Wild Look to Turn Road-Trip Around After Win in Montréal

The Minnesota Wild’s game against the Montréal Canadiens on Tuesday, Oct. 26 followed the same up-and-down pattern as most of their games this season, but this time they started with the lead. However, it wouldn’t be a Wild game without them giving up the lead, the difference in this one was they held onto it a tad longer than they normally do. The Wild got an early goal in the first and kept it until the beginning of the second when the Canadiens found a way back.

The Wild didn’t lose their step this time around and stole the lead back 10 minutes later and kept it for the rest of the game. They were even able to extend it in the final minute with an empty net goal to secure their second win of the season 3-1. Their game still isn’t where they want it to be, but they made a big step by taking down the Canadiens in Montréal.

Wild’s Gritty Players Steal the Show

After being pretty beat up to start the season, Joel Eriksson Ek is finally getting some rewards after finding the back of the net not once but twice in their win. He’s up to four goals on the season and five points in six games, plus he leads the team in shots on goal with 24. He’s really stepped up this season and with Jordan Greenway out again with an injury, he’s been relied on a lot more and hasn’t disappointed.

Another player that hasn’t failed to entertain is Brandon Duhaime who secured the Wild’s second lead of the night after the Canadiens had tied things up at one apiece. His go-ahead goal was the motivation they needed to keep their lead until the end. His goal wasn’t his only point of the game either, he assisted on Eriksson Ek’s first goal to get things started for his second point of the night and first multi-point game of the season.

Brandon Duhaime Minnesota Wild
Brandon Duhaime, Minnesota Wild (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Eriksson Ek is a great center and is really starting to fulfill his role on the team. While he’s not the first-line center, he’s able to play with many different linemates and make it work. In his time on the “GREEF” line he’s proven he can score goals and be physical as well, and it’ll be great when that line is finally together again for more than 20 minutes.

Wild Need More Discipline

Once again the Wild nearly lost a game because of too many trips to the penalty box. They had six in total but a few of those were coincidental minors where the Canadiens were penalized as well. The Wild were lucky enough to find their offense and climb out of this game with a win but if they keep taking penalties that won’t continue to happen. There was also a rare penalty shot thrown in there that thankfully goaltender Marc-André Fleury was able to stop and keep them in the lead.

Related: Wild See Positives From Calen Addison in Otherwise Rough Week

Despite the Wild taking a lot of penalties so far in this short season, they were able to offset that by getting goals while on the power play. They had a five-game scoring streak that was brought to an abrupt halt thanks to the Canadiens’ penalty kill, but lucky for the Wild their own stayed strong as well. Having said that, they need to be more disciplined as the season moves on and stop taking unnecessary penalties.

Wild’s Line Changes Work

After the Wild’s loss to the Boston Bruins on Saturday, Oct. 22, everyone knew something had to change to try and ignite this team. That change happened to be switching up the lines from top to bottom. Frédérick Gaudreau was moved to the top center spot between Kirill Kaprizov and Mats Zuccarello while Ryan Hartman was slid down to the third line with Eriksson Ek and Duhaime. That’s right, even what was left of the “GREEF” line wasn’t safe from being split up, as Eriksson Ek remained but Marcus Foligno was moved up to the second line with Matt Boldy and Marco Rossi.

Marco Rossi Minnesota Wild
Marco Rossi, Minnesota Wild (Photo by M. Anthony Nesmith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Those changes paid off, especially for Eriksson Ek and Duhaime who found their scoring strides, and while Boldy and Rossi didn’t score they did play very well together and had many chances. With how well Rossi played, he should be receiving more and more ice time and hopefully, he’ll get that first goal very soon.

Wild Continue Road Trip

The Wild are in the midst of their first road trip of the season and their next opponent will be the Ottawa Senators who stole away goaltender Cam Talbot during the offseason and sent Filip Gustavsson to the Wild. The Senators will be a tough opponent for the Wild and they’ll have to play better than they did against the Canadiens to get past them, as the Senators currently have a record of 4-2-0.

The Senators are also currently on a four-game win streak that included wins over the Dallas Stars, Washington Capitals, Boston Bruins, and Arizona Coyotes. Lucky for the Wild, Talbot won’t be in the net due to an injury at the beginning of October that has forced him to miss 5-7 weeks. Instead, they’ll have to find a way past Anton Forsberg or Magnus Hellberg and hopefully, Duhaime can do that with his recent scoring prowess.

The Wild’s defense will have a big task of their own trying to stop Brady Tkachuk, Drake Batherson, Shane Pinto, Tyler Motte, Alex DeBrincat, and Tim Stützle, all players who’ve put up some big points so far this season. The Senators are a team that has snuck up on everyone and been a big surprise, hopefully, the Wild can tame them enough to get their third win of the season and continue to move this road trip in the right direction.

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