WINNIPEG – After yet another loss — the fifth in a row for the Wild — the postgame, players-only meeting went rather long. But coach Bruce Boudreau’s postgame comments were startlingly short.
The frustration rises.
On Sunday at MTS Centre, the Wild spotted Winnipeg a four-goal first-period lead. Chris Stewart then scored two goals as the Wild tied it in the second. But Josh Morrissey’s slapshot from the right point into traffic — a shot that Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk said he never saw — at 12 minutes, 43 seconds of the third gave the Jets a 5-4 victory and the Wild a number of things to talk about, behind closed doors.
“There were a lot of things,” Zach Parise said. “I mean, we haven’t had to have a lot of those [talks].”
It was almost one of the best comebacks in team history. It was almost the kind of game a slumping team can use to climb out of a hole.
Instead, the result is the first five-game losing streak in Boudreau’s coaching career. This despite the Wild having a 48-21 edge in shots.
That might be why, when asked after the game if the big second-period comeback showed a resiliency that was reason for optimism, Boudreau bristled.
“Hey, listen, we stunk in the first,” he said during postgame comments that lasted 28 seconds. “We’d better come back in the second. Holy crap, it’s not resiliency. You’re making us sound like we’re good. That’s … I’m done.”
It was that kind of game, which began with Boudreau making some bold moves — he started Dubnyk on consecutive days and shuffled his lines, scratching Jason Pominville.
But the Jets built a 4-0 lead on their first eight shots, including scoring goals in their first shots of the first two periods.
Less than four minutes into the game, Andrew Copp beat defenseman Matt Dumba down the slot, converting Adam Lowry’s pass. Less than two minutes later, on a power play, Lowry made it 2-0 after he and Mathieu Perreault skated down the slot together, Lowry putting Perrault’s pass between Dubnyk’s legs.
On a 4-on-4, Jets winger Ben Chiarot skated unfettered into the slot, his goal making it 3-0 late in the first. The lead grew to 4-0 early in the second period on Dustin Byfuglien’s backhand.
Then things changed.
The rest of the period was played in the Winnipeg end, with the Wild outshooting the Jets 21-5. Charlie Coyle scored from the left circle off Parise’s pass from the back wall. That was the first of three goals in 6:24. Mikael Granlund stuffed his 25th goal of the year past Connor Hellebuyck at 15:08, then Stewart made it 4-3 off a nice pass from Jared Spurgeon at 15:47. Then, with 12.6 seconds left in the period, Stewart spun and shot, knotting the score.
Ultimately, despite a flurry at the finish — a Wild 6-on-4 for most of the final two minutes thanks to a Jets penalty and Boudreau pulling Dubnyk — the result was a loss.
“There was a lot for us to learn from in that first period,” Parise said. “Just, things you can’t allow to happen. In the second period we played a great game. But down 4-0, and try to get yourselves back in the game? It’s not easy.”
It was the Wild’s first loss to the Jets in five games this season.
“We got competitive,” Eric Staal said of the second-period comeback. “We got angry, we got on the forecheck. We got to playing our game. We have to get to that earlier.”