Frustrated Wild previews guest tour after Hurricanes loss

RALEIGH, NC – Sometimes it’s hard to explain an outcome in hockey. Sometimes it’s easy.

In the second period Thursday night at PNC Arena, the Wild defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 15-7 and had a chance to tie the score on a power play as Frederik Andersen shot down every look while Marc-Andre Fleury couldn’t.

The Hurricanes scored three times in quick succession—tied, on the power play, and while short-handed—that would be all they wrote for the Wild’s three-game win streak with a 5-2 loss.

“They bury and they score goals, and we don’t, and you lose a game like that,” said Mats Zuccarello, who was part of the No. 1 power play unit who gave up only the Wild’s second short-handed goal of the game. season and eventually the winning goal for Teuvo Teravainen.

Fleury said it more concisely.

“Andersen made a lot of great stops for them, and I didn’t do as many as he did,” said Fleury. “And it cost us.”

After a 0-0 first period that de Wild largely survived thanks to Fleury despite three penalties they vehemently disagreed with and a 10-minute misconduct by Ryan Hartman for berating the officials, Kirill Kaprizov got the Wild going with his 100th career goal from a setup by, you guessed it, his partner in crime, Zuccarello.

Twelve of Kaprizov’s 26 goals came from power play, and his 100 goals in 180 career games required the third fewest games to reach 100 goals among active players behind Patrik Laine (179) and Alex Ovechkin (167).

But less than two minutes later, five Wild defenders got tangled on one side of the ice, Matt Boldy got caught at lunch, and Brent Burns took advantage by driving the net unchallenged. He recognized that Fleury was out of stick and swept a backhander between his wickets. Fleury lost the stick in a collision with Hartman, opting not to take defenseman Jake Middleton’s stick, as goalies typically dislike using a skaters stick.

But when Burns floated the net, Fleury said he was “screwed”.

“Usually they don’t get a breakout in play in the zone,” Fleury said. “It’s easier with a stick in an escape. Direct shot, you don’t need much for that.”

After three solid penalties in the first period, the Wild were 16 seconds away from killing Freddy Gaudreau’s high-sticking minor when Fleury screened for a shot from Brady Skjei. He said he didn’t see the puck until it was too late. Then, on a power play, Boldy flipped a puck and Zuccarello gave a jailbreak on odd-man rush as the Wild escaped. But after Joel Eriksson failed to beat Ek Andersen on the third breakaway of the game, the Hurricanes flew out of the zone and Teravainen whistled his fourth goal past Fleury.

“The third I wish I could stop,” said Fleury, who started the game 5-2-1 in his previous eight starts with a 2.22 goals conceded average and a 0.929 save percentage. “It was a good shot, but I still want to make that save and keep us in the game.”

Last season, the Wild and Florida Panthers led the league with nine multi-goal comeback wins each. This season, oddly enough, they are the only two teams in the NHL without a multi-goal comeback win in a season that saw more than 80.

So it just felt like a two-goal deficit would be hard for the Wild to recover from.

Well, early in the third inning, Jalen Chatfield made it 4-1 with a shot from the tip. Coach Dean Evason challenged Martin Necas interfering with Fleury. The NHL Situation Room disagreed, even though Fleury still felt after the game that Necas had taken his stick and blocker out of play.

Fleury said the umpires told him the league felt his stick was a bit outside the blue fold and that Necas didn’t do it intentionally, “which I don’t quite understand.”

The Canes got a power play from the incorrect challenge, then a short five-on-three when Brandon Duhaime was called for a questionable raw penalty. Necas ended a three-point evening with a power play goal.

Boldy, who was the latest in a series of tough games, went on an 11-game goal drought with his first score since December 21, but the Wild couldn’t beat Andersen again despite a five-minute major and misconduct from Andrei. Svechnikov for checking Duhaime in the neck. Andersen made seven saves on the five-minute power play.

Due to the inability to finish, due to a night of fighting with umpires Marc Joannette and Frederick L’Ecuyer, the Wild called it a frustrating defeat.

“There are circumstances that we had no control over, but there are things that we can make the group aware of that can’t happen so that we give ourselves the chance to win hockey games,” Evason said. “You can say what you like about frustration and whatever, but we didn’t do enough to help ourselves win this hockey game, and they did.”

After the game, the Wild flew to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where they will hold their first guest tour since February 2020. Dads, brothers, cousins, and mentors will join the team for games against the Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning, attend team meetings, host a welcome reception on the beach Friday night, and spend Sunday golfing, deep-sea fishing, or in Gulfstream Park for a team dinner.

On Monday, the group will fly from Fort Lauderdale to Tampa and practice on arrival. A full group photo will be taken after the training. On Tuesday, guests will be given a tour of JC Newman Cigar Company in Ybor City as the players, coaches and staff continue their pregame routines.

Guests will receive custom Wild sweaters, a retro Wild guest trip concert poster and a handmade, glass Wild logo 2023 guest trip cigar holder.

“Once we get there and get this loss out of the way, it will be good to spend some time with my brother and all the families that come down,” Zuccarello said. “It’s a good way for us to show our families and everyone a part of our world.”

Alex Goligoski dresses for scratched Matt Dumba

With defender Matt Dumba scratching for the first time since 2016 despite a trade that may have come from the pike, Alex Goligoski moved into the lineup after being scratched 26 times this season and in 14 of the previous 17 games.

Asked how he handled the latest string of absences, Goligoski explained The athletic: “Yes, okay, I would say. I mean, I’m clear – I want to play, and it’s really frustrating when you don’t play. At the same time, the team is doing well, so I want it to stay that way. But I would like to play more regularly.”

Goligoski’s agent, Ben Hankinson, is expected to contact general manager Bill Guerin shortly to ask what’s going on. Goligoski said he has had casual conversations with Guerin in which the GM tells him to “stick with it, you never know what could happen, keep your head up.”

“But it’s hard,” said Goligoski, who has one year left on his $2 million contract and would almost certainly waive his no-move if he continues to be an overnight scratch in Minnesota. “I just want to play.”

The problem is that Goligoski, 37, can still play and Guerin probably doesn’t want to move him, especially with Dumba on the trading bloc. If the Wild Dumba trades and doesn’t immediately get a defender back, they can wait with Goligoski until Guerin can get one. Plus, in the NHL, the moment you trade a defenseman, it feels like two or three get hurt. And behind Goligoski on the depth chart are minor leaguers Andrej Sustr and Dakota Mermis.

Max Pacioretty may have injured his Achilles tendon again

Max Pacioretty, who made his Hurricanes debut on Jan. 5 after suffering a right Achilles tendon tear during off-ice practice in August, may have injured the same Achilles tendon with 19 seconds left.

Pacioretty, who had scored three goals in four games before missing the previous two games with a lower body injury, had the puck behind the goal line and hit the brakes to make a pass to Seth Jarvis when his leg appeared to give out. He collapsed on the ice in pain, grabbed the back of his leg, and had to be helped off the ice and through the tunnel without putting any weight on his leg.

“It’s not looking good,” said Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour. ‘I mean, we don’t know. But it doesn’t look good.”

Brind’Amour said Pacioretty, 34, will undergo an MRI on Friday.

“Hopefully it’s not as bad as we think, but I’m not too optimistic at the moment,” said Brind’Amour. “At the moment it’s hard to be too happy with a win when you know what’s more than likely happening here.”

In a salary cap, Vegas traded the 2012 Masterton Trophy winner and 2014 U.S. Olympian to the Hurricanes for future considerations. Pacioretty has 326 goals and 645 points in 855 career games.

(Photo of Brent Burns scoring on Marc-Andre Fleury: James Guillory/USA Today)

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