Wild

Latest Game is No Treat for Wild in 2-1 Loss to Jets

It’s not a new narrative for the Minnesota Wild, though it hasn’t shown up much yet this season. Yes, that would be slow starts for $100, Alex.

The Wild fell back to the .500 mark with a 2-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets (6-3-2) on Tuesday at Xcel Energy Center. After scoring six goals in a victory against the New York Islanders last week, the Wild (4-4-2) have scored just three in their past two games. They’re now 0-2 against the Jets this season, giving up points within their division.

The Jets struck first with a goal from Kyle Connor at 7:10 of the first period. It was 1-0 Jets, and the Wild hadn’t even registered a shot on goal yet. Actually, they didn’t get a shot until nearly eight minutes into the game.

It wasn’t exactly a great start to the game for the home team.

“We didn’t play a full 60,” said forward Luke Kunin.

The Wild were lucky to only be down by a 1-0 score at the second intermission. Like in his other starts in net, they can probably thank their netminder Alex Stalock for that.

“It could’ve been three or four nothing going into the third period,” said coach Bruce Boudreau.

Penalties were also part of the story to the game. Jared Spurgeon took a tripping minor 39 seconds into the game, contributing to the rough start. In the second, Nino Niederreiter, returning from injury, took a hit that could have been called as boarding. Instead, he retaliated on the play with a check and went to the box for elbowing. A bit of a make-up all came in the next sequence when Winnipeg’s Connor went off for goaltender interference. Stalock sold the penalty well.

With less than a minute left in the second period, the home fans were upset again, this time with an embellishment call on Marcus Foligno as he was slashed in the leg by Patrik Laine. They each skated off with minor penalties.

Momentum in the form of power-play goals is against the Wild right now. They again laid an egg with the man advantage, going 0-for-5. They’re 6-for-34 this season and just 2-for-19 on home ice.

The Wild finally got on the board in the third with Kunin’s second of the season. He was fed in the slot from Niederreiter behind the goal line. Niederreiter hasn’t lost a step in his return from the injury list. It was a good response as the Wild went down 2-0 less than a minute into the third off a forgettable play from Matt Dumba who turned the puck over at his own blue line. It set up an easy tally for Nikolaj Ehlers. The goal was officially unassisted.

Boudreau benched Dumba after the goal, one Boudreau called “an inexcusable play.” Boudreau said after the game that Dumba just hasn’t been playing well.

“He’s a good player that maybe I’ve set the bar pretty high for him,” Boudreau said. “But he hasn’t reached that bar.”

Trailing 2-1 with much of the third period left to play, the Wild perked up their play as they tried to tie the game. They generated some scoring chances, and then pulled Stalock with 2:02 left after taking a timeout to discuss things.

In the category of too-little, too-late, the Wild dropped their second game of the homestand on the wrong end of a 2-1 score. Yes, the Wild were only down a goal for most of the third, but not playing well the rest of the game puts a lot of pressure on a team in the closing minutes.

It’s also a shame for Stalock, who did another good job of keeping his team in the game. He was rewarded with his first regulation loss of the season.

In goal:

  • Alex Stalock (1-1-1) with 17 saves. Connor Hellebuyck (6-0-1) with 28 saves.

Tidbits:

  • The Wild are now 2-2-1 all-time on Halloween.
  • It appeared the Jets took their foot off the gas in the third period; they registered just two shots to the Wild’s 12. For the game, the Wild outshot the Jets 29-19.
  • Eric Staal also assisted on Kunin’s goal for his fourth helper this season.
  • Kunin looks comfortable with the Wild. He also registered three shots on goal in the game.
  • It looked like the Jets were going to lead 1-0 just 47 seconds into the game off a Joel Armia shot, but the initial no-goal call was reviewed and confirmed. It was a hand pass.

Up next:

  • The Wild will host the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night as the homestand continues.

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