Wild snap their losing streak with 3-2 shootout win over Devils
It was a huge win for the Wild as both the Colorado Avalanche and the Calgary Flames won their respective games
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Anyone that closely follows the Minnesota Wild knows coach Dean Evason almost never takes the ice for morning skate. He gives his players the option to do the same. Frankly, as long as everyone is ready for puck drop, Evason couldn’t care less what they do to get themselves prepared.
Which is why Saturday’s morning skate was so jarring. Not only was Evason smack dab in the middle of the ice barking orders, every single player suited up for something that resembled an actual practice.
Needless to say the Wild were hellbent on snapping their losing streak in the hours leading up to their matchup with the New Jersey Devils.
“Let’s get after it,” Evason said before the game. “If we’re not up for this challenge, then we’re not going to be up for any challenge.”
Well, the Wild were indeed up for the challenge in a 3-2 shootout win over the Devils that snapped their losing streak.
It was a huge win for the Wild (28-20-4, 60 points) as both the Colorado Avalanche (28-19-4, 60 points) and Calgary Flames (25-18-10, 60 points) won their respective games.
It was arguably the best start the Wild have had in a couple of weeks as they played with a palpable sense of desperation from the initial drop of the puck. It paid dividends as Joel Eriksson Ek redirected a shot from Calen Addison to make it 1-0.
That score held until early in the second period, when Devils winger Tomas Tatar ripped a shot past Filip Gustavsson to tie the game at 1-1.
Exactly a minute later, the Wild were on the verge of a power play after Kirill Kaprizov got hit up high. In an instant, Ryan Hartman rushed to Kaprizov’s defense, confronting Devils winger Nathan Bastian after the whistle before dropping the gloves behind the net.
That proved costly for the Wild.
After a brief discussion, the officials decided to even up the calls on the ice, tagging Hartman for instigating, even though it appeared Bastian dropped the gloves first. That negated a power play for the Wild, and a couple of minutes later, Tatar scored again to make it 2-1 in favor of the Devils.
Though the Wild were still very much in the game heading into the third period, it didn’t feel like it considering their struggles with 5-on-5 scoring. Naturally, the Wild got off the schneid with a greasy goal, as Hartman parked his butt in front of the net and redirected a shot from Matt Dumba to tie the game at 2-2.
That paved the way for overtime, where Filip Gustavsson literally saved the game for the Wild with a tremendous individual effort. That set the stage for the shootout, where Mats Zuccarello and Freddy Gaudreau converted.
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