Hockey is back and many fans are excited for some aggressive, passionate summer playoff hockey. Overall, the Wild and Canucks seemed the least sloppy of all the teams who haven’t played professionally in nearly four months.
Wild defensemen Matt Dumba gave an emotional speech during the Edmonton-Chicago game in the wake of George Floyd on Saturday August 1st. He has raised over $200,000 for rebuild Minnesota and is also the founder of the Hockey Diversity Alliance, did not kneel, but he did raise his fist during the national anthem on Sunday.
To Start The Night
Not even two minutes into the game, Marcus Foglino dropped the gloves, instigating a fight Michael Ferland. In another instance later on Sunday, with ten minutes left, there was an interference call after Luke Kunin grabbed Ferland’s stick. After grabbing his stick, stick, Ferland speared his stick into Ryan Hartman and the refs call the interference on the American winger. Talk about adding insult to injury. Ferland only got two minutes and the refs called it a slash, but this author thinks that Michael Ferland should have gotten a major.
Kevin Fiala got it going first, scoring a power play goal right off the draw in the first period, thus reassuring fans across the nation of his presence in the National Hockey League.
Stalock Saves The Day
Alex Stalock was solid this first game, not allowing any goals on 28 shots faced, leading Minnesota to a 3-0 victory and 1-0 on the NHL play-in series.
Nationally, Jared Spurgeon is one of the most underrated players in the league, but he proved everybody wrong with two goals, an assist and four shot blocks. He scored on the power play in the second period and ended his night with an empty net goal.
The Wild have done all the little things right from passing to hitting, all the way to something as small as the players positioning on the ice. The fourth line for Minnesota has been playing just as well as those skating on the first line.
To End The Night
24 seconds into the game’s final frame, Alex Stalock was slashed by the Canucks, this giving the Wild an opportunity on the power play. Minnesota didn’t end up scoring, but this created some momentum for the rest of it.
With about five minutes left, the lights at Rogers Place flickered, this forcing the refs to immediately stop play. Just after that, the Canucks were awarded their first power play after Mikko Koivu was called for interference. Minnesota then killed the penalty, forcing even strength with two minutes remaining.
After the Canucks returned to full strength, Jakob Markstrom made his way to the bench, this ultimately resulting in empty net hockey. This allowed Jared Spurgeon to score his second of the night on the empty net. Not only that, but he sent the puck down from the other end of the ice.
In the final seconds in Edmonton, Antoine Roussel shoved winger Ryan Hartman and received a ten minute misconduct with 30 seconds left. That would pretty much do it as the clock died down and the game siren sounded.
Minnesota returns to action at Rogers Place on Tuesday night with puck drop scheduled for 10:45pmET as they look to double up on the Vancouver Canucks. The game is available for viewing on Sportsnet Ontario, NHL.TV and Fox Sports North, meanwhile, it can be heard via radio on KFAN 100.3 FM.