Skip to main content
The Official Site of the Minnesota Wild

Postgame Hat Trick: Wild 2, Lightning 1 (SO)

Mikko Koivu's shootout winner the difference for Minnesota

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers / Wild.com

Wild.com's Dan Myers gives three takeaways from the Wild's 2-1 shootout victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul on Friday night:

1. For the second time in as many games, 60 minutes was not enough to decide a winner. 

Neither team could score in a thrilling 3-on-3 overtime, either, a period that was spent mostly in Minnesota's offensive end. 

Perhaps it was fitting that only one player scored in the shootout, as Mikko Koivu's Forehand-Backhand Roof© was the only shot to tickle the twine.

"He's had a history of being really good at [the shootout]," said Wild coach Bruce Boudreau. "I had his brother Saku [in Anaheim] who was really good at it. They can make moves where they put their stick out so far and then they can draw it back in. It's a pretty good art form." 

Video: TBL@MIN: Koivu's slick move freezes Vasilevskiy

For Koivu, one of the NHL's best in the shootout, it was his 17th career game-deciding goal in the extra bonus session, and he improved to 41 of 98 all-time in the shootout. A good portion of those goals have come using the same forehand-backhand maneuver he used on Friday.

"It's like a guy with a 100 mile-per-hour fastball. I'm throwing a fastball and they know it's coming and it's still hard to hit," Boudreau said. "It's the same thing because there's going to be that one time where he's got it out there and he shoots it. So you've got to play it. It's good." 

2. From the opening puck drop, Friday's game felt like one where goals would be at a premium.

In the early moments, it was Devan Dubnyk who stood tall, helping the Wild weather an early push by the Lightning. 

After that, Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy stood on his head, stopping Jason Pominville, then Erik Haula before moving across his crease to close the angle on a Jared Spurgeon tip-in try. Vasilevskiy stopped all 11 shots he faced in the first period and eight of nine in the second as the teams skated to a 1-1 tie through 40 minutes. 

"He's been terrific for us lately and all season. He's an All-Star goalie for a reason," said Wild forward Nino Niederreiter. "For us in front, we know we can count on him and we've just got to find a way to score the goals and that's what we did tonight."

The only puck to defy Dubnyk through two periods came on a shot from the left half wall that was deflected at the last moment on its way to the net by Brayden Point, changing directions and slipping through his five-hole.

"I don't change my approach. I think maybe when I was younger, you'd start to worry that he makes 10 saves and you let one in. But I know. I've played a lot of games, and I know that what he does at the other end - or the shots he faces - will be completely different than the scenarios at my end," Dubnyk said. "So I just need to stay sharp and understand I don't want to give up any soft ones. I just have to worry about my end."

As good as Vasilevskiy was in the first period, Dubnyk matched him in the third, as Tampa Bay (24-24-7) carried a good chunk of the zone play for much of the final frame. 

Video: TBL@MIN: Dubnyk denies multiple attempts in front

In all, Dubnyk finished with 26 saves while Vasilevskiy stopped 37 shots.

3. For the first time since the All-Star break, the Wild (36-12-6) scored a power-play goal to get on the board in the second period.

Video: TBL@MIN: Niederreiter slides puck five-hole for PPG

With 11 seconds remaining in its second man advantage of the night, Niederreiter flipped a rebound past Vasilevskiy at 14:31 to give the Wild a 1-0 lead.

"It's definitely big. Power play and special teams is definitely key in the playoffs, to be successful there, and it's a matter of winning and losing," Niederreiter said. "I feel like it's good that we bounced back and got a goal there and killed a couple off, so that's an important thing to be sharp in all those areas."

For Niederreiter, it was his team-leading 18th goal of the season and team-leading seventh power-play goal. The Swiss winger now has three goals and two assists over his past three games.

For the Wild, it snapped a five-plus game man advantage goal drought and was its first power-play goal since Jan. 26. Minnesota, which went 0 for 8 during that stretch and failed to convert its first power play on Friday, began the night 13th in the NHL in power-play percentage (20.3 percent).

"You know what, our special teams pretty well won us the game tonight, other than the shootout. We scored one and stopped them for two," Boudreau said. "That hasn't happened an awful lot late. When we need it, it has to be there. We have to be able to count on it."

Video: Bruce Boudreau Postgame vs. Tampa Bay


Loose pucks

Mikael Granlund led the Wild with seven shots on goal and had one assist. He has now established new career highs in goals (15), assists (34) and points (49) this season.  

• Minnesota is now 19 for 69 on the power play at home this season, converting 27.5 percent of its opportunities here.

• Pominville had an assist and now has at least one point in 14 of the past 17 games, scoring five goals and adding 14 assists during that stretch. His 15 points since Jan. 19 are the most in the NHL over that span.

• Dubnyk assumed the NHL lead with 30 victories this season.

• Attendance: 19,178


He said it

"I think that it was just one of those weird ones where you see two high-scoring teams play and you think it's going to be a shootout. A lot of times those end up in the tight ... everyone is focusing so much on [defense] and not turning the puck over. A lot of times, those end up in the one-goal, 2-1 games and that's what tonight was. It was a lot of work to find space on the ice." -- Wild forward Zach Parise


They said it

"That was an even game against a really, really strong team in this League and the guys know that they can play with anybody. We've got to keep munching points. It's unfortunate we didn't win the game, but we got one out of it and we can get more tomorrow and head into the break in a good spot." -- Lightning coach Jon Cooper


Three stars

* Devan Dubnyk

** Andrei Vasilevskiy

*** Zach Parise

View More