Wild coughs up three-goal lead in loss to Islanders at the X

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 30, 2013 - 7:33 AM

The Wild couldn’t hold a three-goal lead vs. one of the NHL’s worst teams, losing to the Islanders for their fifth loss in a row.

 

The locker room was silent and crestfallen — a common postgame environment lately for the imploding Wild.

But this time, it was different. Stunned players sat with blank “What just happened?” looks after the Wild, in desperate need of a victory, somehow blew a three-goal lead at home Sunday night to a New York Islanders team that is near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, played the night before and deployed its backup goalie.

Wild players were booed off the ice by many of the announced 18,851 irritated spectators after the 5-4 loss. The besieged coach had a hard time finding words. The scrutinized captain didn’t know what to say either.

“There’s no explanations,” said Mikko Koivu, who assisted on goals by Jonas Brodin and Nino Niederreiter on back-to-back, first-line shifts to give the Wild a 3-0 lead only 2 minutes, 59 seconds into the second period. “It just can’t happen. If you ask what happened, I really don’t know right now. I don’t want to say things that I don’t mean.”

Coach Mike Yeo, whose seat has to be scalding with this season disintegrating, said: “I’ve been thinking about it since the game ended and I can’t find the word to describe the feeling right now. … Believe me, it’s our job to find explanations, but holy cow, that’s a tough one to find an explanation for. There’s no reason, no excuse for what happened.”

Bloomington’s Kyle Okposo, one of three former Gophers in the Islanders lineup, scored two third-period goals, including the winner past Josh Harding 27 seconds after Justin Fontaine tied the score at 4-4.

Despite its first three-goal lead since Nov. 5, the Wild coughed up such a margin at home for the first time since Jan. 31, 2012. The Islanders rallied to win from a three-goal deficit for the first time in almost 20 years.

The Wild has now lost five in a row, given up 24 goals in that span and has picked up only 11 points out of the last 34 available to fall to 10th in the Western Conference.

“It’s hard to find the words for this because this is beyond disturbing,” Yeo said. “We have to find a way to win that game.”

Following Niederreiter’s goal against his old team, the Wild had four shots in the final 17 minutes of the second period. John Tavares scored to cut New York’s deficit to 3-1, but the turning point came on a goal by former Wild winger Cal Clutterbuck.

After killing off Mikael Granlund’s minor, Wild penalty killers Stephane Veilleux, Torrey Mitchell, Marco Scandella and Jared Spurgeon got trapped in the defensive zone for a minute with Granlund.

Veilleux was all over the ice, literally, going down to block shots or trying to clear the zone. Finally, after getting the puck in the slot, Veilleux froze. Instead of icing it and allowing Yeo to call time, Veilleux coughed it up.

With all five defenders gassed and running around, Clutterbuck deflected Thomas Hickey’s shot with 62 seconds left in the second.

“We couldn’t get it out, and that’s what happens,” Mitchell said. “You start running around, I was probably screening Hards on the shot and we’re scrambling and exhausted and it’s in the back of your net.”

Yeo said the Wild “stopped playing” after the goal, and Hickey tied the score early in the third. Less than six minutes later, Okposo blew a shot by Harding from the top of the right circle for a 4-3 lead.

Fontaine scored the tying goal past Islanders goalie Kevin Poulin 1:32 later, but with 5:48 left and the fans still celebrating that goal, Okposo buried Thomas Vanek’s rebound for a 5-4 New York lead the next shift.

“In a game with little things that add up to make the difference, we’re not coming even close right now,” Yeo said.

  • related content

  • BOXSCORE: New York Islanders 5, Wild 4

    Sunday December 29, 2013

  • Fractured foot will keep Parise out indefinitely

    Monday December 30, 2013

    There is still no exact time frame as to how long Zach Parise will be missing from the Wild lineup,...

  • Photo gallery: Islanders 5, Wild 4

    Sunday December 29, 2013

    The Wild lost to the Islanders at home Sunday evening, 5-4.

  • Wild-Islanders game recap

    Sunday December 29, 2013

    GAME RECAPSTAR TRIBUNE’S THREE STARS1. Kyle Okposo, Islanders: The former Gopher was dominant, especially in the third period, with two...

  • Chart: Free-falling Wild

    Sunday December 29, 2013

    Free-falling WildOn Nov. 23, the Wild completed a stretch in which it went 9-1-1 to run its record to 15-5-4....

  • Postgame: Wild has no explanation for crumbling on home ice

    Monday December 30, 2013

    The Wild blew a three-goal lead at home for the first time in almost two years to lose its fifth in a row

  • Jared Spurgeon and goalie Josh Harding watched a Cal Clutterbuck shot go by them for a 2nd period goal.

  • Minnesota Wild vs. New York Islanders. Islanders Peter Regin was sent flying by the Wild defense as he attempted a shot on goal against Wild goalie Josh Harding. (MARLIN LEVISON/STARTRIBUNE(mlevison@startribune.com)

  • Minnesota Wild vs. New York Islanders. Wild Stephane Veilleux (19) started the celebration after teammate Ryan Suter scored a first period goal beating Islander goalie Kevin Poulin, left. (MARLIN LEVISON/STARTRIBUNE(mlevison@startribune.com)

  • Minnesota Wild vs. New York Islanders. Wild Torrey Mitchell did battle with Islander goalie Kevin Poulin. (MARLIN LEVISON/STARTRIBUNE(mlevison@startribune.com)

  • Wild captain Mikko Koivu, left, had assists on back-to-back shifts early, but he couldn’t score late in the Sunday night’s game, shooting the puck wide of the net.

  • From left, Andrew McDonald, Thomas Hickey and Brock Nelson embraced after the Islanders came from three goals down to beat the downtrodden Wild.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Houston 1 FINAL
Miami 1
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Minnesota 7
St. Louis 3 FINAL
Detroit 4
Baltimore - WP: T. Wilson 10 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: S. Baker 2
Boston 9 FINAL
Tampa Bay 6
Toronto 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 8
Atlanta 5 FINAL
Toronto 3
Washington 2 FINAL
NY Mets 10
Chicago Cubs 5 FINAL
Cincinnati 9
San Diego 3 FINAL
Texas 2
San Francisco 4 Top 9th Inning
Seattle 8
Colorado 3 Top 7th Inning
Chicago Cubs 14
Cleveland 3 Bottom 9th Inning
Milwaukee 2
Oakland 10 Bottom 8th Inning
Chicago WSox 4
Los Angeles 5 FINAL
LA Angels 4
Kansas City 8 Bottom 7th Inning
Arizona 5
Atlanta 6:00 PM
Charlotte
New York 7:00 PM
Chicago
Golden State 7:30 PM
Milwaukee
Oklahoma City 8:00 PM
Utah
Denver 9:00 PM
Portland
Nashville 4 FINAL
Washington 3
Arizona 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh 3
San Jose 3 FINAL(SO)
Philadelphia 2
Anaheim 3 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
NY Rangers 2 FINAL
Boston 4
Tampa Bay 0 FINAL
Detroit 4
New Jersey 0 1st Prd 19:30
Carolina 0
Florida 6:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 6:00 PM
Toronto
Los Angeles 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Columbus 7:00 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 8:00 PM
Colorado
Dallas 9:00 PM
Vancouver
Arizona 33 2nd Half
Wisconsin 30
Canisius 6:30 PM
NJIT
Notre Dame 7:49 PM
Kentucky
San Jose 1 FINAL
New England 2
Orlando City 2 FINAL
Montreal 2
Los Angeles 0 1st Half 44:55
D.C. 0
Sporting Kansas City 6:00 PM
New York City
Red Bull New York 6:30 PM
Columbus
Portland 7:00 PM
Vancouver FC
Colorado 7:30 PM
Houston
Seattle 7:30 PM
FC Dallas
Texas 54 FINAL
(1) Connecticut 105
Dayton 82 FINAL
(8) Louisville 66
(16) Duke 55 FINAL
(4) Maryland 65
Gonzaga 4 1st Half 18:49
(6) Tennessee 0

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Will Major League Soccer be successful in Minnesota?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

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

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close