Wild goalie Alex Stalock recognized that Panthers center Jared McCann lost an edge as he chased Stalock behind the net, falling to the ice and tripping Stalock as he rolled into the boards – inadvertent contact that Stalock realized made for a tough decision from the official.
But the Wild wasn’t happy with the eventual non-call – a ruling that certainly didn’t lead to the 4-2 loss to the Panthers, although the opposite verdict could have awarded the team a power play with the score knotted at 2.
“I don’t get that,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “But no, I didn’t get an explanation.”
This wasn’t the first time the Panthers made contact with Stalock; winger Evgenii Dadonov collided with him in the second period while crashing the net, a run-in that did result in a Wild power play.
The sequences were emblematic of the push put on by the Panthers, who funneled pucks and bodies to the net until the pressure paid off in the form of three unanswered goals in the third period to cap off their comeback from a 2-1 deficit.
“Losing an edge or not, goaltender interference is goaltender interference,” winger Chris Stewart said. “If that's not a 2-1 or 2-2 game, that probably gets handled a little different there. At the end of the day, you've got to protect the goaltenders. That's one of the most sacred rules in the game. I guess the ref didn't want to steal the game. What are you going to do? There's nothing we can do about that now.”
Here’s what else to watch for after the Wild’s loss to the Panthers.
- The Wild surrendered 17 shots to defensemen, a major catalyst for the offensive chances the Panthers were able to generate.
“We knew going in that they were a shot-volume team,” winger Daniel Winnik said. “I think they lead the league in shots-for, and a lot of it comes from their backend. They have mobile ‘D’ back there, and they change shooting angles and just throw it there and try and crash. Realistically, that's where all the goals are scored in this league anyway.”
- The penalty kill went a spotless 3-for-3, a recalibration-type effort after the unit gave up two goals in the 6-4 win over the Senators Tuesday on the heels of a 19-for-19 run.
“I thought that was a really good job by the PK,” Winnik said. “As a penalty kill, it's not easy to start the game with your first shift on the penalty kill. You've got to be mentally alert to start, and I thought we did a great job.”
- Most players have their dads, brothers, mentors or other family members on the trip and although the crew didn’t get to witness a win, it’ll have another opportunity Saturday in Tampa Bay against the Lightning.
“It kind of puts a salty taste in our mouths for the trip here,” Stewart said. “Whether they're here or not, we want to win that game.”