Wild.com's Dan Myers gives three takeaways from the Wild's 5-4 loss against the Philadelphia Flyers at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul on Tuesday night:
1. Luke Kunin scored twice for his first multi-goal game in the NHL.
Kunin doubled his pleasure and doubled his fun, both in the game and on the season on Tuesday. He entered the night with two goals in 25 games, then proceeded to score two goals in the first 13:28 of action against Philly.
The former Badger is starting to figure it out, folks.
Video: PHI@MIN: Kunin cashes in on defensive miscue
Kunin now has goals in two of his last three games and points in four of his five games since being recalled from Iowa following the All-Star break. Three of those games have been multi-point efforts, including two assists against Buffalo on Feb. 5 and a one goal, one assist outing against New Jersey on Saturday.
Video: PHI@MIN: Kunin stretches lead with second of game
During that stretch, Kunin is a plus-7 and has developed good chemistry with fellow youngster Joel Eriksson Ek, who held the primary assist on Kunin's second goal of the night.
2. Minnesota got the first period it wanted.
Opening periods have been a problem all season for the Wild, but especially of late. Entering play on Tuesday, opponents had scored the first goal of the game 37 times this season, most of any NHL team. The Flyers actually made it 38 by getting the game's first tally 2:54 into the contest, but the Wild seemed motivated by the deficit, rattling off three-straight goals to take a 3-1 lead into intermission.
With the Flyers playing on the second half of a back-to-back following a 4-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday, Wild coach Bruce Boudreau put a premium on the team's start.
A middling 13-10-4 record on home ice this season had been largely attributed to its first periods.
"Look up the numbers in the first periods of how we've done at home," Boudreau said before the game. "It's just not good, we're chasing the game too often, we don't get ahead and able to keep it."
Indeed, Minnesota entered a minus-14 in first periods this season, by far its worst period and tied for the worst differential in the NHL.
But the Wild turned the tables on Tuesday, getting one goal from Zach Parise and two more from Kunin in building an early lead.
Video: PHI@MIN: Parise strikes down low for power-play goal
3. Unfortunately, the Wild's second period let it down.
While opening periods have been a struggle, Minnesota has been outstanding all season in the middle frame, entering a plus-13 in second periods, tied for third-best in the League.
That trend didn't hold on Tuesday.
Philadelphia took advantage of a power play, getting a goal on a double deflection by James van Riemsdyk to steal back momentum. A few minutes later, it was Sean Couturier capping a rush opportunity by poking home a loose puck in front of Devan Dubnyk to tie the game at 3-3.