Ryan Suter left game three early on Wednesday exiting the ice as the third period began. He also didn’t take part in practice and was not on the roster for game four.
In game four, I truly saw the passion that was not seen against Vancouver in game three. The Canucks seemed to have their foot off the throttle a little bit, making for a fast start in Edmonton.
Luke Kunin scored a goal almost immediately after the power play. Tanner Pearson beats Alex stalock who is way outside the goal crease.
90 seconds later, Eric Staal scored a beauty on the inside shoulder of Jakob Markstrom. Shortly after Minnesota was handed the power play, the Wild would go back on the power play, however, would fail to get anything going.
Late in the game’s first period, there was a scuffle for the puck near Markstrom’s net, but Minnesota was not able to capitalize. Head coach Dean Evason said he wanted more battles around the net and I certainly saw that in the first period.
Kevin Fiala absolutely nailed a 50-foot saucer pass to Carson Soucy that made me stand up and then collapse after he missed the net, just going wide.
Minnesota’s third goal came from Joel Eriksson Ek after Zach Parise whiffed on a shot. Ek picked up the puck, went gliding to the right, and as they say in hockey, “knocks the peanut butter off the top shelf.”
Just a few minutes afterwards, the puck that went airborne in front of the Wild net that Alex Stalock lost amid a pile of traffic. However, before he knew it, he would find the puck in the back of the net.
Matt Dumba was then sent to the penalty box, being called for high sticking, putting Vancouver on the power play. This saw Quinn Hughes, from the point, nail a slap-shot that rang off the goal post. This just goes to show that there’s no such thing as insurance in the NHL.
Three minutes before the end of the period, Antoine Rousell was called for a tripping penalty which allowed Minnesota to go back on the power play. But just a few seconds later, Niko Sturm, who was an incredible player in the AHL, scored his first goal in the NHL. He did so after squeaking the puck behind Jakob Markstrom on the net’s right side.
At the very end of the second, Brock Boeser was handed a penalty which would continue into the third. The penalty was quickly taken away after Jared Spurgeon was called for hooking. This was a good penalty to take given that it saved Minnesota a goal. The Wild then killed a Vancouver power play.
With 10 minutes left the wild go on the power play and less than a minute later we see a four on four for a minute and fifteen seconds. After that, we saw Vancouver on the power play which lasted all of 45 seconds. Wild announcer Anthony LaPantha stated that Vancouver was second best in power play goals through the regular season, so that calmed my nerves. Minnesota then killed off the power play.
With 5:45 left in the game, the Minnesota defence starting falling apart. This then paved the way for Bo Horvat to score on the left side of Stalock.
Tied at four after sixty minutes and on to overtime we go in Edmonton. Entering the extra frame with speed, Chris Tanev took just eleven seconds to put the game away for the Canucks. He did so with J.T Miller by the net as the winger was blocking the sight line of Alex Stalock.
Going forward, this may be Mikko Koivu’s final game, but only he knows and only time will tell. During the postgame media scrums, all Wild players spoke with heavy hearts as it can’t be easy to gather your thoughts with the local media after a game like that.
One player I thought did great in game four was Wild right-winger Ryan Hartman. He did all the little things right, whether it was being in the right place to clear the puck or block shots or just solid passing to keep his team afloat. Hartman should be an important piece in the hockey club’s puzzle for many years to come ahead.