Right from the start, the Wild’s 4-2 loss at Detroit in Thursday’s season opener had plenty of ebbs and flows. The first period featured two disallowed goals, two long replay reviews and two coaches’ challenges. The second saw the Wild fall behind 2-0 despite outplaying the Red Wings for long stretches, and the third included a rally that gave the Wild a tie—before Detroit got the final word.
A few thoughts on the game:
--The Wild’s power play simply didn’t get the job done. It managed only seven shots on goal on four chances, including a two-man advantage in the second period that lasted 1:37. The Wild controlled possession at even strength early in the period, getting extended zone time before Detroit’s Mike Green was penalized for hooking and Trevor Daley was called for delay of game.
The Wild kept the puck in the zone throughout the five-on-three but put only two shots on goal, spraying several others wide. Mikko Koivu had the best chance, a shot that missed the mark and slid across the crease.
“That was a huge point in the game,’’ Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard said. “The guys were clearing everything out for me. That’s the only way we get through that.’’
--Coach Bruce Boudreau said officials made the right calls on the two disallowed goals. On the first, Marcus Foligno interfered with Howard; Boudreau challenged the call because he didn’t see a video view showing Foligno.
“Unfortunately, on the first one, when they called it no goal, there was no highlight,’’ he said. “All it showed was the goal going in, and they had their guys surrounding the goalie. So I didn’t see the Foligno portion. When they were showing whether the puck went into the net initially, I wasn’t focused on goalie interference; I wanted to know if the puck went into the net. So they only showed that, so I thought OK, let’s give it a shot (and challenge). When I saw the whole thing, I wish I hadn’t called that.’’
Boudreau said the second disallowed goal—which was initially ruled a goal, then reversed when replays showed Mikael Granlund made contact with Howard in the crease—“was pretty close.’’
--The coach wasn’t happy with the two Red Wings goals in the third, which broke the 2-2 tie. Henrik Zetterberg seized a loose puck in the slot and beat goalie Devan Dubnyk through the five-hole, and Martin Frk also scored from the slot for his first NHL goal.
“We preach a lot about protecting our house, and both goals came from the same area,’’ Boudreau said.
Boudreau also lamented that his players didn’t get the puck high enough on Howard. Joel Eriksson Ek’s goal in the third period, which made it 2-1, beat Howard in the top corner. But despite lots of close-range shots, the Wild wasn’t shooting strategically.
“The problem is, if you don’t lift the puck up and the goalie stays on his knees, it’s hard to get it by him,’’ Boudreau said. “You’ve got to sometimes go to the upper third of net. When Joel did that, he scored. I just thought there were too many times we were trying to be too cute and make the perfect play, rather than just blast it and go get the rebound and get the greasy goals.’’