COLUMBUS, Ohio – Wild coach Bruce Boudreau spelled out the issue to his players.
He wrote the statistics that illustrated his team’s woes on the road on the white board for all to absorb, a tactic that underscores just how glaring these struggles have become — especially in comparison with the success that’s rolled in at home.
And the review session seemed to be just the jolt the Wild needed to improve, because the team returned from the All-Star break to corral a 3-2 shootout victory over the Blue Jackets on Tuesday night in front of 17,734 at Nationwide Arena to secure only its second road win in its past seven tries.
“A step in the right direction,” forward Charlie Coyle said.
Wingers Zach Parise and Chris Stewart capitalized one-on-one against goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, with Parise delivering the deciding goal in the fourth round of the shootout. Only Artemi Panarin was able to push a puck past goalie Devan Dubnyk, who made 28 saves through overtime.
Bobrovsky had 41 saves after facing a season-high 43 shots from the Wild.
“I thought we were pretty determined, and I was thinking that we were going to win,” Boudreau said.
With the score tied 1-1 entering the third period, Coyle finished a two-on-one rush with Stewart, just out of the penalty box, at 12:10 to put the Wild ahead for the first time. It was Coyle’s first goal in nine games.
“I just tried to use my speed and get to the net,” Coyle said. “I had much more room than I thought because of [Stewart]. Luckily, it went in.”
But 2:38 later, the Blue Jackets tied it 2-2 on a power play off a seeing-eye shot from Panarin. The Wild challenged the goal to determine if Dubnyk was interfered with, but the goal stood.
Columbus’ power play finished 1-for-3, while the Wild was 1-for-2.
Despite blowing a late lead, the Wild persevered — an encouraging finish after the team fell into an early hole.
The Blue Jackets scored only 1:16 after puck drop on a David Savard shot that wove through traffic.
Columbus came close to going up 2-0 off another Savard goal, but video replay determined Savard had kicked the puck into the net at 12:19.
A switch seemed to flip for the second period, as the Wild took over.
And on a power play, the team found the equalizer. Jason Zucker poked in a loose puck at 4:25 for his 20th goal of the season, which is tied with Eric Staal for the team lead. The tally also extended Zucker’s point streak to a season-high seven games.
The Wild continued to pour on the pressure, boasting 26 shots on goal near the midway point. Minnesota ended up with 20 in the period, and the last one nearly sneaked in before time expired.
With the scoreboard approaching zeros, winger Tyler Ennis wound up off the rush and his shot crossed the goal line just after the clock switched from 0.1 to 0.0.
Although the goal didn’t count, it capped off the type of effort the Wild needs to maintain to continue to pick up points on the road.
“We’ve got to start somewhere, and this was our first opportunity,” Dubnyk said. “… We have to bring that exact same game every building we go into. There’s too many good teams in this league. You can’t take your foot off.”