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Postgame Hat Trick: Jets 4, Wild 3

Laine scores twice as Minnesota drops first of back-to-back games in Canada

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers / Wild.com

Wild.com's Dan Myers gives three takeaways from the Wild's 4-3 loss against the Winnipeg Jets at Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg, Manitoba on Friday night:

1. Another game, another Chris Stewart goal.

Minnesota played its fifth game on Friday and Stewart, who saw his three-game goal streak snapped last Saturday against Columbus, decided it was high time to start a fresh one. 

With the Wild down a pair and time ticking away on an otherwise forgettable first period, Stewart and Jason Zucker connected to get Minnesota on the board and salvage the opening 20.

After flattening Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey behind the net, Stewart drifted to the low slot, where Zucker saw him from near the end wall and fed him with a nifty pass. Stewart got the puck on his backhand and lifted it past Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck for his fifth goal in five games.

Video: MIN@WPG: Stewart flicks backhander past Hellebuyck

It also extended Stewart's point streak to five games, his longest streak since December of 2014, when he had one point in five-straight games as a member of the Buffalo Sabres. 

Stewart has seven points during his current streak, one-third of his total of 21 points that he had in 79 games last season. 

"We're just trying to make plays, we're trying to create some offense," Zucker said. "I think we can shore up defensively a little bit, I think the whole team can. But we're trying to pitch in offensively right now and it seems to be working."

2. For the fourth time in five games, the Wild allowed four goals or more in a contest.

Not surprisingly, the Wild's record in those games is now 0-2-2. The club won its only game where it allowed fewer than four goals. And after nearly a week's worth of practices where he preached defensive effort and structure, Boudreau was not happy following the game on Friday.

Video: Bruce Boudreau Postgame at Winnipeg

"They got four, so it's not as good as you want it," Boudreau said. "You want it better, you need it better if you want to win in this League. You can't get [give up] three and four goals per game; just look at the end of the year, the goals-against averages that are three and over and see where those guys are. They're never in the playoffs."

The Wild has been tied or ahead in the third period but so far has just one victory to show for it.

"We've gotta figure it out," Zucker said. "We're putting ourselves in position, [tonight] coming back from down two, going up one, then they get two to tie it and go ahead. We've gotta shore that up, we can't keep doing this, we're going to shoot ourselves in the foot.

"All these games matter even though it's game five. Come game 81, we don't want to have to look back and think about these games."

3. Special teams giveth, special teams taketh away.

The Wild took advantage of its only man advantage through two periods, scoring on Foligno's goal. 

But in a game that had few penalties, Minnesota's penalty kill struggled. Patrik Laine scored a pair of power play goals, first giving the Jets the lead, then tying the game in the dying moments of period two after Minnesota scored three unanswered.

Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk didn't have a chance on either Laine goal; the first was a rocket of a one-timer from the left circle. His second also came in the vicinity of the left circle, but went under the crossbar after deflecting off the stick of Mikko Koivu on its way. 

Minnesota's power play has been outstanding through five games, scoring five goals on 15 opportunities. The WIld has scored a power-play goal in four consecutive games, its longest streak since it scored in five-straight games between Dec. 31 and Jan. 12 last season.

Defenseman Mike Reilly has been a big part of the team's success with the extra attacker. He's got three points in four games this season, with all three coming on the power play. His shot from the point was deflected by Marcus Foligno and past Hellebuyck late in the second period, giving the Wild a brief lead.

Video: MIN@WPG: Foligno redirects Reilly's shot for a PPG

"Obviously, it's a big strength of my game," Reilly said. "I think if I take care of my d-zone, it will work itself out from there. My main focus is in the d-zone, keep getting better, keep being aggressive and eventually let my skills take over on the power play."

Unfortunately, the Wild's penalty kill has struggled to the tune of six goals allowed on just 21 opponent power plays. After ranking eighth in the NHL on the kill last season (82.5 percent), the Wild has work to do in that regard.

"It's been frustrating," Boudreau said. "It's not the penalty kill itself, it's how the penalty killing goals are going in. How many deflections right now, in five games have gone in? But that's an excuse; they're going in. We gotta stay out of the box. We only took three penalties today but when two of them go in, that's not good."


Loose Pucks

• Wild forward Landon Ferraro sustained a hip flexor injury in the first period and did not return to the game.

• Blake Wheeler's third-period goal was the 200th of his NHL career.

• Foligno's goal was his first as a member of the Wild.

• Dubnyk finished with 26 saves on 30 shots.

Video: MIN@WPG: Dubnyk stones Byfuglien, Connor in 2nd

• Hellebuyck improved to 4-0-0 by making 24 saves.

• Zucker finished with two assists, also tabulating a helper on Mikko Koivu's second-period goal.

Video: MIN@WPG: Koivu finishes Zucker's feed with backhand

• Blake Wheeler, Dustin Byfuelien and Mark Scheifele each had multi-point games for the Jets.

• The game was the NHL debut for Winnipeg's Brendan Lemieux.

• Attendance: 15,321


He Said It

"We talked about it, we were in a good spot going into the third period on the road. We're going to have to find a way here. We just have to find a way to be sharper." -- Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk on finding a way to win games when tied or leading in the third period


Dan's Three Stars

* Patrik Laine 

** Jason Zucker 

*** Blake Wheeler

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