Wild.com's Dan Myers gives three takeaways from the Wild's 5-2 loss against the Winnipeg Jets at Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg on Thursday night:
1. Badly needing a good start to the game, the Wild got its best of the young season.
After being outplayed in Nashville and outscored in Colorado, Minnesota put a premium on its first 20 minutes of the night. Unfortunately for the fans back home, most didn't get to see it because of technical difficulties with the television truck inside Bell MTS Place.
But it was a good one.
The Wild killed a holding penalty by Mats Zuccarello, weathering a storm by the potent Jets first power play, thanks in large part to goaltender Devan Dubnyk, who made a couple of huge saves to keep it scoreless.
Video: MIN@WPG: Hartman forces turnover and scores
Just past the midway point of the period, the Wild's fourth line put forth a good forecheck, highlighted by Ryan Hartman, who picked the pocket of Jets defenseman Ville Heinola right in front of his goaltender, Connor Hellebuyck. In a blink, the puck went from Heinola's stick to resting behind Hellebuyck after a slick play by Hartman netted him his first goal as a member of the Wild.
2. Unfortunately for the Wild, it couldn't sustain that in the second period.
Minnesota's overall play didn't fall off much, but a goal by Blake Wheeler moments after a Wild power play expired less than two minutes into the second set the tone and tied the score at 1-1.
Later in the frame, Winnipeg entered the offensive zone 2-on-2, but Wild defenseman Matt Dumba got caught puck watching and Patrik Laine made him pay, wiring a bomb of a one-timer on a feed from the right-wing halfwall from Mark Scheifele.
Winnipeg's top line of Scheifele, Wheeler and Laine connected on each goal, with Scheifele earning the first assist on both tallies.
3. Things fell apart in a hurry in the third period.
Minnesota came out rolling, getting a pretty tying goal from defenseman Brad Hunt and keeping Winnipeg off the shot chart entirely for the first eight-plus minutes.
Video: MIN@WPG: Hunt freezes defender, whips a wrister home
But as things started to get chippy, both Carson Soucy and Nikolaj Ehlers would eventually get dueling minors. With the teams skating 4-on-4, the Jets took advantage of all the open ice, getting back-to-back tallies from Kyle Connor and Jack Roslovic just 28 seconds apart.
What was a tie game trending towards the Wild quickly turned and all of the sudden, the Jets led by a pair in their home opener.
Bonus take: The Wild (finally) will host a game on home ice on Saturday.
The NHL regular season has been up and running for more than a week now, but for the first time, Minnesota will get a chance to play at Xcel Energy Center when the Pittsburgh Penguins come to town.
The pre-game party scheduled for Rice Park has been cancelled because of inclement weather in the forecast, but Wild fans can rally together for the March to the Rink to march the State of Hockey flag from Tom Reid's Hockey City Pub to Xcel Energy Center Gate 2. The procession, led by drummers, will begin at 6:30 p.m.