Special Teams Are Wild's Bugaboo In Loss
In a game ragged with penalties, special teams were the difference as the Pittsburgh Penguins handed the Wild its first loss of the preseason.
On the strength of three power play goals in the second period, the Pens eventually downed the Wild 4-1.
After a scoreless first period, things got lively after Eric Tangradi ran Matt Cullen
into the boards midway through the second frame. Marco Scandella
dropped the gloves with Tangradi in defense of his teammate and was given plethora of penalties, and the Pens were given a man advantage.
On the ensuing power play, Joseph Morrow broke the scoreless tie at the 10:34 mark of the second period with assists going to Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin. On the same PP, Pascal Dupuis added to the lead and Malkin added another assist on the play.
Due to the odd-man action, Niklas Backstrom
was busy making 22 saves on 26 shots duing the game.
The power play is typically the last thing to click at the start of the year, and for the first time in this young season, the Wild showed a chink in the armor going 0-9. The Pens scored all its goals on the PP going 4-6.
Brian Strait scored on the man advantage at the 13:50 mark in the second and Malkin added the fourth Penguins power play goal in the third period.
responded with an even strength goal two minutes after the Malkin goal, but it wasn’t quite enough to rally a comeback. Breaking in on an odd man rush, Nystrom beat Penguins' goaltender Brad Thessen for his first preseason tally. Assisting on the play were Cullen and Colton Gillies
The Wild will look to get back in the win column against the St. Louis Blues at 7p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 27 at Excel Energy Center.