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Wild loses momentum, can't recapture it in loss to Stars

Dallas scores five times in stunning third-period defeat for Minnesota

by Dan Myers @mnwildscribe / Wild.com

DALLAS -- Momentum doesn't show up in a boxscore, or reveal itself on a scoreboard, but it's a very real thing in professional sports. 

Look no further than the Wild's 6-3 loss to the Dallas Stars on Tuesday night at American Airlines Center.

For the better part of 35 minutes, Minnesota dominated play and skated through and around a Stars team that couldn't have looked, with all due respect, any less interested in being there.

First-period goals by Jason Zucker and Eric Staal, and one later in the second by Ryan Suter had given the Wild a 3-0 lead with just over 25 minutes to play.

It appeared the Wild would pack up and head north for St. Louis with a win onboard a happy airplane. 

But momentum is a goofy thing.

Alexander Radulov scored in the final minute of the second period, cutting the Wild's lead, but Minnesota was still in a strong position. Dallas was frustrated most of the game and had struggled to score for much of the first month of the season.

But one shot of adrenaline was all Dallas needed to get up to speed, and once it was going, there was little the Wild could do to slow it down. 

"It was like a runaway train," Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said succinctly. 

Tweet from @mnwild: Hear from Bruce Boudreau after tonight���s game in Dallas.#MINvsDAL pic.twitter.com/GrhU3kIYVK

"We just sat back. I don't think we pressured," Zucker said. "We just chipped the puck and they changed and came full speed at us again and they would be in the zone for a minute and we would chip it and change. It was a cycle. That's it."

Dallas used the momentum from Radulov's buzzer beater to score five more times in the third period in what might be the most demoralizing loss yet for the Wild. 

Demoralizing because for 35 minutes, the Wild looked like world beaters. 

All of the hockey cliches applied in this one: It got pucks deep, it made the simple plays, it connected on tape-to-tape passes, it forechecked, it created turnovers. 

And it was rewarded with a three-goal lead. 

Even more than Radulov's goal that got Dallas on the board, Boudreau felt the Wild began to sag after Suter's power-play tally made it 3-zip. 

The next shift was all Dallas, and for the first time all night, the Stars brought a consistent pressure. And for four minutes, the Wild was able to weather that pressure.

But momentum is a goofy thing.

"Momentum is real. Momentum in games is huge. We had all of it and then they chipped it," Staal said. "I don't know what the answer is as to why, but we gotta figure that out because it obviously snowballed."

Tweet from @mnwild: Hear from Suter, Staal and Zucker after tonight's game against the Stars#MINvsDAL pic.twitter.com/FypFklgYVP

With things spiraling in the third period and the game tied, Boudreau used his timeout in an effort to try and calm the waters. He didn't yell, rather, he went down the bench and tried to calm any nerves. The game was still up for grabs at that point, and the hope was that a quick breather would get his bench back to normal.

But it was too late to stymie the momentum Dallas had built. 

The Stars continued to push until the Wild could no longer hold them off.

"We go right out there, make a bad play, take a penalty, make a bad play, don't get it deep from a guy that has played great for us, but there was no reason to try and carry it over the blue line. And then they just had the adrenaline, the crowd and everything else," Boudreau said. "The first period and three quarters, we worked harder and we were getting opportunities and that was it. But once the pendulum turned, they started going to the net and everything we touched was going wrong."


Related:

Postgame Hat Trick: Stars 6, Wild 3

Video: MIN Recap: Staal, Zucker score in loss to Stars

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