Following Wild games, Content Coordinator Evan Sporer will give the Five Takeaways that he remembers from the contest. Tonight, he looks back at the 3-1 loss against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center.
The Wild entered the third period against the Anaheim Ducks on the road tied, with an excellent chance to earn two points to begin a West Coast swing.
But over those next 20 minutes the Wild took seven shots, including four over the first 14 minutes, punctuated by Anaheim taking a 2-1 lead.
What's been tough lately for Minnesota has been how much it's been chasing in games. The Wild has taken 24 shots combined over its past four third periods, and has trailed in 76:05 of those 80 minutes.
"We're pushing, that's the thing. The execution isn't there," Head Coach Mike Yeo said. "Whether we're tight, whether we're holding the sticks a little too tight, and you can see there were opportunities where we got shots, and … we don’t quite connect."
Where the Wild was able to establish good zone time over the first 40 minutes, those sequences weren't as frequent in the third, with quick one-offs offensively, and not many scoring chances.
"When you're chasing the way that we have been, it makes it tough because you know the other team is going to play tight, and we certainly have to find a way to get through the neutral zone," Yeo said. "When we get into the offensive zone, we've done some pretty good things, but we have to do more of it."
With the offensive funk the Wild is also in right now, playing in tight games, there isn’t much margin for error at either end.
"You could see in the third period, you're not scoring, and then some of the details start to slip," Yeo said. "The second goal is a good example of that. We kind of gave them that one."
After speculating on what kind of reception he would receive this morning from the Anaheim crowd, Jarret Stoll ensured early on Wednesday night he wouldn't be in its good graces.
Stoll opened the scoring against the Ducks (VIDEO), his first goal as a member of the Wild, and in doing so, ended a Minnesota goalless drought of 127:40.
A former Los Angeles King who has played in many rivalry games against the Ducks, Stoll had two goals in Honda Center in 18 career games entering Wednesday, and had won three out of four playoff games he played in Anaheim.
The Wild trotted out new power play units on Wednesday, but didn't get the results it was looking for.
And right now, for the Wild, the power play is a results-driven proposition.
Minnesota went 0-for-3 with the extra skater, the 13th consecutive road game the Wild has not scored a power play goal. At home, the Wild has the sixth-ranked power play in the NHL, converting at 23.9 percent. On the road, the power play has not been as effective.
"The first was good, and the second and third weren't so good," Yeo said.
One of its new units generated a quality chance early when Zach Parise won a puck battle behind the net, and found Charlie Coyle in the low slot for a one-timer that forced a good pad save out of John Gibson.
Trailing by a goal late in the third period, the Wild got its third power play of the night with 3:55 remaining in regulation and a chance to equalize, but could not convert.
"We can't expect to win one-goal games when we score one goal," Coyle said. "We had some chances, and it just comes down to we have to put the puck in the net."
Though the Wild has been very good defensively, there's always room for improvement. And diagnosing how Minnesota has been getting scored on lately, it's mostly coming off deflected pucks.
After Chris Stewart scored on Dubnyk Monday, the past five goals the Wild had allowed at even-strength had all been on deflections. And those redirects were all intentional, with opposing players stationed above the crease, looking to create offense.
So while deflecting pucks can be a rather inexact science, it's one that has afflicted the Wild recently.
Those five even-strength goals have come over a four-game span, during which the Wild has allowed seven five-on-five goals in all. That's a low total for that many games, but of course, the Wild will always be looking for ways to make it even lower.
Devan Dubnyk debuted some new gear against the Ducks, but it was the same old Dubnyk for the Wild.
His pads, which he's been breaking in during practice, got tested early when he stopped a Jakob Silfverberg shot, then kicked the pad back out (VIDEO) to meet the rebound try by Andrew Cogliano.
Dubnyk's glove (not new) was functioning as well, most visibly during the second period when he robbed Corey Perry on the power play, getting to his post and snaring Perry's shot (VIDEO) labeled for the top corner.
After morning skate, Dubnyk said in the midst of the Wild's offensive slump, it was important for him not to get wrapped up in that. That he couldn't focus on a shutout, but simply going out and stopping as many pucks as he could.
It was another strong night for the Wild's All-Star, who stopped 25 of 27 shots, giving his team a chance to win.