Uncharacteristic performance, especially when you consider what the Wild has done lately, but the Wild wasn’t close to its best tonight during a 3-2 loss at Nashville.
The Wild’s 6-0-3 point streak was snapped as the Wild suffered its first regulation loss since Nov. 27.
The Wild spotted the Preds a 1-0 lead 46 seconds into the game, then took three penalties in a 2:22 span of the first period to give Nashville a pair of two-man advantages, one of which the Preds scored on.
The Wild gave Nashville five power plays in the first two periods and it had a big effect on the game as several players sat for long periods of time.
The Wild did dodge one bullet it appears. Marco Scandella injured his right wrist in the first period, but he returned to start the second and showed no effects. In fact, his blast was deflected by Zach Parise for the Wild’s first goal, Parise’s 11th to extend his point streak to seven games (four goals, six assists).
Jason Zucker made it 3-2 in the third period, but the Wild couldn’t get the tying goal. Mikael Granlund passed up one of many shots on this night on a 2-on-1 with Jason Pominville, basically by stopping his stride, then passing into the feet of a defenseman. Also, Thomas Vanek set up Parise on a power play, but Parise couldn’t get the shot off with Pekka Rinne out of position.
As bad as the Wild played tonight, there were still several missed opportunities that proved costly. Zucker couldn’t tie the score at 1-1 in the first on a penalty shot, Justin Fontaine, who took the too many men penalty in the first that led to a Mike Ribeiro goal and 2-0 lead, hit the post on a partial break with a chance to cut the 2-0 deficit to 2-1.
Cue Mike Yeo: “Tough start, that’s for sure. First period was not us. They were ready. We knew they’d be ready. They were desperate, they’ve been reeling a little bit here. We knew they would be ready to go.”
On the penalties, Yeo said, “That was a big factor in the game. We can’t give up a goal like that the first shift though. That was a little too easy.”
He was referring to Filip Forsberg’s goal 46 seconds in after Jared Spurgeon was checked off a puck and Ryan Suter didn’t tie up Forsberg.
“I didn’t think we had the poise or the urgency in the little parts of our game early in the game,” Yeo said. “We were a little easy to play against and that’s a dangerous recipe against a team that’s ready to go.”
“We gave them everything,” Suter said. “Just really couldn’t get anything going til the end. We just couldn’t get it going. It was just one of those nights.”
Day off for the Wild on Sunday, then back-to-back home games Monday and Tuesday against Dallas and Montreal. They’ll try to toss this in the garbage and move on.
NHL holiday roster freeze goes into effect tonight at 11:59 a.m. and lasts until 12:01 a.m. Dec. 28.
So, take a week off on your Ryan Johansen questions.
The next Russo-Souhan Show live from Tom Reid's is Monday at 4 p.m. before the Wild's game vs. the Stars. Come on down. Also, we will be taping one there Saturday the 26th at 4 p.m. before the Wild-Penguins game.
By the way, I'll be filling in for Paul Allen from 9-noon Thursday.
Talk to you Monday.