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Postgame Hat Trick: Wild 3, Jets 2 (SO)

Minnesota opens preseason with extended win against division rival

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers / Wild.com

Wild.com's Dan Myers gives three takeaways from the Wild's 3-2 shootout victory Monday at Winnipeg's Bell MTS Place:

1. Wild coach Bruce Boudreau indicated earlier Monday he'd be pleased if Minnesota "played the right way." It certainly did that.

That's not to say there's not things to work on. The Wild committed 11 penalties and put Winnipeg on 10 power plays; both goals scored by the Jets came via the power play.

"But the character was really good," Boudreau said. "That was one of the things I wanted to see tonight. We never quit. We did some really good things tonight, we made some mistakes, like we're going to."

Facing a Winnipeg lineup that will look remarkably similar to the one which opens the season in 16 days against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Wild brought just a smattering of regulars and managed to even lead the contest at one point late in the second period.

"No matter who we've got in the lineup, we're going to come out and try to outwork them," said Wild forward Charlie Coyle. "It wasn't all pretty, it wasn't perfect, obviously. First game, still trying to learn some stuff, but I thought it was a great effort by us. We'll take two points and get out of here."

After falling behind less than a minute into the game, Minnesota got the goal right back after a nifty passing play by Tyler Ennis set up Charlie Coyle for a tap-in power-play goal. Another newcomer, Marcus Foligno, tallied the second assist on the play.

Video: MIN@WPG: Coyle chips home Ennis' helper for PPG

Zack Mitchell gave the Wild a 2-1 lead in the second period, finishing off an odd-man rush and a nice pass by Kyle Rau, another player making his Wild "debut."
 
The Jets slowly pulled away on the shot chart in the third period, but Steve Michalek was outstanding, keeping the game tied until the final minutes of regulation and through overtime. Michalek made 19 saves in the third and overtime, and stopped all three shots in the shootout to earn the victory.

All things considered, a pretty solid outing by Minnesota in its exhibition opener.

Video: MIN@WPG: Rau threads needle, Mitchell goes top shelf

"Preseason is pretty strange, in that, the better lineups don't win, quite frankly," Boudreau said. "The guys that are on tryouts or American League contracts try an awful lot harder than the veterans, it's just the way its been going."

2. Ryan Malone still has silky mitts.

The veteran NHL forward, who has been out of professional hockey the past two years, returned Monday and scored the game-winning goal in the shootout on a pretty shot that beat Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck

"I literally said, 'I hope I don't fall,' I think my feet were asleep, I told Bruce," Malone said. "I just tried to hit the net and it ended up working out.

Malone, a former St. Cloud State Husky and 10-year NHL veteran, is with the Wild on a tryout basis during camp and has impressed so far. He had 15 shifts on Monday and earned more than 11 minutes of ice time, taking one penalty and firing one shot on goal before Boudreau gave him a chance to score in Round 2 of the shootout

"I watched him in Da Beauty League scoring some goals like that," Boudreau said. "and he's put some in in practice, and I thought, 'Here's an experienced veteran, give it a try.' He wanted to do it."

Video: MIN@WPG: Malone goes five-hole in the shootout

Malone's shot was the only one to get past a goaltender, as Cal O'Reilly and Chris Stewart were stopped for Minnesota, and Michalek stoned Winnipeg's Mark Scheifele, Blake Wheeler and Patrik Laine.
 
3. After a rocky first minute, Wild goaltender Niklas Svedberg recovered nicely.

Locked in a battle with Alex Stalock for the backup goaltending job behind Devan Dubnyk, Svedberg's career with the Wild got off to an inauspicious start. Just 46 seconds into the game, following a penalty on defenseman Kyle Quincey, Mathieu Perreault slithered out from the right corner uncontested and jammed a loose puck past Svedberg before some had even reached their seats.

Facing a quality lineup, Minnesota appeared in trouble. But to Svedberg's credit, he rebounded and finished with a solid line, stopping 22 of 24 shots over 40 minutes before being replaced by Michalek at the start of the third period.

Video: MIN@WPG: Svedberg makes save through traffic

Included in the saves were point-blank stops on Jets snipers Scheifele in the first period and Laine in the second

"After he gave up that first goal, he made some great saves to keep us in," Boudreau said

Both goals he allowed were power-play tallies, and he had no chance on Laine's one-timer late in the second period that evened the score at 2 heading into intermission

"He's not the first [goalie] to allow that," Boudreau said.


Loose Pucks
  • Coyle led Minnesota with seven shots on goal.
  • Defenseman Mike Reilly had six shots on goal and played a team-high 23:26 for Minnesota.
  • Luke Kunin led all Wild forwards in ice time (20:13) and was credited with two shots on goal. He also won 50 percent of his draws (9 of 18) and blocked a team-best three shots.
  • The two teams combined for 44 minutes in penalties.
  • The Jets outshot the Wild 43-36, including a 6-2 edge in overtime.
  • Hellebuyck made 34 saves in a losing effort for the Jets.

Video: Malone's shootout goal leads Wild past Jets, 3-2


He Said It

"Even before when I was playing, I had a smile on my face. Usually, I got yelled at a few times by my coaches for smiling too much. I've always enjoyed the game." -- Wild forward Ryan Malone on his penchant for smiling while on the ice


They Said It

"We're professionals, this is our job, so we have to fight every night. It doesn't matter if there's something on the line or there isn't. I think everyone just has to fight through it." -- Jets forward Patrik Laine


Dan's Three Stars

* Steve Michalek

** Tyler Ennis

*** Ryan Malone

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