The Minnesota Wild finished a four-game road trip with a 4-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets Tuesday at Nationwide Arena. The Wild finished the trip 2-1-1 garnering five points out of a possible eight in the standings.
Zach Parise and Mikael Granlund made sure the trip ended well. They combined to score all four goals, including the first three by Parise. Granlund recorded the primary assist on the first two goals.
The two hooked up to get the game’s first goal late in the first period. With a delayed penalty coming on the Blue Jackets, Granlund took a pass from Ryan Suter in the neutral zone and sped across the blue line. After getting to the middle of the Blue Jackets defense, he slid a pass to Parise. The Wild’s leading goal scorer beat Anton Forsberg under the right arm from the face-off dot to the goaltender’s left.
The trio combined again to re-claim a one-goal lead at the 12:43 mark of the second period when Parise beat Forsberg under the same arm from a little a little closer distance to the goaltender. Granlund fed Parise an aerial pass from midway between the top of the right circle and blue line that landed on the scorer’s stick midway between the hash marks and face-off dot of the left circle. Parise received the pass on his backhand, stickhandled to his forehand and beat Forsberg from just outside the crease. Suter left the puck behind the Blue Jackets’ net for Granlund to pick his second assist.
Parise seemingly put the game away with an empty-net goal to complete the hat trick with 57 seconds left in the game. He stole the puck from Brandon Dubinsky in the neutral zone outside the Blue Jackets’ blue line and sent a backhand shot into the open net.
However, the Blue Jackets were not done. Nick Foligno chipped a loose puck at the top of the crease over a sprawled out Devan Dubnyk with under 16 seconds remaining to cut the deficit to one. The play was reviewed to determine if Blue Jackets forward Alexander Wennberg interfered with Dubnyk prior to the puck being shot into the net. Wennberg fell over Dubnyk, but was shoved by Marco Scandella. The goal stood and the Blue Jackets still had a chance.
Granlund did put the game away on the ensuing face off with an empty net goal from the center ice face-off dot to cap the scoring. It was one of the more bizarre empty net goals because Blue Jackets center Ryan Johansen tried to chip the puck past Granlund and get a rush before the Wild could react. However, he completely missed the puck and Granlund was left there all by himself and a clean path to the open net. Even though it took 1.7 seconds for Granlund to slide the puck into the net, it officially occurred two seconds after the Blue Jackets’ goal. That tied an NHL record for fastest two goals by both teams.
The Blue Jackets (15-23-3) got on the board to tie the game at 1-1 three minutes, eight seconds into the second period. Cam Atkinson re-directed a pass from Scott Hartnell past Dubnyk for the goal.
The Wild (21-11-7) played almost the entire game without Mikko Koivu. The team’s captain went back first into the boards behind the goal line near the corner in the Blue Jackets zone during his third shift of the game. The team reported that he had been taken to an area hospital for precautionary reasons and was released. They also said he was flying home with the team.
No. 3 – Ryan Suter. The Wild defenseman had two assists and blocked five shots.
No. 2 – Mikael Granlund. The Wild forward recorded a goal and two assists.
No. 1 – Zach Parise. The Wild forward scored three goals.