Following Wild games, Managing Editor Mike Doyle will give the Five Takeaways that he remembers from the contest. Tonight, he looks back at a 3-2 win against the Los Angeles Kings:
There is no quit in the Minnesota Wild.
For the second-consecutive game, with precious playoff points on the line, the Wild earned a win with a third-period comeback. Minnesota did it against a team that’s decent at closing out games. Coming into the third, the Kings were 25-1-0 when leading after two periods.
The win did come at a price, as neither Mikael Granlund or Nino Niederreiter finished the game. After the win, Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo didn’t give an update on either player, saying they suffered upper-body injuries. With the two forwards out, the Wild’s big guns stepped up offensively.
Matt Moulson tied the game in the third and Mikko Koivu scored the game winner only 1:02 later. Koivu’s line was especially good tonight. Koivu had his team-best 12th multi-point game and extended his scoring streak to six games, his longest of the season. Charlie Coyle set up Koivu’s winner and was a beast down low all night. He finished with a career-high six hits in 18:36. Zach Parise scored the Wild’s opening goal on the power play, but we’ll get to him in a minute.
“Yeah, it was a real impressive character win, as far as I’m concerned,” Yeo said after the game, his 100th win as an NHL head coach. “When you are battling all game, you lose a couple of guys, and let’s not kid ourselves we are going against a pretty darn good hockey team…for the leadership, for this group to bounce back and find a way to kind of recapture our game, and stay with it in the third, it says a lot about our group.”
The Wild then shut the door on the Kings. Ilya Bryzgalov made five third period saves for a game total of 18. The netminder improved to 4-0-2 with Minnesota.
J.P. Parise should come on the road more often. For the second-straight game with his father in the stands, Zach scored for the Wild. With his 28th goal of the season, Parise took over the team lead from Jason Pominville (27). He scored in his typical spot, around the front of the net. With the team on the power play, Koivu and Granlund played catch high, while Parise set up at the side of the net. Granlund shot a one-timer that was contested and the puck drifted right to Parise, and the forward redirected the puck in with his backhand.
As usual, Parise was a forechecking dynamo tonight. After passing his dad on the all-time NHL goal list in Phoenix, WildTV talked to both the Parises about the accomplishment. Zach said that his dad’s best advice was in regards to the one part of the game he could control: How hard he worked. J.P. said that he could always be the hardest working guy on the rink. Well, I’d say the lesson was learned.
At the time of his acquisition on Trade Deadline Day, Moulson looked like a big pickup that would help the Wild offensively, and he’s been as advertised since coming over from the Buffalo Sabres. Tonight, Moulson scored his fifth goal since joining the Wild (14 games). He seems to have a flair for the dramatic as well; two of his goals are game winners.
Along with his goal-scoring prowess, he brings other attributes to the club as well. Tonight, Jake Muzzin landed a high hit on Jason Pominville, the second questionable hit of the game from the Kings’ defenseman (he knocked Niederreiter out of the game in the first period). Not known for fisticuffs, Moulson went after Muzzin and threw him down to the ice with authority. He was tagged with a four-minute roughing penalty, but the Wild was able to kill it off for him. He showed he is willing to stick up for his teammates, which is what you need around this time of the season.
Tonight, the Wild signed arguably the most coveted college free agent, defenseman Christian Folin. The 23-year-old finished up his sophomore season at UMass Lowell, where he helped the River Hawks win the Hockey East conference tournament before ending the season with a loss to Boston College in the NCAA Northeast Regional Final.
The blueliner is 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds. Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher said that the Gothenburg, Sweden native skates well and has a good shot. He’s also right handed, a precious commodity amongst defensemen. He is expected to join the team in Chicago. Folin is eligible to skate in one of the team’s six remaining games.
During the NHL lockout, you might’ve remembered Wild.com’s search for the next Paul Deutsch, the emergency backup goaltender who signed an Amateur Tryout Contract with Minnesota on Nov. 23, 2011 when the team skated against the Nashville Predators. Well, after Darcy Kuemper sustained an upper-body injury at morning skate, the Wild was in search of the next emergency backup.
They found their man in 43-year-old Rob Laurie. The netminder has done this twice before, first for the Anaheim Ducks on April 5, 2013 and with the Vancouver Canucks earlier this season on Jan. 5, 2014.