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Postgame Hat Trick: Wild 3, Blues 2

Coyle's goal in the final seconds lifts Minnesota to win over division rival

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers / Wild.com

Wild.com's Dan Myers gives three takeaways from the Wild's 3-2 win against the St. Louis Blues at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri on Thursday night:

1. With the game surely headed to overtime, the Wild scored in the final seconds of regulation -- seemingly out of nowhere.

The play looked innocent enough. Defenseman Jonas Brodin was battling with a St. Louis player near the right-wing boards as the final seconds ticked off the clock. 

Brodin jarred the puck loose and Coyle jumped on it in the offensive zone, taking a couple of strides and rifling a shot that eluded Blues goaltender Carter Hutton with 4.3 seconds remaining in regulation, putting the Wild ahead by a goal.

The old hockey adage says good things happen when you put the puck at the net. Coyle was rewarded for following through.

"I didn't know whether to jump in or not," Coyle said. "Brodin poked it and I decided to just hop on it. Luckily it worked out. I didn't even look at the clock. I knew time was running out, but I just to get it on net."

2. Luke Kunin, a Missouri native, scored his first unofficial NHL goal a few hours away from his hometown.

With his parents, Shari and Mark, over from Chesterfield, Kunin finished a 2-on-1 break with Charlie Coyle, flipping a pass past Jake Allen at 16:27 of the first period, tying the game at 1-1. The goal won't officially go down as his first in the NHL, but it was a special moment for the kid who grew up a Blues fan about 25 miles west of St. Louis.

 

"It's always nice to get one, especially when it's against the team you grew up watching," Kunin said. "For [my parents] to be here and see me play, they've given up a lot and sacrificed a lot for me to play. So it's pretty special to share it with them."

Kunin has been locked in a battle with several players, notably Joel Eriksson Ek, for one of the final roster spots with Minnesota when the regular season kicks off one week from Thursday in Detroit. 

Wild coach Bruce Boudreau thought Kunin afforded himself well in the game.

"I thought he played well," Boudreau said. "I moved him [from center] to right wing, and I thought he did good at right wing. I thought he did good at both positions. I haven't talked to [Wild General Manager] Chuck [Fletcher] yet, but I thought some of the guys who were on the bubble were pretty good."

3. Minnesota's most consistent player on Thursday was goaltender Devan Dubnyk, a good sign with the games counting for real in just seven days.

Dubnyk didn't have a chance on the Blues' first goal, a snipe from Vladimir Tarasenko from just outside the hashes. Moments later, he robbed Oscar Sundqvist from below the left dots, moving to his right and sprawling to get a piece of a puck with his right arm that seemed destined for the back of the goal.

"Strange play, sort of a weird bounce that caused a turnover. Any time there is a turnover like that, it becomes strange because our guy is caught in between," Dubnyk said. "I got out on the guy because he was set in the middle, so I was frozen a little bit when he passed it [to Sundqvist]. At that point, you just kind of do whatever your body does to get over there. A little bit old school on that one."

The save kept the Wild's deficit at one goal, and Kunin tied it about eight minutes later.

"In preseason, it can get away from you if you get a two-goal deficit," Boudreau said. "To keep it a one-goal game was really good.

Dubnyk finished the game with 22 saves on 24 shots.

"I like where [Dubnyk] is at," Boudreau said. "He's been really good." 


Loose Pucks

Kyle Quincey scored Minnesota's second goal, tying the game 9:44 into the third period. It was his first goal of the preseason. 

• Coyle, Daniel Winnik, Mike Reilly, Joel Eriksson Ek and Jonas Brodin each had assists for Minnesota.

• Sundqvist had the Blues' second goal with 5:16 remaining in the second period.

• Jake Allen made 15 saves for St. Louis before being lifted for Hutton just past the halfway point of the contest.

• Minnesota outshot St. Louis 32-24, including an 11-5 margin in the final period.


He Said It

"Any goal is a good one. Whenever you can score, it's always fun. It was nice to get that first one." -- Wild forward Luke Kunin on if he's happy his first goal was a pretty one


Dan's Three Stars

* Charlie Coyle

** Luke Kunin

*** Devan Dubnyk

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