Road reaction: Red Wings 5, Wild 4
For 40 minutes, Tuesday’s game at Detroit appeared it would go as so many of the Minnesota Wild’s games have gone lately.
Zach Parise wasn’t going to let Tuesday be like the others.
Minnesota was outshooting the Red Wings 22-13 but trailed 4-1. New Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk was pulled after allowing four goals on 10 shots and the goals could hardly be blamed on the new netminder. Detroit scored on a sizzling one-timer, once when Dubnyk was screened and twice on deflections.
Parise then scored twice in the third period as Minnesota erased a three-goal deficit to force overtime. The Wild also got a nifty goal from Thomas Vanek in earning a much-needed point before this weekend’s all-star break, but the Wild lost, 5-4, after a shootout.
Minnesota enters the all-star break with points in three of the last four games, with a 2-1-1 record.
1. Parise, F, Wild: Parise seemingly pulled the team along with him, with his non-stop effort. Perhaps saying he had seen enough, Parise took it upon himself and lifted Minnesota and showed again that he’s the heart and soul of the Wild.
He started the comeback on the power-play 6 minutes into the third period, scoring on a wide-open net. Parise’s game-tying goal was an individual effort, stealing an outlet pass and scoring his 19th goal of the season, which leads the team.
Parise — who has five goals and an assist in the past four games — had a game-high eight shots.
2. Gustav Nyquist, F, Red Wings: Nyquist ultimately made the difference for Detroit. His goal in the shootout clinched the victory and the extra point after Pavel Datsyuk had scored in the first round of the shootout, while Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu missed their two shootout chances.
Nyquist scored a power-play goal earlier, which he deflected from the side leaving Dubnyk little chance at a save, and added an assist, two shots and two blocked shots while playing on a line with Henrik Zetterberg, who had three assists, and Justin Abdelkader.
3. Darcy Kuemper, G, Wild: The plan was for Kuemper to wait through the all-star break for his return. Dubnyk started on back-to-back nights and made his fourth consecutive start since being acquired last week in a trade. Kuemper was activated off injured reserve on Monday and served as the backup, with the idea he possibly could go to the American Hockey League on a rehabilitation stint during the break.
Instead, head coach Mike Yeo made the move to Kuemper after four goals and Kuemper stopped all 14 shots he faced in regulation and overtime, helping Minnesota come from behind. He allowed goals on both attempts he faced in the shootout, but Tuesday was a strong return for a goaltender who had struggled before going on injured reserve.
Seen: Vanek’s goal-scoring touch. Vanek’s reputation was being a goal scorer when he signed with the Wild in the offseason. But he hasn’t had the touch for much of this season and has done more passing than shooting with Minnesota. His ninth goal of the season highlighted just what Vanek can do as a scorer.
Vanek picked up a loose puck near the side board and skated into the slot in traffic, controlling the puck and backhanding a puck high above Detroit goaltender Petr Mrazek.
Said: "Hopefully it can be something, but I don’t think we’re at that point where we should be leaving the rink happy with leaving with one point. I don’t think we should be content with the mediocrity of that. We got to win games. That’s the spot that we’re in." — Parise
Next: Some time off for the Wild before they return to action. Defenseman Ryan Suter is Minnesota’s lone representative at this weekend’s all-star game. The rest of the team will have five days off to rest and relax.
The Wild open the season’s stretch run on Jan. 27 at Edmonton, one of two teams beneath Minnesota in the Western Conference standings. The Oilers won two games in shootouts prior to the break. The Wild opens the unofficial second half of the season with three straight road games before hosting the Chicago Blackhawks on Feb. 3.
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