Three takeaways from the Wild's 4-1 preseason loss Thursday at Winnipeg.
1.The Wild had a bounce in its step early.
From the time Pearl Jam's "State of Love and Trust" began playing over the MTS Centre sound system during warmups, Minnesota (1-2 this preseason) exuded an energy that paid immediate dividends.The Wild spent most of the first period in the Jets zone and outshot them 10-1 in the opening 15 minutes. It didn't get rewarded until 52 seconds into the second period, when Matt Dumba's power play slap shot found the back of the net for a 1-0 lead. Winnipeg's Mathieu Perreault tied it on the power play -- shortly after assisting on Dumba's goal, Mike Reilly was sent to the box for contact to the head -- less than 3 minutes later.
"I thought the first period was really good," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "We held a team at home to one shot until the 17-minute mark of the first period. I thought we played with a lot of energy. Sometimes, when you've got a lot of young guys, if you can keep the lead a little longer, then the will comes in and they win. But when we lost the lead, I could see the energy leaving them a little bit."
2. Dumba is oozing confidence coming off his first full NHL season.
There's always been a certain swagger to the 22-year-old defenseman from Regina, Saskatchewan. But he's carrying himself with even more moxie this training camp knowing he's likely assured of an opening-day roster spot. His hard slap shot in the first and 20:45 of ice time were the latest illustrations.
"I've felt really confident here through camp," Dumba said. "It's a little bit of everything. It's now my fourth camp. I'm feeling more confident. I played some good hockey over the last couple years … and I feel like I can take [another] stride this year."
Video: Dumba beats Hellebuyck down low
Dumba played in 81 regular-season and six playoff games last year, amassing 28 points.
3. It can take a goalie some time to find a groove.
After stopping 26 of 29 shots faced in Tuesday's loss to Colorado, Wild starting goaltender Devan Dubnyk spoke of the need to shake off the "strangeness" of the offseason. Darcy Kuemper is in the midst of a similar readjustment process after allowing four goals on 28 shots faced in his preseason debut Thursday.
"You can take all the shots you want in practice, but then you get into a game situation, you're looking in and around bodies and there's traffic," Kuemper said. "It's hard to get that without playing an actual game. That first one's nice to get out of the way. It gives you something to build off of. It comes back quick."
Rookie Kyle Connor's eventual game-winner at 15:00 of the second was primarily the result of nifty tic-tac-toe passing and plenty of space in front of Kuemper. In the third, Nikolaj Ehlers beat Kuemper on a nifty wraparound and Andrew Copp tipped in a slap shot from the point.
After falling 3-0 to Calgary on Tuesday, Winnipeg evened up its preseason record at 1-1. The Jets visit Minnesota on Oct. 8.
- Team Europe fell to Canada in Game 2 of the best-of-3 World Cup of Hockey 2016 finals Thursday, which means winger Nino Niederreiter is headed back to Minnesota. The Swiss star is expected to join the Wild immediately.
- Defenseman Marco Scandella was a late scratch from the lineup. Zach Palmquist took his place and played 14:11 and was a minus-2. Scandella has "a small tweak somewhere," but the coach added it's nothing major.
- Ehlers' wraparound goal at 5:12 of the third gave Winnipeg a 3-1 advantage. Ehlers had four points in five games against the Wild last season.
- Minnesota left winger Kurtis Gabriel was ejected with 6:54 remaining after a hard check on Ehlers and ensuing dust-up. Gabriel received a minor for roughing and a 5-minute major and game misconduct for boarding. That gave the Wild a chance to work on a penalty kill that's already shown promise this preseason, and it kept Winnipeg off the board.