Thrilling game in Winnipeg doesn't go the Wild's way

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 28, 2013 - 8:17 AM

A high-scoring start eventually lost steam, and the Jets dropped Minnesota to 1-8-1 in its past 10 road games.

 

– Mike Yeo said Friday morning it was time for the Wild to get back to its defensive foundation.

“When we were winning a lot of games, we weren’t winning a lot of 6-5 games,” the Wild coach said of a team that had scored 22 times in the previous 15 games.

Hours later, instead of rediscovering that Wild squad that led the league in fewest goals and shots allowed for much of the first two months, the Wild tried to go run and gun with the Winnipeg Jets.

That’s rarely going to work for the NHL’s 29th-ranked offense, and despite scoring the most goals it has scored on the road in five weeks, the Wild dropped a 6-4 decision at MTS Centre, extending its month of reeling.

“That’s not the type of game we’re going to be successful playing,” defenseman Ryan Suter said. “You’re not going to be successful in this league the way we played — the way we’ve been playing.”

In losing for the ninth time in 10 road games, the tumbling Wild fell to 5-10-1 in the past 16 games overall. It now heads home for a “huge” four-game homestand.

“We can’t win on the road, so we better make sure we play hard at home,” Suter said.

Dany Heatley, Justin Fontaine, Stephane Veilleux and Mikko Koivu scored, but that wasn’t enough. Former Gopher Blake Wheeler broke a 4-4 tie with his second goal with 9 minutes, 20 seconds left.

After the Wild failed to clear the zone umpteen times, a long shift proved deadly when a mad scramble ensued after Bryan Little’s shot. With a pileup of players searching for the puck, the persistent Wheeler crashed and jammed the puck underneath Niklas Backstrom.

“They had a few of those shifts that period where they hemmed us in,” said defenseman Keith Ballard, who was behind Backstrom on the erratic shift. “It was there for us, and we blew it.”

The goal was emblematic of the night. The Jets crashed Backstrom’s crease with little to no pushback all night. When the Wild got near goalie Al Montoya, the Jets punished. The Wild was also outhit 28-9.

“You can never be tough enough in front of your net when you’re giving up goals like that,” said Yeo, adding, “It’s little things right now that’s killing us. Earlier in the year, we prided ourselves on all these little things. It’s still there. We just have to find it.

“Our focus is not directed the right way right now. There’s been too much losing going on, and because of that, we’ve got a lot of things clouding our focus of how we’re supposed to play the game. We’ve got to find it.”

In a seven-goal first period in which Backstrom gave up four goals on 11 shots and Ondrej Pavelec was pulled after giving up three goals on six, the Wild and Jets looked like two teams that didn’t practice for three days.

In the first period, 20 out of 36 skaters recorded a point. There were five goals in the first 7:04. At one point, Fontaine and Veilleux scored 10 seconds apart, beating the Wild team road record by one second for fastest two goals.

That gave the Wild a 3-2 lead — an advantage that lasted eight minutes until Wheeler and Dustin Byfuglien scored three minutes apart. Koivu’s power-play goal early in the second tied the score at 4-4.

Backstrom has allowed three or more goals in his past six starts and 17 during his four starts in place of Josh Harding. He settled down in the second and third, and Yeo wasn’t pinning this loss on him.

The Wild has allowed 34.8 shots and 3.2 goals per game the past 10 games.

“That’s not who we are and that’s not how we’re going to get it done,” Yeo said.





 

  • related content

  • Video: Wild Minute: Wild's sinking fast in the standings

    Saturday December 28, 2013

    The Wild's game disappeared and now it's falling in the standings with the teams around them having all played...

  • Wild notes: Parise likely out for a while

    Saturday December 28, 2013

    WINNIPEG – The official word is Zach Parise is day-to-day because of a lower-body injury, but judging from the tone...

  • BOXSCORE: Winnipeg 6, Wild 4

    Friday December 27, 2013

  • Postgame: Wild's position in the standings becoming a concern

    Friday December 27, 2013

    The Wild lost for the ninth time in 10 road games by giving up six goals in Winnipeg

  • Photo gallery: Winnipeg 6, Wild 4

    Friday December 27, 2013

    NHL action from Winnipeg, Friday Dec.27

  • Winnipeg Jets’ Evander Kane (9) scores on Minnesota Wild’s goaltender Niklas Backstrom (32) during first-period NHL hockey game action in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Friday, Dec. 27, 2013. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, John Woods)

  • Winnipeg’s Evander Kane was dumped by Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon during the second period Friday night. Kane scored the Jets’ first goal, shorthanded in the first period.

  • Dustin Byfuglien flicked a shot over Niklas Backstrom’s right shoulder before Dany Heatley, right, could break up the play.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

LA Angels - J. Weaver 6:05 PM
Baltimore - C. Tillman
Seattle - H. Iwakuma 6:05 PM
Cleveland - T. Bauer
Chicago WSox - J. Quintana 6:08 PM
Detroit - A. Sanchez
Washington - S. Strasburg 6:10 PM
Miami - H. Alvarez
Philadelphia - C. Hamels 6:10 PM
NY Mets - D. Gee
Milwaukee - M. Garza 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - A. Cobb
Toronto - M. Stroman 6:10 PM
Boston - R. De La Rosa
Arizona - T. Cahill 6:10 PM
Cincinnati - M. Leake
Colorado - J. De La Rosa 7:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - E. Jackson
NY Yankees - B. McCarthy 7:05 PM
Texas - N. Martinez
Minnesota - K. Gibson 7:10 PM
Kansas City - J. Shields
Oakland - J. Samardzija 7:10 PM
Houston - S. Feldman
Atlanta - A. Harang 9:10 PM
Los Angeles - J. Beckett
St. Louis - L. Lynn 9:10 PM
San Diego - T. Ross
Pittsburgh - F. Liriano 9:15 PM
San Francisco - T. Hudson
NY Giants 8/3/14 7:00 PM
Buffalo
Winnipeg 7/31/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Toronto 8/1/14 6:00 PM
Montreal
Brt Columbia 8/1/14 9:00 PM
Calgary
Saskatchewan 8/2/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Connecticut 11:00 AM
Atlanta
Washington 6:00 PM
New York
Chicago 7:00 PM
San Antonio
Seattle 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Los Angeles 9:00 PM
Phoenix

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Should the Twins replace Ron Gardenhire?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close