left, and the Wild thought they had the tying goal with 33.9 seconds to go when Nino Niederreiter crashed the net and nearly snuck one past Dallas goaltender Kari Lehtonen.
After replay, the NHL ruled that the puck had not completely crossed the line.
“I feel like we should still be playing,” Ryan Suter told the Star Tribune. “The way that third period ended, I thought, ‘Man, just one more minute …’ ”
John Klingberg, Jason Spezza and Patrick Sharp all scored for Dallas in the first period; Jamie Benn scored in the second.
Jared Spurgeon scored twice on the power play, and Jonas Brodin added one of his own to spur the Wild comeback, only to have their efforts come short in a year where the team always played at its best when its back was against the wall.
“It was up and down for all of us,” Dubnyk told the Star Tribune. “Every season’s different, and there just seemed to be long high stretches and long low stretches. We spoke to each other about that as a group about trying to avoid these low points. That’s going to have to be something for us to focus on next year.”[Star Tribune, Pioneer Press]