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

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Minnesota 94 FINAL
Philadelphia 103
Houston 93 FINAL
Boston 87
Portland 99 FINAL
Atlanta 105
Sacramento 90 FINAL
Cleveland 101
Toronto 127 FINAL
Brooklyn 122
Dallas 93 FINAL
Miami 72
LA Clippers 103 FINAL
New Orleans 108
Golden State 100 FINAL
Utah 110
Chicago 93 FINAL
Phoenix 99
Pittsburgh 2 FINAL(OT)
New Jersey 1
St. Louis 3 FINAL(SO)
Carolina 2
Nashville 0 FINAL
Colorado 3
Buffalo 2 FINAL
Vancouver 5
Chicago 4 FINAL
Anaheim 1
Harvard 75 FINAL
Princeton 72
Quinnipiac 57 FINAL
Canisius 63
Brown 49 FINAL
Cornell 57
Siena 79 FINAL
Manhattan 87
Marist 65 FINAL
Niagara 61
Dartmouth 51 FINAL
Penn 58
Oregon 68 FINAL
Arizona State 67
Yale 63 FINAL
Columbia 59
Monmouth 60 FINAL
Fairfield 59
IUPUI 59 FINAL
Western Ill 63
Oregon State 34 FINAL
Arizona 57
Kent State 55 FINAL
Buffalo 80
Canisius 75 FINAL
Monmouth 58
Butler 67 FINAL
Providence 59
Cornell 65 FINAL
Brown 52
Columbia 47 FINAL
Yale 55
Coll of Charleston 47 FINAL
Drexel 64
Penn 55 FINAL
Dartmouth 39
Elon 60 FINAL
James Madison 89
(19) Princeton 96 FINAL
Harvard 46
(9) Florida State 82 FINAL
Georgia Tech 62
Quinnipiac 87 FINAL
Siena 62
Richmond 54 FINAL
Rhode Island 50
Loyola-Chicago 58 FINAL
Southern Ill 64
Georgetown 52 FINAL
DePaul 93
Villanova 75 FINAL
Marquette 59
Wichita State 70 FINAL
Northern Iowa 51
Xavier 65 FINAL
Creighton 74
Bradley 58 FINAL
Illinois State 55
Missouri State 89 FINAL
Drake 94
Arizona 48 FINAL
Utah 62
(11) Arizona State 68 FINAL
Colorado 60
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 of these teams is the most frustrating to watch right now?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close