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 5-4 loss against the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre.
Four-goal deficits in the second period can go one of two ways: The trailing team can coast to the finish line, and accept a loss, or it can try to find its game, and at the very least, build on something until the final buzzer.
The Wild didn't accept the script of hard-luck, second half of back-to-back games, showing resiliency and making it close after trailing 5-1 less than five minutes into the second period.
Mikko Koivu scored a power-play goal to cut Minnesota's deficit to three about 10 minutes after it had fallen behind by four. Koivu is now on a six-game point streak. His goal was followed 38 seconds later by Justin Fontaine scoring his first of the season. One constant from the Wild's two regulation losses this season, and its opening night win against the Colorado Avalanche, is it won't simply accept losing.
Trailing by four in the second period, on the road, it would have been easy for Minnesota to mail it in.
Zach Parise added his seventh goal of the season in true Parise-style in the third to make it a 5-4 game. After getting dumped behind Winnipeg's net, Parise popped up, stole the puck from Jacob Trouba, and banked it off Mark Stuart's skate and in.
The comeback fell short this time for the Wild, but no one should question its resiliency.
Jason Zucker is now historically fast.
Zucker has been flying the first seven games of the season, as has his line with Koivu and Nino Niederreiter. On Sunday, Zucker broke through for his first goal of the season.
There were many close calls for Zucker in the first seven games, with near misses and other quality chances coming close (Zucker had four assists in those first seven games.). Against the Jets, 10 seconds into the first period—a new franchise record for the fastest goal to open a game—Zucker found the back of the net.
Jonas Brodin laid a pass through the neutral zone, and Zucker did the rest. He went one-on-one with Trouba, sliding the puck through the defenseman's legs and catching up to it.
That's where Zucker's speed came in, as he descended on Michael Hutchinson, creating separation from the pack, and firing a shot into the top corner. Zucker's skating ability has been influencing the game, from negating icings to stretching defensemen out of position.
His quick skating now has a time-based record to go with it.
It was a strange first period that, had a few bounces gone the Wild's way, would have looked much different.
Sixty-two seconds after Zucker scored, Bryan Little tied the game on a pinball sequence. Darcy Kuemper poked the puck away from Little, but it popped up, fortuitously bouncing off Little's helmet, and into the net.
On the second goal, to make it 2-1 Winnipeg, more pinball as a Blake Wheeler shot got through, the rebound ticked off Little and landed right on the tape of an open Andrew Ladd at the top of the crease.
Another penalty drawn by the Wild's fourth line, this one by Erik Haula, who kept his feet moving through the neutral zone and ended up getting held by Chris Thorburn.
It's something Yeo has said time and time again is a strength of Haula, Ryan Carter, and Chris Porter, and how it makes the trio tough to play against.
The fourth line has drawn eight penalties this season, a great luxury for a fourth line to provide.
Before the game, Head Coach Mike Yeo commented on how tight the Central Division is, and how it ups the ante whenever a divisional rival is on the schedule.
The Jets certainly upped the intensity at MTS Centre on Sunday, a building that's never easy to play in. Winnipeg plays a physical game, and one the Wild tries to counter by using its speed.
What's clear though is whenever the Wild meets a Central team on the schedule, it's going to be a little bit of a higher-stakes game. It was the case against both the Avalanche and St. Louis Blues earlier this season, and the game against Winnipeg had the same feel.
All three divisional games the Wild has played this season have been one-goal games.