On Tuesday night, the Minnesota Wild had a short memory and bounced back quickly with a win over the Vancouver Canucks. Following their loss to the Nashville Predators on Sunday evening, it was clear they had some things to fix. They didn’t eliminate the problems, but they made strong steps in the right direction.
Along with the win, the Wild also had a player make their season debut after watching the first five games. That player was Rem Pitlick, who the Wild picked up off waivers from the Nashville Predators shortly before the regular season started. His performance was one of the things that went well, and he has the first spot in the Wild’s takeaways from their win.
Wild’s Pitlick Makes Debut
The former University of Minnesota Golden Gopher, Pitlick, wasn’t born in Minnesota, but he spent quite a bit of time there during his early high school years and three college seasons. It was almost meant to be that he came back to Minnesota and his debut for the Wild did not disappoint.
Pitlick wound up in the penalty box early but made up for it later in the game with a few near goals and tallied an assist on a well-set-up play to Matt Dumba. His line was doing well for the Wild so far this season before he joined them and his addition seems to have made the chemistry even smoother.
With Pitlick in, that meant there was a player who was pulled, and that was Victor Rask. Unfortunately for Rask, Pitlick had a great first game. Even with the penalty, he bounced back and proved his worth, so Rask may not be back in the lineup just yet unless the Wild find a different player to pull in favor of Pitlick.
Wild Record First Lead of Season
The Wild finally scored the first goal of the game, it only took six games into the season. Mats Zuccarello, who has been on a hot streak, secured the Wild’s lead in the first period, and they used that motivation the rest of the game. This proved to be the first night the Wild didn’t have to mount a big comeback and claw their way back in.
This season they’ve proven they’re a team that does well in comebacks, with four of their five wins coming from behind. Being able to win after coming from behind is a great attribute, but being able to secure a lead early and keep that lead is just as important. The Wild had a few scary moments near the end of the game but kept the battle going and came out on top for their third straight road win.
Wild’s Brodin Gets Noticed
When it comes to the Wild’s defensive core, Dumba or Jared Spurgeon are usually the first names mentioned because they happen to snatch a lot of points. Some defensemen do better unnoticed and one of those is Jonas Brodin. He’s never been one of the spotlight defensemen, but he’s quite good at his job.
Against the Canucks however, Brodin was noticed and rewarded for his offensive play. He scored his first goal of the season as he followed up on his own shot and snatched up the rebound. That goal was his third total point for the season and he recorded four shots on goal, the most he’s had this season thus far.
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On the defensive side of things, Brodin had a good night there as well. With two blocked shots in the game, he reached a milestone in his career, he hit 1,000 blocked shots. He achieved this milestone in just ten seasons, all with the Wild.
Wild Looking Forward
The Wild have only suffered one loss so far this season, but they’ve quickly proven that the loss didn’t bother them for long. They had production from members of their roster who hadn’t stepped up yet and continued production from their steady point producers.
One final good note was their goaltending. Cam Talbot was back in the net and he stood on his head to help the Wild get back on the winning train. He couldn’t get a shutout, but he did stop 22 of the 24 shots he faced and had a .917 save percentage.
It was hard to notice the bad with all the good things happening, but the Wild still has things to work on. The main one that has been a problem the last few games was their trips to the penalty box. The Wild’s penalty kill took a blow when the Canucks scored a power-play goal, the eighth shorthanded goal they’ve given up, and something they need to keep trying to fix.
Overall the Wild had a good game with all-around production and some improvement in problem areas. Their issues won’t be fixed in just one game, it’ll take time, and so far, they’ve proved they’re moving in the right direction. Next up, they’ll face the newest NHL team, the Seattle Kraken, for another game on the road.
Mariah Holland is a contributing Minnesota Wild writer for THW as well as a cohost on the THW Youtube show Chicks & Sticks which produces a new show every Friday. She’s been covering the Wild at THW for just over eight months and has been on Chicks & Sticks since it started in early May. She is always looking for different angles to cover the Wild and dig deeper into the stories surrounding the team.