After Wild coach Bruce Boudreau emphasized rolling out a new plan of attack to combat the team’s extra-time woes earlier this month, he noticed positives in the overtime session with the Hurricanes.
Boudreau didn’t sense any panic when the group turned the puck over, and players also went for a line change at the right time.
But the Wild still was eliminated relatively soon into the action, with Andrei Svechnikov scoring at 1 minute, 33 seconds to deal the Wild a 4-3 overtime loss Saturday at Xcel Energy Center.
“It’s a work in progress until we find a way to win a game or two,” Boudreau said, “and then it’s amazing how the confidence builds positively rather than negatively.”
Shortly before Svechnikov delivered, the Wild nearly won it on a shot from winger Luke Kunin. But momentum quickly pivoted the other way after the Wild’s lone look in the period.
“That’s overtime,” winger Zach Parise said. “We had that chance on one end and then, bam, it’s in the back of our net.”
This result dropped the Wild to 12-30 in overtime since 3-on-3 play was introduced in 2015-16. Afterward, Boudreau mentioned wanting to look at a statistic — a sign that the search for solutions continues.
“There’s something bothering me about it,” he said. “I’m not going to tell you what it is now. We’ll find out. It’s like penalty killing. Your goalie is your best penalty killer, right? It’s the same thing in all situations.”
Winger Kevin Fiala was next in line to get a shift in overtime but because that opportunity was snuffed out by Svechnikov’s winner, Fiala was idle since 7:55 remained in the third period.
“He turned the puck over in a 3-3 game in the last 10 minutes of the third period,” Boudreau said. “I’m trying to teach him to be more responsible.
“The last game he did all the right things in the third period, so he kept playing. … This was sort of a little lesson.”
Goal No. 1
Defenseman Carson Soucy helped the Wild earn a point by tying the score 3-3 late in the second, his first career NHL goal in his 20th career game.
“It’s always a dream kind of to get the first one,” Soucy said. “That was nice. It was a special moment, too, to tie it up. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the two points, but it’s still a special feeling.”
The Wild recognized former winger Nino Niederreiter during his first game at Xcel Energy Center since he was traded to Carolina last season by playing a video of his highlights on the ice and in the community from his six years with the organization.
“It was definitely very emotional,” said Niederreiter, who waved to the cheering crowd after the video. “I loved it here. Having the chance to play for the Wild was great, and having that tribute was definitely very emotional and special and great to see.”
Jason Zucker felt the Coyotes’ Jason Demers’ skate blade clip him during the second period of Thursday’s game, a scary-looking collision in the corner that resulted in Zucker hobbling off the ice and down the tunnel from the Wild’s bench.
But Zucker was quickly back in action.
“I wear those cut-proof socks luckily,” Zucker said.
This was the first time the Kevlar socks Zucker wears did their job, preventing the winger from getting nicked by a blade.
Zucker has worn these protective socks his entire NHL career, and he said most NHLers do.