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.

  • related content

  • 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

San Francisco - M. Bumgarner 7:07 PM
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
Washington 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Carolina 6:00 PM
Columbus
Pittsburgh 6:30 PM
Detroit
Montreal 7:30 PM
Chicago
Arizona 8:00 PM
Edmonton
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which local pro team are you most excited about?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close