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Wild wiped out in another special episode of Dallas

If there is a thread running through the Wild’s recent rivalry with the Dallas Stars, it’s the disparity in special teams success.

In the Stars’ six-game, first-round playoff series victory last spring, Dallas was 9 for 24 on power play opportunities while the Wild were 4 for 22. And in the teams’ first regular-season meeting this year, the Wild went to the box six times and gave up a team-record five power play goals — plus two shorthanded goals — in an 8-3 loss on Nov. 12.

So, what were the odds special teams would play a role in Monday’s night’s game between the Western Conference rivals at Xcel Energy Center?

“I thought that was the biggest difference in the game,” coach John Hynes said after the Wild’s 4-0 loss.

This is all new to Hynes, who wasn’t here for any of those previous seven games, but the song remains the same.

Roope Hintz and Radek Faksa scored shorthanded goals, and Jason Robertson iced it with a power play goal in the third period as Dallas won the first of consecutive games between the Central Division rivals.

Minnesota was 0 for 6 on the power play with seven total shots, none of which came during a 47 seconds of 5-on-3 in the first period. Asked what the problem was, Hynes said, “We didn’t want to shoot the puck.”

The Stars were 1 for 2 on their power play chances.

“We were just slow in our thought process and looking for a better play when the right play was to shoot the puck,” he added. “So, there’s things that I think are easily fixable.”

The teams play again Wednesday in a 6:30 puck drop at American Airlines Arena.

“I thought we did a good job of not taking penalties, and we give up two power play goals,” veteran Pat Maroon said. “You’re not going to win a hockey game (that way). I hate to break it to you, but it’s just a momentum killer to be honest, and it’s unfortunate because we did have a good first (period).”

The Wild had three full power plays, and half of a fourth in the first period, and outshot the Stars, 12-4. But Dallas took a 1-0 lead on Minnesota’s second power play when Tyler Seguin picked Brock Faber in the Wild corner and back-handed a pass to a charging Hintz, who scored on an open net at 9:16.

After Seguin scored a deflating even-strength goal for a 2-0 lead just 1:28 into the third period, Radek Faksa scored another shortie at 8:22.

“It’s extremely frustrating, obviously,” Faber said. “They had two shorthanded goals. It’s unacceptable against a rival; it’s unacceptable against any team in this league. You don’t win hockey games giving up two shorthanded goals, and one of those falls on my shoulders, obviously, and it’s frustrating.”

On the other end, Matt Murray, a rookie making his first start this season, outdueled future hall of famer Marc-Andre Fleury. With Jake Oettinger sidelined by a lower body injury since Dec. 15, the Stars recalled Murray last week and put him in net Monday for his fourth career start.

“Everything is great,” said Murray, 25, who played three games for the Stars last March. “Obviously, playing in the NHL is one thing; it’s every kid’s dream. But to be able to get a shutout is on a level of its own. I’m ecstatic.”

It was another big-picture blow for Minnesota, which has been playing better since Hynes became coach on Nov. 28 (12-8-0) but remains buried in the Western Conference standings — 13th overall, three points out of the eighth and final playoff spot but with five teams to jump.

Murray finished with 23 saves, only two of which came in the third period. Since being swept in back-to-back games by first-place Winnipeg Dec. 30-31, the Wild are 1-5-0. The win came Saturday in Columbus, a 4-3 overtime victory in which the Wild were trailing 3-2 in the last 2 minutes of regulation.

“We’re a better hockey team than what we’re showing right now,” Maroon said. “Even Columbus, we snuck two points out of that one. We’ve gotta find a way to string together (wins) here, just chip away at this thing, one game at a time, one shift at a time, one period at a time. Just find a way to find our game here.”

Fleury, stuck tied with Patrick Roy with 551 career wins, made 17 saves for the Wild, who are slowly getting their key players back from injury. They got Mats Zuccarello back from a nine-game injury absence for Saturday’s game at Columbus, and got Marcus Foligno back from a three-game absence on Wednesday.

“I really do think we just shot ourselves in the foot,” Faber said. “As a team, we weren’t good enough. Everyone kind of has to look inward after that one, especially myself. I’m obviously very frustrated with my game tonight. Again, we’re lucky that we have them in a couple of nights here.”