Dan Myers gives three takeaways from the Wild's 3-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues in the season opener Thursday at Scottrade Center:
1. Ryan Suter isn't known for his offensive game, but flashed a goal-scorer's touch in the second period.
With the Blues leading 1-0 and the Wild struggling to generate offense, Suter took matters into his own hands, forechecking Vladimir Tarasenko and Kevin Shattenkirk into a turnover just inside their own blue line. Suter gathered in the puck and went in alone on Blues goaltender Jake Allen, getting stuffed on the first try but burying his own rebound to tie the game at 1-1.
"No, probably not, first man on the forecheck," Suter said when asked if he had ever scored a goal like that. "That's my guy, so I was just gapping up on him. Got a stick on it and was able to get it at the net."
It was a good start to the season for Suter, who tied a career high with eight goals and established a new career best with 51 points last season.
2. Minnesota struggled to capitalize on its best opportunities, failing to score on three separate breakaway chances in the game.
The Wild's first shot on goal of the night came via a Jason Zucker short-handed break in the first period that Allen was able to get his left pad on.
In the second, Zach Parise sprang Eric Staal for a chance but Jay Bouwmeester was able to disrupt Staal just enough to alter the Staal shot that Allen stopped with his left pad.
A few minutes later, Parise got a chance of his own, but Allen again came up with the stop.
"It would have been nice to cash in one of them; it would have been nice to have a penalty shot on a couple of them," said Wild coach Bruce Boudreau. "But it didn't happen [for us] either. That's what usually happens, a team gets outplayed and then they come back. I thought for sure we were going to tie it up because for sure, that's the way it works."
3. Devan Dubnyk kept the Wild in the game with a couple of fantastic saves, including a trio of chances from point-blank range in the second period.
Moments after Suter tied the game, Dubnyk got a piece of a shot by Nail Yakupov after the winger got hold of a loose puck off the draw. Later in the period, Dubnyk went to his right post-to-post to deny Robby Fabbri with the right pad as a power play expired. With less than two minutes left in the frame, Dubnyk slid the opposite direction, getting enough of a Tarasenko laser with his glove to keep the puck out of the net.
Minnesota trailed 2-1 through 40 minutes but it could have been much worse if not for the three brilliant saves by Dubnyk to keep the Wild within striking distance.
"First game of the season, they had a game under their belt and we knew they were going to come with a push," Dubnyk said. "We weathered it at the start, but I think we'd all agree that we have a lot more to give."
• Dubnyk, who finished with 28 saves, skated in his 299th career NHL game.
• Charlie Coyle also scored for the Wild, getting Minnesota to within a goal with just over six minutes remaining in regulation. It came off a nifty centering feed from buddy Jason Zucker with Zac Dalpe also assisting.
• Allen, starting for the second time in as many nights, made 19 saves to improve to 2-0-0 on the young season.
He Said It
"The whole game, we couldn't get up to speed. They were humming and we couldn't catch up. We had periods where we would match their speed and intensity, but for the most part, we were just ... we would have one guy going and the second guy couldn't get to the puck, and it seemed like we were always late arriving on the puck. A team like that, you gotta be checking on all cylinders if you want to have success." -- Suter on Minnesota's effort in its season opener
They Said It
"It's good, but that's all it is; it's a start. We wanted to come out of the gates quick and we have." -- Blues forward Alexander Steen on St. Louis winning back-to-back games to start the season.
Dan's Three Stars
* Ryan Suter
** Charlie Coyle
*** Jason Zucker