The Minnesota Wild can forget about Game 1 in unusual environment

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 5: The Detroit Red Wings play the Minnesota Wild during the first period at Little Caesars Arena on October 5, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 5: The Detroit Red Wings play the Minnesota Wild during the first period at Little Caesars Arena on October 5, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images) /

After losing the first game of the season, Minnesota Wild fans’ emotions could get in the way of what reality holds for the remainder of the year.

The Minnesota Wild came up short in the Detroit Red Wings’ inaugural game at Little Caesars Arena, losing 4-2 after an unproductive third period. Yet, let’s just forget about this one and chalk it up to new stadium hype.

We may have thought the Minnesota Wild could march into Detroit’s fancy new arena, sending everyone home uneasy about the remainder of the season. And, at first, it seemed as if the Wild could indeed accomplish that feat.

In the first period, the Wild controlled possession of the puck. In fact, Minnesota seemed like the dominant team, and even goalie Devan Dubnyk made a spectacular save with an outstretched arm to keep the game scoreless at the end of the period. The momentum at this point felt like it was with Minnesota.

But, after two reviews that kept points off the board for Minnesota, a feeling of deflation began to sink in. Dubnyk was noticeably irritated about this turning point in the game, telling the media via the Wild’s official Twitter account:

"“It’s a disappointing way to start a hockey game when guys are working, doing exactly what we’ve been talking about; going hard to the net. You get two goals taken away from you; both of those could have counted. We’ve played so many games with this review, it seems to just come down to flipping a coin,” Dubnyk said."

In the second period, penalty trouble would sway to Detroit’s advantage with two power play goals in 23 seconds, the only scores of the period.

As the Wild came out on the ice down 2-0 in the third period, the new strategy drawn up by head coach David Boudreau was fresh in Wild players’ minds. In result, the Wild tacked on two goals by Chris Stewart and Joel Eriksson Ek in 43 seconds to tie the game at 2-2. Afterwards, there was a sense that everything would be alright.

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Unfortunately, the Red Wings were determined to get a win on opening night. Dubnyk made some great saves, but the amount of scoring chances given to the Red Wings kept increasing.

Consequently, Detroit scored a couple goals to make it 4-2 a little over halfway through the third and that’s where the score would stay. Even though the team was doomed with a couple minutes left in the final period, the Wild kept fighting.

For that, I’m giving the team an A for effort for relentlessly protecting the empty net in the last minute of play. Bodies were sacrificed, although a hooking penalty was called on Minnesota. Even so, the Wild players on the ice were not going to give up another goal.

Moving forward, It will be interesting to see how the Wild respond to this loss at Detroit. In the meantime, let’s forget about this one and blame it on the atmosphere of a new arena. The Wild looked too good in the first period to write them off just yet.

Speaking to reporters after the game via the Wild’s Twitter account, Dubnyk knows what his team is capable of as should we.

"“We got a ton of confidence in here with everybody, and we know we’re never out of a hockey game. That’s why this has always been an extremely fun group to play with and play for. We never give up, and we have a lot of guys that know how to go out there and make big plays.”"

Next: Minnesota Vikings Week 5 preview against the Chicago Bears

Next, the Wild play the Carolina Hurricanes, Eric Staal’s former squad. The game marks their home opener, so Minnesota needs to be ready for another electric crowd as they pursue their first win of the season.