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 3-2 loss against the Nashville Predators at Xcel Energy Center.
Even before he scored on the power play, Marco Scandella was playing some very good hockey for the Wild.
When Scandella scored his first goal of the season last week against the Edmonton Oilers, Head Coach Mike Yeo said the improving Scandella was separating bodies from pucks, using his speed, and making a difference on each end.
Scandella echoed that review in his play on Thursday, eating up key minutes against Nashville's top line, and more than held his own against the trio of Filip Forsberg, James Neal, and Mike Fisher. Normally on the second power play unit, Scandella, with an opening, was bumped up to PP1, and responded, taking a pass from Ryan Suter on the half-wall, walking the puck down, and beating Pekka Rinne to tie the game at 1-1.
Another noticeable player? Jason Zucker. He continues to play very good hockey, even if he's not getting rewarded with goals and points every night. Zucker was buzzing all over the ice, using his quick feet and hands in tight spaces, or exploding out of pockets of ice into open space.
He led the Wild with five shots on goal, and had one of Minnesota's best shot-attempt differential. Zucker generated the Wild's best scoring chances of the night: Pekka Rinne stopped him once after he was able to come out from behind the net, and a second time on a breakaway where Zucker's speed almost got him in too tight.
Missing a key offensive player, the Wild had to jumble its lines, but more importantly, took advantage of special teams opportunities to find its way.
The Predators took two leads, and the Wild responded each time with a power-play goal to tie the game. Scandella scored the first, and Matt Dumba scored the second. Each player was playing on a power-play spot because of the injury to Zach Parise: Scandella had been bumped up to the top power-play on the half-wall in Parise's absence, and Dumba slid into Scandella's spot on the second power play unit.
Dumba, who had not been playing on the power play all season, took advantage of the five-on-four ice time.
Obvious concern for Zach Parise, who did not return for the second period and missed the rest of the game with a lower-body injury.
Parise was run into by Neal in the first period, and awkwardly fell toward the boards. He went to the bench and down the tunnel before returning and playing five more shifts, but then went back down the tunnel with about two minutes to go in the period.
The Wild's leading goal-scorer with seven this season, Parise is an integral part of Minnesota's forward group.
Yeo said an update on Parise will be provided tomorrow, but that he will miss the game on Saturday against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
South St. Paul native and Predators assistant coach Phil Housley was honored at the game on Thursday. The former Minnesota high school hockey player, 21-year pro, and gold medal-winning junior coach—to name a few of his accolades—will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday.
Housley and his family were out on the ice for the dropping of the ceremonial first puck. Housley is off to Toronto tomorrow to begin the weekend's festivities, which will culminate on Monday. A more in-depth feature on Housley will be up on Wild.com tomorrow.