The good news: Mikael Granlund finally scored his second goal of the season. Then he scored his third to tie the game with 1:36 left in regulation.
The bad news: The Wild lost in overtime 4-3 to the New Jersey Devils.
The game included a lot of the rough stuff, the return of a fan favorite, a game-tying goal and a deflating loss to the best team in the Metropolitan Division of the Eastern Conference. John Moore scored the game-winner just 52 seconds into overtime to give the Devils (12-5-3) the victory over the Wild (9-8-3) in St. Paul.
Extra sessions have been few for the Wild this season, but they’re 0-3 — 0-2 in overtime, 0-1 in shootout. It was a familiar script in 3-on-3 overtime as the Wild controlled the puck but then failed to make a couple line changes, leaving the door open for the Devils to score.
Granlund has 11 points in his last 10 games and finally broke through on his scoring drought. His first goal came in the third period down 3-1 with 8:46 left in the third on a wrister from the top of the right circle. His game-tying goal — No. 3 on the season — was a blast from the other circle that got through a New Jersey screen. The Wild had the extra man with goaltender Devan Dubnyk pulled in the last 2.5 minutes of regulation.
That’s two more third-period goals, but the Wild didn’t have the comeback fight like they showed last week against Nashville. They outplayed and outshot the Devils in the first period, yet found themselves down 1-0 after the first 20 thanks to an own-goal pushed in by Gustav Olofsson. Ditto for the Devils’ second goal; it was not the luckiest night for Olofsson.
Again, the second period left much to be desired for Wild fans. It’s something that isn’t exactly a new issue. The Wild were down 2-1 before Granlund got on the scoreboard in the third. Things also got a bit rowdy in the third, with a couple coincidental minor penalties and then a Devils power play after Nino Niederreiter stood up for himself and his teammates when he was elbowed in the ribs following on off-side call.
Playing a 60-minute game is still on the table, too. As so often happens, the Wild got down 3-1 before they started to crawl their way back into the game and put pucks in the net.
“It takes a kick in the butt to get us going sometimes,” said head coach Bruce Boudreau. “We got in spurts, but we don’t go in 60 minutes. Until we learn to go in 60 minutes, we’re not going to get too far.”
The other big news of the night was forward Charlie Coyle making his return to the ice for the first time in a game since he broke his right leg on Oct. 12 in Chicago.
Coyle jumped right into play on the fourth line with Tyler Ennis and Matt Cullen. When the Wild got their first power-play chance in the first period, Coyle was on the first unit with Jason Zucker and Eric Staal. He looked like he hadn’t missed a step, and it would have been tough to tell he was a guy returning from an injury.
Boudreau juggled the lines in the third, so Coyle moved up to play with Zucker and Staal again. He played 17:25 minutes, including 2:49 on the power play. He didn’t register a shot on goal but got credit for two hits. He seemed to pick up where he left off.
“Everyone needs to step up more,” Coyle said. “We’ll look at some things and come back stronger.”
The Wild activated Coyle Monday afternoon, swapping him out on the Long Term Injured Reserve (LTIR) list with Zach Parise, who’s still sidelined after successful microdiscectomy surgery Oct. 24. Coyle missed 16 games after his right fibula fracture.
- Dubnyk (8-6-2) with 21 saves. Cory Schneider (8-4-2) with 33 saves.
- The first two Wild goals tonight came on the power play (2-for-4). After a lot of struggling with the extra attacker, the Wild have five power-play goals in three games. Go figure.
- Niederreiter got the Wild on the board for his four-game goal streak, a career-high. He also has a six-game point streak to set a career-high. He has six goals this season.
- Mikko Koivu had two assists giving him eight for the season to go along with his four goals.
- New Jersey’s Adam Henrique got credit for the first goal of the game, with 1:28 left in the first period, plus he added two assists.
The Wild will head to Buffalo before Turkey Day for a game Nov. 22.