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Postgame Hat Trick: Jets 5, Wild 4

Third-period goal by Morrissey stymies furious Wild rally

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers / Wild.com

Wild.com's Dan Myers gives three takeaways from the Wild's 5-4 loss against the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre in Winnipeg on Sunday night:

1. After a first period that may have been among the worst of the season, Minnesota's improbable rally started inauspiciously enough. 

After falling behind 3-0 in an ugly first period, Winnipeg's Dustin Byfuglien backhanded a shot past Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk for a four-goal lead 4:38 into the second. 

"Obviously we're not ready to play. There's a common denominator in the goals that are being scored against us right now, it's the middle of the ice," said Wild forward Chris Stewart. "It's that time of year where guys are going hard to the net and banging home ugly goals. We've gotta toughen up defensively and we gotta protect our net, protect our goalie, at the end of the day."

The Wild turned the tide almost five minutes later when Zach Parise centered a pretty pass from behind the net right onto the tape of Charlie Coyle, who rifled one under the crossbar to make it 4-1. 

Video: MIN@WPG: Coyle finishes Parise's feed with one-timer

Six minutes later, it was 4-2 when Mikael Granlund scored his team-leading 25th goal on the power play. 

Just 39 seconds later, Stewart scored his first of the night to get the Wild within a goal. Suddenly, a raucous Winnipeg crowd was quieted by the charging visitors. 

Video: MIN@WPG: Granlund, Stewart strike 39 seconds apart

Minnesota could have settled for a three-goal rally, but instead it was Stewart again on the second-to-last shift of the second frame. He stuffed his second goal of the night under the pads of Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck, knotting the score at 4 with 12.6 seconds remaining in the frame.

Video: MIN@WPG: Stewart slips home second goal, ties game

For Stewart, it was his first multi-goal game since Jan. 30, 2015, when he was a member of the Buffalo Sabres.

To recap: After falling behind to the Jets (32-33-7) by four, the Wild rallied with four straight goals in a span of 10 minutes, 24 seconds.

"We made it pretty tough on ourselves in the game," Parise said. "There's a lot for us to learn from in that first period, things that we can't allow to happen. The second period on, we played a great game. But four-nothing, trying to get ourselves back in the game, that's not easy."

2. Winnipeg's Josh Morrissey fired the final salvo in a wild (no pun intended) game when his blast from the point got through traffic in front of Dubnyk with 7:17 left. 

After Minnesota owned the final half of the second, the Wild pushed for its first lead in the opening moments of the third, nearly getting it when Stewart had a try on the back door following a nifty pass by Erik Haula.

But as the period progressed, the Jets picked up more steam. A couple nice saves by Dubnyk, including one sprawling glove stop on Byfuglien, kept the game tied.

But on the very next shift, the Jets worked the puck to Morrissey at the point, who fired through a crowd and just inside the left post for the winning goal.

Minnesota, which has now lost five straight games, will try to get back on track Tuesday when it hosts the San Jose Sharks. The Wild (43-22-6) plays five of its next six on home ice. 

Afterward, Wild coach Bruce Boudreau was in no mood to find positives. 

"We stunk in the first, we better come back in the second," Boudreau said.

"You give up four goals, you tie it up and then we let it slip away. I'd like to think we'd at least get a point out of that one, so it does sting," Stewart said. "I think it's a little bit too late in the year for moral victories, but we can learn from it. You look at the positive and the boys battled tonight, so we'll take that and we'll get ready for San Jose. There's no time to dwell on it."

3. The game, crazy as it was, marked the 1,000th in the NHL career of Eric Staal. 

He became the 311th player in NHL history (and 309th skater) to reach the milestone and the fifth to do it in a Wild sweater.

He also became the first member of the legendary 2003 NHL Draft class to reach 1,000 games played. 

"It's special for sure. Tough under the circumstances with how we've been playing here the last little bit, but grand scheme, it's a special moment for sure," Staal said. "It's been an honor to play this game and fun to be out there every day."

The native of Thunder Bay, Ontario, has missed just 22 games in his NHL career and ranks third in games played amongst all players since 2003-04, behind only Joe Thornton (1,006) and Patrick Marleau (1,004). Since entering the NHL in 2003-04, he ranks second in shots on goal, seventh in goals, eighth in points, ninth in PPG, and 11th in assists amongst all active players.

"It was great. It was fun to be a part of that," Parise said. "Great milestone. In this League, it's not easy to do."


Loose pucks

• Minnesota's 48 shots on goal sets a franchise record for most shots tallied in a road game (previously 47 at Colorado on Dec. 21, 2002).

• Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin tallied the second assist on Granlund's goal, establishing a career high with 20 points (3-17=20) in 57 games this season. His previous high of 19 points came in 2013-14 (79 games).

• The Wild's four second-period goals mark the sixth time this season it has netted four-plus goals in a single period.

• Jets goaltender Michael Hutchinson made 12 third-period saves after taking over for Hellebuyck at the beginning of the frame.

• Dubnyk finished with 16 saves.

• Attendance: 15,294


He said it

"We were frustrated. We were mad at the way we started the game and the way we played. But at the same time, I think it was still that 'let's get one and see what happens' [mentality]. Then we got two and then you could just feel that we started to play a lot better and get chances, and I feel like we spent the whole second period in the offensive zone." -- Wild forward Zach Parise on the the message delivered after the first period


They said it

"I was happy with the way I played; I was really happy with the way the guys responded. We didn't have the second period we were looking for, but we were able to put that behind us, which is a huge step forward. We were able to battle and control most of the third period and that's what we aim to do." -- Jets goaltender Michael Hutchinson


Dan's three stars

* Josh Morrissey 

** Michael Hutchinson

*** Chris Stewart

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