Scoggins: Speedy Haula cashes in on second chance

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 7, 2014 - 11:06 AM

After he lost the puck while being hooked on a first-period breakaway, the Wild rookie buried a game-changing goal in the third.

Erik Haula had nothing but open ice and a loose puck standing between him and Chicago goalie Corey Crawford.

As he corralled the puck deep inside Chicago’s zone on a shorthanded breakaway, Haula lined up his target. Closer, closer, closer until, at the last second, hustling defenseman Duncan Keith lunged with his stick from behind and hooked Haula’s right wrist.

That quick jab caused Haula to lose control of the puck, which slid harmlessly out of Crawford’s reach.

No shot, no penalty, no way.

“I just kept thinking in my head, ‘Hopefully I get another chance to bury one,’ ” Haula said.

He did, and Haula made sure his second chance ended with a better result.

The Wild’s rookie center knocked in a goal on a give-and-go with Justin Fontaine early in the third period to break a logjam and launch the Wild to a 4-0 victory against the Blackhawks in Game 3 on Tuesday night.

Haula said he felt no hesitation when he saw the puck floating his direction.

“I was going to smack it,” he said. “Thankfully, it went in.”

That Haula broke a scoreless tie and made himself a disruptive presence all game came as little surprise. He’s been one of the Wild’s best players the first three games of this best-of-seven series.

Not bad for a guy who started the season in the minors and entered his first postseason as a fourth-liner who averaged 10 minutes of ice time during the regular season.

The former Gopher has steadily earned more responsibility, playing time and trust of the Wild coaching staff to the degree that he now looks like an important cog in the team’s nucleus of young talent.

Haula was elevated to the checking line in the Colorado series, remains a regular on the penalty kill and has seen his ice time increase by nearly four minutes in the playoffs.

He was terrific again in Game 3, using his blazing speed to create turnovers and keep pressure on the Blackhawks.

“I like a speedy game,” he said.

In a postseason in which several Wild veterans have slumped and/or disappeared, Haula’s emergence has created optimism within the organization. Given an expanded role, the 23-year-old from Finland has produced.

Haula exhibited a scorer’s mentality in college but he’s also earned Yeo’s trust by being responsible defensively. He set a team rookie record for plus-minus rating (plus-14) this season.

Haula has played on the second, third and fourth lines this season. He filled in for an injured Mikael Granlund late in the regular season and collected seven points in seven games.

  • related content

  • Wild climbs back into series with four-goal 3rd period burst

    Wednesday May 7, 2014

    Ignited by the ‘Flying Finns’ Erik Haula and Mikael Granlund, the Wild rolled during the third period to cut Chicago's lead in the best-of-seven series to 2-1.

  • Wild notes: Ballard cracks lineup in place of Prosser

    Wednesday May 7, 2014

    Despite having not played since sustaining a groin injury March 17, Keith Ballard dived headfirst into the second round of the playoffs Tuesday night as the Wild won 4-0.

  • Blackhawks defenseman Leddy scratched for Game 3

    Wednesday May 7, 2014

    The Eden Prairie native was scratched from a playoff game for the first time since joining the Blackhawks in 2010-11.

  • Wild rookie Erik Haula lost the puck coming in on Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford in the first period, but beat him in the third.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Toronto - D. Hutchison 12:05 PM
NY Yankees - C. Capuano
Washington - G. Gonzalez 3:05 PM
Cincinnati - J. Cueto
St. Louis - S. Miller 3:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - J. Arrieta
Baltimore - B. Norris 3:10 PM
Seattle - C. Young
Arizona - J. Collmenter 6:05 PM
Philadelphia - C. Lee
NY Mets - J. Niese 6:10 PM
Milwaukee - W. Peralta
San Diego - O. Despaigne 6:10 PM
Atlanta - J. Teheran
Miami - T. Koehler 6:10 PM
Houston - J. Cosart
Boston - J. Lackey 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - J. Hellickson
Chicago WSox - C. Sale 6:10 PM
Minnesota - L. Darnell
Cleveland - Z. McAllister 6:10 PM
Kansas City - J. Guthrie
Oakland - S. Gray 7:05 PM
Texas - N. Tepesch
Pittsburgh - J. Locke 7:10 PM
Colorado - T. Matzek
Los Angeles - C. Kershaw 8:05 PM
San Francisco - R. Vogelsong
Detroit - J. Verlander 8:05 PM
LA Angels - M. Shoemaker
Sporting Kansas City 6:00 PM
Toronto FC
Columbus 6:30 PM
New England
Calgary 26 FINAL
Edmonton 22
Winnipeg 23 FINAL
Brt Columbia 6
Ottawa 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Toronto 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
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
Los Angeles 3:00 PM
Seattle
Indiana 7:00 PM
San Antonio
New York 9:00 PM
Phoenix
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