Wild coach Mike Yeo expected a “grumpy” Anaheim Ducks team Saturday night after the squad had two off days to simmer following its opening-night beatdown in Colorado.
Surly the Ducks were, as they jumped to a two-goal lead before the Wild found a way to match Anaheim’s desperation.
The Wild rallied to force overtime but ended up losing 4-3 exactly 4.9 seconds before what could have been a shootout on Mathieu Perreault’s breakaway goal.
“Very disappointing, but that’s what happens when you come out on your heels and passive,” said Zach Parise, who scored twice, including the tying goal 75 seconds into the third period. “That’s what happens. We found ourselves just trying to get back into the game, which we did a good job of.
“But you start out with two games at home and come out without a win, that’s not the way we drew it up.”
After Kyle Brodziak was denied by Jonas Hiller on a 2-on-1, the Perreault winner came off a give and go with defenseman Francois Beauchemin. Marco Scandella went down on one knee to try to block the pass. He didn’t, giving Perreault a free avenue to Niklas Backstrom.
Scandella was on the ice for all four goals, partner Jared Spurgeon three.
“Things didn’t go the way we wanted and we’re going to have to be better than that,” Scandella said.
This came after the Wild’s top line carried it back into the game. Jason Pominville also scored a power-play goal, but the Wild is 0-0-2.
“It’s a tough one to accept,” Pominville said.
The Wild lost second-line center Charlie Coyle with a lower-body injury midway through the second period. Late in his shift, Coyle was checked in the neutral zone by Andrew Cogliano and landed awkwardly. He tried to return late in the second but returned to the locker room after testing his injury. He could be seen in the runway with team orthopedist Joel Boyd.
Yeo said he doesn’t think Coyle’s injury is “gravely serious,” but it’s a stretch to expect him to play Tuesday in Nashville. If he misses time, the Wild would likely move Mikael Granlund to center and call up a winger from Iowa.
Jason Zucker is down there but coming off a groin injury.
After a one-sided second period in which the Wild was only able to pull within one on Pominville’s power-play goal, Parise tied the score at 3-3. Jonas Brodin sent a puck to Keith Ballard at the point, Ballard fired in net and Parise tucked home the rebound for his second of the game.
Ballard, the Baudette native and former Gophers standout, recorded his first point with the Wild.
The Wild drew a power play soon after, but Dany Heatley’s stab at a go-ahead goal was cranked loudly off the post.
The start couldn’t have been worse for the Wild. The Ducks struck just 1:40 in, then again by the 5:43 mark.
“We can’t play with the starts we have,” Pominville said. “You’re not going to win many games when you have to battle back through the course of the game.
The top line and second line started the game with back-to-back shifts pinned in the Wild end, with the second shift proving painful.
After Scandella failed to check Saku Koivu in the corner, the veteran center sprung free, fed Beauchemin at the point and tipped his little wrist shot from the top of the circles past Backstrom.
Then, after a Granlund hooking penalty, Nick Bonino scored a power-play goal on Corey Perry’s rebound with Scandella caught between in the crease defending nobody and Backstrom slow to get over.
But Matt Cooke showed why his value goes beyond physicality. He’s known for drawing penalties and he drew two on this night; both resulted in power-play goals.
“We battled back to get a point, but we’re not happy about this one,” Yeo said.