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 3-0 win against the Anaheim Ducks at Xcel Energy Center.
Ryan Carter's contributions don't always show up in the box score. On Saturday, they did.
"He had a great game all night," Head Coach Mike Yeo said.
A sound defensive player, Carter does the little things necessary to winning hockey games that many times can go unnoticed. He eats up defensive zone starts, takes difficult shifts against the opposing team's top forwards, and can be used late in games when protecting a lead.
Carter also is a stalwart on the penalty kill, where he scored his first goal of the season, shorthanded, on Saturday. A clearing attempt up the wall made its way to Justin Fontaine, who sped up ice on a 2-on-1 with Carter. Fontaine made certain to pass the puck across to Carter early who made no mistake, roofing a shot under the crossbar and in.
"That's them pressing a little bit—that 2-on-1 there—but it was nice to capitalize on it," Carter said.
Earlier that period, Carter drew a penalty against Ryan Getzlaf, and just this morning, Mike Yeo voiced his approval for the fourth line's ability to draw penalties.
"We talked about them before the game, and the type of things that we were looking for that are frustrating and hard to play against those guys," Yeo said. "They move pucks ahead, and they've got speed to get in on the forecheck, and obviously we talked about them potentially drawing some penalties, and they did a great job of that."
You can't play much better than the Wild's power play did on Saturday without scoring a goal, though one of the Wild's goals was essentially on the power play.
The Wild took four shots on goal on its five power plays, but that doesn't tell the whole story. The Wild attempted 20 shots over those 10 minutes, moving the puck around the zone, creating quality chances, but just not finding a goal.
With that kind of possession and movement, goals will come, and the Wild's power play, as it has all season, will continue to produce.
Thomas Vanek scored just after a power play expired, with a Ducks player exiting the box, and only four white sweaters still in the defensive zone. Vanek, with time and space in the right circle, picked out a corner, and fired a slap shot into it for his fourth goal in seven games.
"I don't think we could really get it set up there, and I was looking for someone to pass it to, or just do something," Vanek said. "I noticed that Nino had good body position in front, and I saw a little opening above his glove, so I just went for it, and it worked out."
In the same respect, the Wild spent much of the game in Anaheim's end, controlling play at even-strength and limiting the Ducks to 13 shots at 5-on-5,—many of those coming in the third period with the Wild protecting a lead—while Minnesota took 25.
"It's eight periods now that we should feel good about that look the way it should look," said Yeo, dating back to the Wild's game last Sunday against the same Ducks. "And that's what we're talking about: let's continue to build our game."
Matt Dumba said earlier this week he was excited about the Wild's upcoming, busy schedule because it would give him a chance to get into a rhythm.
In the first game of a back-to-back and second in three nights, Dumba scored his first goal of the season, and the initial goal by any Wild defensemen in the first seven games.
A shift by Mikko Koivu's line hemmed Anaheim deep in its own end for nearly 70 seconds. As the Ducks finally cleared the puck to center ice, Marco Scandella quickly reloaded the play by sending the puck back up to Koivu.
A few wall plays down low later, and Jason Zucker found Dumba all alone in the circle, and Dumba walked the puck down and roofed a backhander over the glove of Frederik Andersen.
In one of Dumba's best games of the season, he was decisive with the puck, good on his gaps, and crisp in his breakouts.
Devan Dubnyk faced three shots in the first period, and in spite of that workload, had some difficult saves to make.
The fourth save of the first period was made by forward Charlie Coyle.
What looked line a semi-innocent rush turned into a mad scramble in the crease. Getzlaf gained the zone and skated in on Dubnyk, getting a shot away. Dubnyk made the save off Getzlaf's backhand shot, and Kevin Bieska crashed the net, getting to the rebound, forcing Dubnyk to make another save.
"I just tried to go head-first at the rebound, and I was kind of laying on my side there, and they shot another one into me," Dubnyk said.
As the puck trickled out to the other side of the crease, it ended up on the stick of Carl Hagelin, who appeared to have an open net to shoot on, if not for Coyle.
The 6-foot-3 forward sprawled out onto the ice, with the puck hitting him in the midsection
The Wild may have found its 2025 NHL Draft first round pick in eight-year old Hayden Weir.
During the first intermission Children's Hospital Mighty Mites game, Weir, a mite player with the Menomonie Mustangs of Wisconsin, scored a highlight reel goal. With the puck on his forehand, Weir sped past a crowd of players, head up all the way, and neatly flipped the puck over the glove of the goalie.
It was followed by a celebration eerily similar to Dumba's after the Wild defensemen scored minutes earlier. In his postgame, bench interview, Weir said he's been playing hockey for eight years, is better than his dad, and that the goal he scored was easy.