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Postgame Hat Trick: Penguins 7, Wild 4

Late rally falls short for Minnesota in home opener Saturday night in St. Paul

by Dan Myers @mnwildscribe /'s Dan Myers gives three takeaways from the Wild's 7-4 loss against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul on Saturday night:

1. The offense from defense theme continued.

Points have been consistent from the Wild's back end through the first three games of the season. Entering the game, the Wild has as many goals from its defensemen as it did from its forwards.

While that's clearly not ideal, it's better than the alternative of getting nothing from its defensemen.

While Ryan Suter, Matt Dumba and Brad Hunt all lit the lamp in the first three games, Jared Spurgeon became defenseman No. 4 to do it, scoring his first goal of the campaign late in the second period. 

Video: PIT@MIN: Spurgeon nets wrister from the circle

Spurgeon also assisted on Minnesota's first goal of the game by Jason Zucker early in the second period, a power-play goal that was also assisted on by the power-play specialist, Hunt. 

2. A once-tight game went completely off the rails just past the midway point of the second period.

The Penguins scored once late in the first and again early in the second to grab a 2-0 lead. But when Zucker re-directed Hunt's pass past goaltender Matt Murray 3:54 into the second (28 seconds after Sidney Crosby's pretty breakaway tally made it 2-rip), the Wild was within just one.

Video: PIT@MIN: Zucker redirects feed in front for PPG

Minnesota continued its push too, appearing to tie the game on a goal by Marcus Foligno that officials ruled had been blown dead a split second earlier. 

Ultimately, it was a stretch of hockey just 2:28 in length that did the Wild in.

Adam Johnson's goal at 11:11 re-established the two-goal lead for Pittsburgh before Kris Letang buried a rebound at 12:58. 

Only 41 more seconds elapsed before Joseph Blandisi scored and ended Devan Dubnyk's night. 

Three goals, 148 seconds. Not good.

Spurgeon made it 5-2 with just over three minutes to play in the period and Hunt would add a goal with under five minutes to play on a blast from the left point.

The loss by the Wild in its home opener at Xcel Energy Center is a rare one. It was the first time in franchise history Minnesota lost in regulation its first game of the season at the arena, dropping to 14-1-4 all time. 

3. The Wild paid tribute to Jim Bowers on Saturday in an awesome pre-game moment.

Bowers, the legendary national anthem singer for the North Stars back in the 1980s and 90s before the team departed for Dallas, passed away in August at the age of 84. His baritone voice provided memories for millions of North Stars fans, and before that Minnesota Fighting Saints fans as well.

The Wild's normal anthem singer, John deCausemaker, was dressed in a black tuxedo for the home opener and took the mic, introducing a video on the scoreboard of Bowers singing before a Stars game in 1991 against the Penguins. 

Video: Wild 19-20 Home Opener Anthem

The performance was electric, and for those of us that don't remember Bowers' performances back at the Met Center, it gave us a clear vision of what used to be a special pre-game moment and tradition. 

For those that do remember, it was one special trip down memory lane and one of the most goosebump-inducing moments you'll ever see.


Video: 2019-2020 Wild team introductions

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