Sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes, well…the bear, he eats you. I thought Devan Dubnyk didn’t play that bad in the first period of this game, but he let one in right off a power play faceoff, and then was collided with to allow the second goal. I didn’t think Dumba pushed the defender into Duby that much, so I was a little annoyed that they let the goal stand. But, that early in the game, there was nothing else to do but buckle down and try to get back in the game.
Credit Carolina for coming out of the gates with chips on their collective shoulder, as they peppered the Wild with shots and held them inside their defensive zone for long stretches at a time. Then, they faltered in the second period, with just three shots on net. The third period was rather close but overall, Carolina gets props for driving play the entire evening.
The shot chart below shots how Carolina was able to limit MInnesota’s attempts to the outside–apart from the Zucker goal in OT, the Wild had just one shot from the middle of the ice. Everything else was kept to the outside, and the Canes blocked a number of shots down low.
As you would expect, the individual matchups aren’t fantastic. The Koivu line was able to control play, primarily against the Staal (Eric) line. The Granlund line found a little bit of success, but was held in check by the Staal (Jordan) line. The bottom six was just battered, as Jeff Skinner made his presence known a few times in this game.
After giving up the two quick goals, the Wild knew they had to find a way to hang on, and that’s exactly what they did. They looked discombobulated for big parts of the game, and it was a matchup like this where they really would have benefited from having Parise and Scandella there. Dubnyk found himself in a bit of a mess, but I thought he stiffened up and played well in not letting the game really spiral out of control. The team managed to figure out what the heck they were doing, and it almost looked like Carolina punched themselves out during the first. Zucker’s first goal on a feed from Suter would signal things to come, and Vanek really delivered at an opportune time to tie the game. Granlund-Pominville-Vanek looked to be a little clunky because they don’t get a lot of time together, but seemed to be rapidly developing some chemistry. This is a team full of playmakers, so I reckon the adjustment that goes on when Yeo shuffles the lines is important.
Minnesota is showing a lot of resiliency, and that’s going to be important in the Central Division where the difference between the top spots will certainly be only a few points. Next on the docket for the Wild is a big game against the white hot Dallas Stars. If both Parise and Scandella are out, it will be a miracle if Minnesota is able to keep up with the conference leaders.
Thanks for reading, be sure to look for the newest episode of the podcast. I’m hoping to edit it and post later today. Also, be sure to check me out on Twitter, @BobaFenwick as well as our new podcast Twitter, @HTHpod.