The name of the game for the Minnesota Wild against the Montreal Canadiens was “special teams.” For a team that was playing 11 forwards and six defensemen, they didn’t show any sign of fatigue. After starting the two-game Canadian road trip with an acceptable 21 players, they lost both Matt Boldy and Alex Goligoski before the game in Montreal. This was after Jared Spurgeon was already injured in the pre-season. But the Wild still managed to dominate most of the night, coming away with a 5-2 win. The Wild came away with 34 shots on goal, while the Canadiens had 25 shots.
Two Short-Handed Goals for Two Deweys
The Wild were on a penalty kill when Ryan Hartman was called for a two-minute tripping minor during the first period. Fans would never know they were shorthanded by the way they played, though. Jake Middleton managed a nice poke check at the blue line to get the puck into the neutral zone. Brandon Duhaime picked up the puck and took it up the side while Joel Eriksson Ek streaked up the middle. Duhaime never even looked at Ek, however, and patiently waited until he had a clear lane to shoot it past goalie Sam Montembeault.
Twenty-five seconds later, Connor Dewar put another short-handed goal in the net. This time, Duhaime brings it up the ice and shoots, but it’s Dewar who scores on the rebound. Both of the only two goals scored in the first period were short-handed. If Duhaime had been credited with an assist on the Dewar short-handed goal, he would have managed a Gordie Howe hat trick on the night.
The Power Play Was Also Working…Sometimes
The three power-play goals of the night for the Minnesota Wild had two scorers. It seems like the power play may be back to where it was at the beginning of last year. Despite the absence of Spurgeon and Boldy, the power play was successful.
Joel Eriksson Ek scored two of the power play goals from his spot right in front of the paint. Kirill Kaprizov scored the other power-play goal from the left circle. Kaprizov usually has a slow start to the season, but he scored his first goal tonight and came away with 3 points on the night. The Wild went 3/8 for the power play, which is a great way to show that the power play might be back on track.
Fleury Puts On a Show For the Hometown
Marc-Andre Fleury may have played his last game in Montreal. But if he did, he made sure to put on a show for the crowd. There were plenty of windmill saves, and after everyone, a smile from the goalie. He even received a standing ovation as he exited the ice.
During the third period, there was even a save so impressive that the hometown fans cheered for the opposing goalie. A nice two-pad stack with a barrel roll to finish it off made the crowd go wild. It was classic Fleury, who put on a good show for his hometown crowd.
Eriksson Ek Scores Goals and Gets Penalized for Nothing
Minnesota fans know that Eriksson Ek is always the scapegoat. He’s the player getting shoved around and facewashed. Somehow, he takes all of the adversity with a grain of salt, funneling his frustration into scoring goals. But during the third period, the refs were tired of all of the pushing and shoving and started really cracking down.
That means that Ek was penalized for a small shove when Cole Caufield decided to hit Fleury after the whistle. It was all well and fine until Josh Anderson took exception and went after Eriksson Ek. Once Ek fought back against the face punches he was receiving, the refs called a 10-minute misconduct on both of them. At least Ek had already scored two goals before he was forced to leave.
Hilariously enough, Ek was inadvertently punched in the face by a ref earlier in the night as the officials tried to break up a scrum.
Ending the Game with 15 Players
During the third period, both Eriksson Ek and Dakota Mermis were tossed out of the game with 10-minute misconducts. Mermis, tired of Michael Pezzetta menacing everyone physically, dropped the mitts after Pezzetta hit Jon Merrill. Eriksson Ek was simply defending himself but was tossed out of the game regardless.
That means that the Wild were down to 15 players. Thankfully, there were less than six minutes left in the game. The Wild kept rolling lines as best as they could and managed to make it through the end of the game without being too discombobulated.
Coming Up Next
The Wild are back in action on Thursday, starting a three-game homestand. They will face the Los Angeles Kings and former teammate Kevin Fiala on Thursday, 10/19. On Saturday, 10/21, they face the Columbus Blue Jackets at the Xcel Energy Center. They’ll also face the Edmonton Oilers on 10/24 before heading on their next road trip.