Following Wild games, Content Coordinator Evan Sporer will give the Five Takeaways that he remembers from the contest. Tonight, he looks back at the Wild's 5-3 loss against the New York Islanders at Barclays Center.
NEW YORK –
With the conversation firmly about the Wild's offensive woes coming out of the All-Star break, it was a lackluster defensive effort that victimized the Wild on Tuesday.
Minnesota scored three times against the Islanders, not an offensive onslaught, but the fifth time in the past 14 games the Wild has scored more than two goals.
During Minnesota's recent offensive struggles, it has been its defensive posture that has kept the Wild in games and earning points. But the Wild allowed five goals in Brooklyn, the third time it has done so this season, and didn't look sharp in its own zone.
"What's concerning is we're finding different ways to lose hockey games, and games that are there for us," Head Coach Mike Yeo said. "We have a great start (Tuesday), we grab the lead, and that should be a game we are real tough to get it back from us. Every game has been something different."
A defensive zone turnover led to the Islanders' first goal. Their second and fourth goals came via deflections. New York's third and fifth goals were scored with players left all alone in the slot to shoot to goal.
"Unfortunately during this whole stretch we've seen glimpses and parts of our game that are there, and what happens when we do it," Yeo said. "And then we're just not strong enough to stay with it, to do it, to continue to do it, and obviously the result is not pleasant."
One thing the All-Star break didn't do was slow down the momentum of Charlie Coyle.
The big, 6-foot-3 power forward, who scored a career-high 13th goal a week ago before the break began, is now on a career best four-game goal streak, playing some dominant hockey.
His latest goal was emblematic of that. Coyle waited to accept a pass at the blue line to stay onside, then spun past Scott Mayfield, powered his way toward the crease, and tucked a backhand shot (VIDEO) past Jean-Francois Berube.
No word on what Coyle did with his time off, but it's safe to say he looks like the same player that had goals in three straight eight days ago.
Speaking of that offensive slide, it was talked a lot about after morning skate, having come amid a stretch in which Minnesota has continued to take a normal level of shots and shot-attempts.
So the mantra for Minnesota against the Islanders was simple: continue shooting. That it did in Brooklyn, and then some.
The Wild had 20 shots on goal in the first period against the Islanders, and 22 shot-attempts. They weren't all of the Grade-A variety, but Minnesota made a concerted, visible effort from the opening draw to get pucks to net, bodies to the net, and creating situations conducive to scoring.
The problem for the Wild was the next 40 minutes. Minnesota took eight shots in the second period, and then 15 in the third after falling behind by three goals. It took the Wild over seven minutes in the third to register a shot, and during that time, the Islanders scored twice.
"The first 20 we played great," Thomas Vanek said. "We had lots of energy, and between periods we talked about that they're going to have a push, and we're just going to keep on going, but it wasn't good enough."
After that strong 20-minute start to its post All-Star Game stretch, the Wild didn’t come with the same push to open the second period, and then found itself on the wrong side of the scoreboard.
It happened fast: the Islanders scored twice over a 107-second span, turning a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead. Recall that two games ago in San Jose, the Wild led by a goal in the second period before the Sharks scored twice in 98 seconds to take over.
Teams will always push when down a goal, especially in their home buildings. It happened in San Jose, and it happened on Tuesday, as the Islanders took eight shots to the Wild's one by the time the first television timeout came in the second period.
Later in that frame, the Wild managed to tie the game at 2-2, only to hand the lead back to the Islanders 42 seconds later. Brock Nelson scored with 42 seconds remaining in the period, which separated the Wild from a tie game entering the third on the road.
"We had a pretty good opportunity to go into the third in a good spot, and the third goal was a pretty good example of things that we need to not let happen going forward here in order to put ourselves in good situations to win games," Devan Dubnyk said. "We score a big goal late in the period, and priority one should be making sure that it stays that way."
The goal was the third the Wild has conceded in its past three games in the final two minutes of a period that was lead changing.
"You never want to give one up to start a period, or to finish a period," Zach Parise said. "That one hurt."
In the third, New York scored twice in 2:03 to extend its lead to three before the period was five minutes old.
The tide seemed to turn quickly for Minnesota at times on Tuesday, and it played a major role in the outcome of the game.
The Wild's first trip to Brooklyn and Barclays Center had a decided Minnesota feel to it.
There were Wild jerseys and crowd noise, courtesy of the approximately 160 Wild supporters who traveled to New York as part of the latest fan road trip.
On the New York side, Minnesotans Kyle Okposo, Nick Leddy, and Nelson are all key members of the Islanders. With Hockey Day right around the corner that's a trio of players who had a big impact at the high school level in the State of Hockey.