Dan Myers gives three takeaways from the Wild's 3-2 loss against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday night at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia:
1. It didn't take Minnesota long to get on the board.
Just 21 seconds into the game, a loose puck squirted free to Nino Niederreiter in front of the net. He worked it to his forehand and sniped a quick shot between Flyers goaltender Michal Neuvirth and the post for a 1-0 lead.
Eric Staal did a nice job getting the puck deep while Charlie Coyle was the first man in behind the net. It bounced off Coyle's stick, off the skate of a Flyers defenseman right to Niederreiter in front of the net.
Staal and Coyle each earned an assist on the play, continuing their strong performance from Thursday when the trio combined for three goals and four assists in a 4-2 win over the Penguins.
Video: MIN@PHI: Niederreiter tallies 20 seconds into game
"If you can score first shift, you're doing something right," Staal said. "But after that, I don't think we did enough. I thought they gave us a good push back and we spent a little bit too much time in our end, and I think we could've done a better job of winning some of those battles early in the first. Give them credit; they competed real hard and obviously capitalized on their power play opportunity in the third."
2. A heads-up play and a great backhand move by Mikko Koivu set up the Wild's second goal.
With the puck at neutral ice, Koivu guided it toward the offensive blueline. With Chris Stewart still in the zone, the puck crossed the blue line, but because Koivu wasn't in possession of it, the play remained onside. The moment Stewart reached the blueline, Koivu went in on his forehand, pulled it to his backhand and floated to the slot.
Mimicking his lethal shootout move, Koivu ripped a backhand shot that clanked the right post.
Fortunately for the Wild (7-5-1), the puck stayed in the crease long enough for Mikael Granlund to swoop in and clean up into the net.
Video: MIN@PHI: Granlund finishes Koivu's slick rush
After a challenge by the Flyers (7-7-2) and a quick video review, the play stood as called on the ice and Minnesota had a brief 2-1 lead.
"I was pretty sure that it was good [as soon as it happened]," Koivu said.
3. For the second consecutive season, the Wild were robbed at the horn by a Flyers goaltender.
Last year, it was Coyle who was stifled when Neuvirth made a lunging paddle save as the puck was near to crossing the goal line with two seconds remaining.
Saturday, it was Steve Mason -- who had entered in the second period for an injured Neuvirth -- who robbed Staal in the final moments. Coyle's slick backhand pass from the corner hit Staal alone in front, but he couldn't get the puck past Mason, who made a desperation sprawling save to preserve the victory.
"I felt like I got all of it. He made a great save," Staal said. "If it was probably a couple inches more to the far side, it would've snuck underneath his leg. But he made a desperation jump across and made a great save on me."
Coincidentally, the 3-2 loss Saturday was the same score as last season's game, as well.
• The game was the 200th of Erik Haula's NHL career.
• Staal's assist moments into the game gave him nine points in his past eight games.
• Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk made 33 saves and allowed more than two goals for the first time in eight starts.
• Mason finished with 19 saves over the final two periods.
He Said It
"You know what, it was a great first shift. I mean, after that, we didn't get the puck out of our end for the first period because we didn't win a battle." -- Wild coach Bruce Boudreau
They Said It
"We knew we had to bounce back. It was really, really disappointing the third period last night. Came back tonight, we did 60 minutes. We played it together. We liked our effort and now we need to carry that momentum in the next game." -- Flyers defenseman Michael Del Zotto
Dan's Three Stars
* Wayne Simmonds
** Nino Niederreiter
*** Brayden Schenn