After an overtime loss to the Vancouver Canucks in Game 4, the Minnesota Wild’s time in the Stanley Cup Playoffs is up for this season.
Two things really stood out. The first one was obvious to anyone that watched the game. Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom had a really really bad game. He let three goals in on the short side that he probably saves if he isn’t playing on back-to-back nights.
The Wild, simply put, missed Ryan Suter, who didn’t play due to injury. Wild goaltender Alex Stalock didn’t play bad, but the defense for the Wild failed to push Canuck players around in the slot. The Canucks forwards did a great job of screening Stalock all game. It was very textbook. Horvat and Tanev capitalized and ended up with career playoff games with 3 points each.
X’s and Uh-Oh’s
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The Wild’s first goal was actually a power play goal. No that’s not a misprint, folks! The Wild hadn’t scored in their previous 13 opportunities, but they broke the ice early at 2:48 of the first. Tyler Myers got the penalty. Mats Zuccarello finally decided he wants to get on the score sheet with a beautiful pass from Brodin to Kunin. Kunin charged the net hard and bangs in his own rebound.
Vancouver answered 9:56 later at the 12:52 mark of the 1st period. Tanev brought the puck up through the neutral zone on the right side and passed to Horvat near the blue line. Horvat redirected the pass to a wide-open Pearson who shoots a wicked wrist shot by Stalock. Heck of a pass by Horvat.
40 seconds later, the second goal by the Wild was definitely one Markstrom would like to have back. He left the upper corner open instead of hugging the post. Eric Staal of the Wild snuck one past him.
Joel Eriksson Ek got his first-ever career playoff goal, but Zach Parise made it happen. Defenseman Jonas Brodin sent a slap shot from the point that Parise tipped in mid-air at the last second so Markstrom can’t swallow it up. The puck bounced right onto the tape of Ericksson Ek. .
Just over three minutes later, the Canucks tied it up after scoring 2 goals and the game is tied. Hughes took a wrist shot from the left point that literally deflected off someone in front of the net and it went up about 15 feet in the air, over Stalock, and landed behind him. Sutter was there to bang in it. One of the oddest goals you will ever see.
The next goal by the Canucks came on the power play. Hughes took a wrist shot from about 50 feet out, as Horvat and Boeser both screened Stalock who never saw the puck. Boeser and Horvat don’t get assists on this goal but they did a great job of taking the eyes off the puck for Stalock.
At 19:08 of the second period, Nico Sturm got the first career playoff goal of his career on another shot Markstrom would like back. It was a very innocent play, with Sturm coming up the left boards and got one through his short side. This gave the Wild a 4-3 lead after 40 minutes.
The third period saw both teams tightening their belts on defense. Finally, 14 minutes in, the Canucks broke through with the game-tying goal. Tanner Pearson won a puck battle behind the net and got a good look in front, getting the puck to Horvat who scored.
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If you blinked at the beginning of OT you missed the game-winning goal. Tanev took a wrister from the right point and Miller did an excellent job blocking Stalock’s vision. 11 seconds into OT and it was over. The good news is the Wild now have a 12.5% chance of winning the lottery on Monday and can pick no later than 9th.