Parliament funk: Wild blow two leads, fall 4-3 to Senators in shootout
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Looking for their first road win of the season, the Minnesota Wild let 2-0 and 3-1 leads slip away, falling to the Ottawa Senators 4-3 in a shootout. The Wild seemingly survived long stretches in the first and second periods where the Senators dominated the play, only to see a two-goal lead in the third period quickly become a 3-3 deadlock.
The Wild moved the puck well in overtime, showing a gradual grasp of new coach Mike Yeo's offensive system that seems to suit the likes of Matt Cullen, Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi. In the shootout, all three Senators shooters beat Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom, while only Cullen could get a goal for the Wild.
Dany Heatley, who played for the Senators for four seasons, was booed by the Ottawa fans every time he touched the puck, but did receive a huge cheer in the third period when he was dumped to the ice by Chris Neil.
Even with a new coach and key new players, the Wild (1-1-1) have carried over a disturbing tradition from the previous season, seemingly falling asleep for a period at a time. In their road-opener loss on Long Island it was the first, which found them down 2-0 after 20 minutes.
Things seemed different this time around. The first period was solid, with the Wild surviving early dominance by the Senators to take a 2-0 lead, which included a back-breaking goal by Setoguchi in the final minute of the first.
Then, again, it was nap time. The Senators out-shot Minnesota 14-2 in the second and cut the Wild lead in half. But Minnesota answered early in the third. Nick Johnson">Nick Johnson, claimed off waivers from the Penguins late in the preseason, got his first goal in Minnesota to give the Wild a 3-1 lead. With Backstrom playing a strong game, it seemed that might be enough.
It was not, as the Senators got a pair of goals about two minutes apart, tying the game 3-3 and forcing overtime and the eventual shootout.
"At least we got one point, and in the end it could be a big difference," Backstrom said.
Back-to-back goals by Chris Neil and Colin Greening in the third period erased the Wild's 3-1 lead. The third Ottawa goal was particularly disheartening, as the Wild had killed a 4-on-3 Senators power play and had nearly killed a 5-on-4 power play, when Greening poked a loose puck past Backstrom.
"We kept with it. We had some character nights by some guys," said Ottawa's Nick Foligno. "Chris Neil played outstanding for us, and big goals in the shootout by Alfie, Spez and Milo. (Craig)Anderson played outstanding. It was a big team effort and we're proud of it."
• 5: Shots faced by Backstrom in his final 40 minutes versus the Islanders on Monday.
• 10: Shots faced by Backstrom in the first eight minutes versus the Senators on Tuesday.
• 3: Number of fighting major penalties received by the Wild's Matt Kassian in his first six NHL games. Kassian dropped the gloves with Ottawa's Zenon Konopka in the first period.
• 2004: The last time the Wild won a game versus Ottawa.
Senators - Nick Foligno 1 (Regin, Neil), 8:17
Shots: Wild 12-2-10-3-27; Senators 16-13-13-2-44. Saves: Wild, Niklas Backstrom (41-44); Senators, Craig Anderson (24-27). Power plays: Wild 1-for-2, Senators 1-4.
1. Niklas Backstrom
2. Chris Neil
3. Daniel Alfredsson
There's no place like home. Or at least that's what the Wild are hoping to find on Thursday night in their first Northwest Division game of the season, as the Edmonton Oilers pay a visit to St. Paul. Pierre-Marc Bouchard is expected back in the Wild lineup, after serving a two-game league suspension.
The Associated Press contributed.