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Wild Comeback Falls Short

August 5, 2020, 10:40 AM ET [3 Comments]
Dan Wallace
Minnesota Wild Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Vancouver came out early with the push everyone expected and delivered the first punch when Tanner Pearson beat Alex Stalock over the glove hand just 24 seconds into the tilt. The Wild responded well with some attack zone time of their own and drew the game's first two powerplays however they could not capitalize on either one.

Luke Kunin got the Wild even with his first ever NHL playoff goal, shorthanded on a nice feed from Zach Parise off a great outlet pass from Ryan Suter. That seemed to energize the Wild as the headed to the locker room knotted at a goal apiece.

Vancouver took control of the game in the second period with two goals that were the direct result of getting traffic to the net. JT Miller and Brock Boeser each getting on the board giving the Canucks their first multiple goal lead of the series eight and a half minutes into the middle frame.

Vancouver was much better at getting bodies in front of Stalock in game 2 than they were in game 1 and the results were evident as thee of their four goals were the direct result of tips, screens, or both.

The Wild penalty kill was very good all night but could not keep the vaunted Canuck powerplay off the board as in the third period they took back to back minors resulting in the eventual game winner. Bo Horvat redirected Quinn Hughes's point shot past Stalock giving the Canucks a 4-1 lead at the time.

Minnesota showed great character as they mounted a charge but could not solve Jacob Markstrom who was strong all night, despite back to back man advantage opportunities of their own.

Kevin Fiala gave them a glimmer of hope with two and half minutes remaining when he snapped a quick wrister past Markstrom. Fiala notched his second of the game with just over eight seconds remaining and Stalock pulled for the extra attacker. Brad Hunt fired a long shot at the buzzer which handcuffed Markstrom a bit but he was able to steer it aside and preserve the Canuck victory knotting the series at a game apiece.

Momentum is a huge factor in hockey and it can come and go like the wind. Those late goals and surge by the Wild can only serve them well as they head into the pivotal game three tomorrow afternoon. They know they can score and if they clean up their game they have every bit of a good chance to win this series.

Dean Evason has some decisions to make as well. Does he juggle his lines does he try to find a few more minutes for Kevin Fiala? How does he get Mats Zuccarello and Alex Galchenyuk going? Ryan Donato had a rough game as well. What is the status of Ryan Hartman as he left the game late with an apparent upper body injury after he got tangled up and fell awkwardly appearing to hit the ice with the crown of his helmet first.

This series has the makings of one that will go the distance as many had expected. Game three is huge and the Wild will be ready. A lot to chew on from last night and some positives for the Eild to take with them into tomorrow's game.
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