After a big statement win on Sunday night for the Wild, they were hoping the momentum could carry into the second game of the series Tuesday night. However, this was not the case as the Minnesota Wild were unable to control the firepower upfront for the Vancouver Canucks which led to a very disappointing affair.
The Wild knew they would need to stay composed, disciplined, and defensive-minded if they were going to take a commanding two-game lead in the series. Unfortunately, they veered off the road.
These teams are built differently and both need to stick to their game. The Canucks are a high-flying and dynamic offensive team. The Wild are a team that relies on all four lines and a strong defensive core. So, why change the game plan? The Wild looked sloppy and completely different than the team in game 1.
The story of the game was that the Wild were undisciplined, unable to control the Canucks top-6, and were not able to generate enough offensively on the power play like they did in game 1.
It took Tanner Pearson just 24 seconds into the contest to score, it was the Canucks first shot on net after the puck took an awkward bounce. His shot from the right circle went top shelf right over Alex Stalock’s glove for the opening tally. This was the fastest goal against the Wild in postseason history.
Zach Parise’s strong play near the defensive zone blue line gave the Wild possession that led to a quality scoring chance. The equalizer would come off Luke Kunin’s stick from the left circle which found its way past Jacob Markstrom. The cross-ice pass would result in Kunin’s first playoff goal in his career.
Early on, the Wild were outplayed and the Canucks had the edge. They were ready from the drop of the puck and had the Wild on their heals. A vastly unimpressive first period filled with numerous unnecessary penalties.
The game was tied after 60 minutes.
After puck drop to begin the second period, it was a matter of time before J.T. Miller would breakthrough giving the Canucks a 2-1 lead courtesy of Alex Galchenyuk who turned the puck over at the defensive blue line. Matt Dumba’s defensive positioning on the play was questionable. Miller’s patience would give him a free path to the net where he made no mistake of burying it into the top corner.
Almost halfway into the second period, Brock Boeser had a slam dunk goal and made it 3-1 with his first career playoff goal. He was parked near the blue paint which led to being in the right place at the right time.
Another period where the Wild struggled with entering the zone, creating quality chances and staying out of the box.
Canucks led 3-1
With minutes remaining, Kevin Fiala (who was described as a game-breaker by former general manager Paul Fenton) scores and makes it 4-2. His tantalizing shot when post and in and gave him his second goal of the series.
Just over two minutes later, with nine seconds left, Fiala scored his second of the campaign with a one-timer which was similar to his goal in game 1 and against the Anaheim Ducks in overtime back before the pause.
Brad Hunt shot at the net with seconds left in the attempt to tie the game, the puck fooled Jakob Markstrom and nearly went in.
Markstrom looked like the better goalie tonight despite the late-game pair of goals courtesy of Kevin Fiala.
The Canucks won the game 4-3. They were the dominant team through 60 minutes, similar to how the Wild outplayed the Canucks in game 1.
- The Wild were simply undisciplined tonight giving the Canucks seven powerplay chances. The Canucks were 4th this season on the man advantage with a conversion rate of just over 24 percent. The Wild need to stay out of the box in the upcoming games. As well as the lack of goal scoring in even-strength has to change.
- The Wild were able to control and limit the Canucks top-six from possessing the puck in game 1 but that was far from the truth in game 2. The Canucks are dependent on their top-six and it was evident when four scored a goal.
- The Wild had a fantastic time in game 1 on the powerplay, both goals Sunday were on the man advantage. The powerplay was not able to generate enough offensively to succeed. It felt like entering the zone was rocket science. The Wild went 0 for 6 and were unable to capitalize.
- One key aspect of having possession and generating offense is due to being able to win in the faceoff circle. The Wild have been horrendous in the playoff circle to this point. The Canucks have won just over 61 percent of the faceoffs that have taken place so far in this series.
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