Wild Send Red Wings To Fourth-Straight Loss, Dump Detroit 6-3

Alexander Shun | @alexpshun

Digital Content Manager | KFAN.com

It was all about the power-play for the Minnesota Wild on Sunday as they tallied three goals with the man-advantage and sent the reeling Detroit Red Wings to their fourth-consecutive loss, defeating them 6-3.

Minnesota's power-play started hot when Mikko Koivu found the stick of Mikael Granlund whose initial redirect bounced off the post and sat just a few inches out of the net. However, Granlund kept his footing, stuck with the play and slammed the puck home to get the Wild on the board and give them a 1-0 lead.

A few minutes later, controversy struck.

While battling for the puck in the corner, Jared Spurgeon gave Gustav Nyquist a shove which the Swedish player clearly took exception to as he retaliated against Spurgeon by spearing the Wild defenseman in the face. It was a vicious and unnecessary play that led to a Wild power-play.

Thankfully Spurgeon was alright and, despite exiting the game to receive stitches, later returned to the game and even got an assist on Minnesota's sixth goal of the game. Nyquist received a double-minor for high-sticking and remained in the game as well.

"I just don’t understand how that’s not a five-minute penalty," Wild Head Coach Bruce Boudreau said on the incident after the game. "Obviously he’s not a player that is going to, I want to say do it on purpose except anybody watching the game, … it’s a five-minute penalty regardless...Again, it’s not a guy that’s trying to do it, but it’s a retaliatory thing and it should be a five-minute penalty.”

Nyquist talked to the media after the game and said the play looked much worse than it actually was, calling it, "completely accidental."

"Obviously I didn't mean to do that. My stick gets caught, I'm trying to get body position on him," Nyquist said regarding the penalty. "I'm happy [Spurgeon] was out there again obviously. I had no intention of doing that. My stick gets caught. It looks bad, but I'm happy he's OK."

Intentional or not, the Wild made sure to make Detroit pay for the penalty.

With less than 30 seconds remaining on the Minnesota power-play, Koivu lined a centering pass to Nino Niederreiter who fired a one-timer past Red Wings goaltender Jared Coreau to give the Wild a 2-0 lead after one.

In the second period after Anthony Mantha put Detroit on the board with his 13th goal of the season, Charlie Coyle pushed the Wild lead back to two as he made a slick move to work through two Detroit defensemen before flipping the puck bar-down over the outstretched glove of Coreau.

Henrik Zetterberg responded with a goal of his own to cut the Minnesota lead to 3-2 but in the third period, Zach Parise took over, adding his 12th and 13 goals of the season to help seal the Wild's win, their fourth in their last five games.

"Well winning breeds [confidence]," Boudreau said. "If you're losing you're in the same situation you're usually so worried like, 'Here we go again. They're going to tie it up.' When you're winning you're sitting there saying, 'OK we're going to find a way to keep this going. We weren't very good for the most part tonight. That was the mental toughness that we have to have if we want to be successful.”

With their 6-3 win Sunday afternoon, the Wild now have 37 wins on the season, just one less than they had all of last season, and their now 80 points are just seven less than they recorded last season. 

Perhaps even more impressive is Minnesota's complete balance on both ends of the ice.

Devan Dubynk, who made 30 saves against the Red Wings, earned his league-leading 31st win of the season and leads the NHL in both save percentage (.933) and goals allowed per game (1.99) amongst qualified goalies.

After a six-goal performance Sunday aided Dubynk and the Wild to victory, Minnesota now sits tied for third in the league with 187 total goals and are tied for third - though they lead the Western Conference - in goals scored per game (3.4). Such stats are things Dubnyk loves to hear.

"That’s the good thing playing behind these guys is regardless of what happens – weird bounces or you think you should have had one – you withstand it and make sure you’re making the next saves that you’re supposed to be and we’re going to keep at it and we’ve shown that time and again," Dubnyk said postgame. "It makes it a lot of fun for me to play.”

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