There were many key moments that defined the Minnesota Wild's 2015-16 season. Wild.com will take a look at some of the most important.
Sunday, February 21, 2016 — As snow began to fall midway through the first period, it was hard to believe NBC wasn’t artificially manufacturing the weather.
Between the wintery backdrop and a quick 2-0 Minnesota Wild lead, it was a picturesque start to a storybook Stadium Series weekend that culminated in the Wild defeating the Chicago Blackhawks, 6-1.
Considering it was the first outdoor game in the history of the Wild franchise, there weren’t too many moments of the weekend that fell short of being absolutely perfect: from the Alumni Game on Saturday, which saw Wild and North Stars of years past defeat a team of former Blackhawks, to the snowy backdrop at TCF Bank Stadium for Sunday’s marquee event, to the Wild cruising to a victory over one of its biggest rivals.
It was the third Minnesota-Chicago matchup of the season, and the Wild took the first two: one in Minnesota, and one at United Center, both indoors.
A curiosity began to grow, created by the Wild’s early season success against the Blackhawks. Would the confines of a football stadium, or the stage, be too big a hurdle to leap? Or were the first two victories, each one-goal games, an aberration?
Two hundred and five seconds after the opening faceoff, Matt Dumba had an answer to those questions:
What It Looked Like
What Was Written
From the recap: Dumba scored his fourth goal in nine games off a rebound in the crease at 3:25 to give Minnesota a 1-0 lead. Carter broke in on Crawford and had two attempts stopped before Dumba scored on the rebound.
The 21-year-old defenseman delivered a hard, clean hit on Andrew Desjardins on his next shift that ignited a skirmish in front of the Blackhawks bench. Chicago forward Phillip Danault skated over and bumped into Dumba and the two toppled to the ice.
"The whole day was an adrenaline shot for me; it was right when I woke up in the morning," Dumba said. "I was so excited to play, get on that ice and being able to direct my focus and put it toward having a solid game. When I scored, I did black out for a moment. It was awesome."
From Five Takeaways: Matt Dumba, who asked a Wild equipment manager to "give him the Ray Lewis" when applying his eye black.
On the ice, Dumba leveled a check that looked more like a form-tackle that drew a Wild power play that led to Vanek's goal. Earlier, Dumba opened the scoring, and in the first 20 minutes, was a major spark-plug for Minnesota.
"I was excited all day," Dumba said. "Right when I got on the ice, I had this energy, and I just wanted to use it the right way."
Dumba skated 5:14 in the first period, while also spending two minutes in the penalty box. He had two individual shot-attempts, one of which was good for the first goal ever scored in an outdoor NHL game in this history of the State of Hockey.
"We get a big goal from [Dumba]," Dubnyk said. "He goes and throws a big hit, and draws a penalty, and we go from there."
The goal was created by Dumba following up on a play, hustling down ice and not over-skating the crease. Instead, Dumba stopped on a dime in time to cash in on a Ryan Carter rebound.
"You're never going to get another opportunity like this," Dumba said. "It's a really special game, and we're so fortunate that we could go out and perform the way we did."
How It Sounded
The final call
What Was Tweeted
More Sights And Sounds: