The Minnesota Wild fell short in a third period rally Sunday at the Xcel Energy Center. Spotting the Dallas Stars four goals through two periods was too much to overcome in Game 6 of their first round Stanley Cup playoff series.
Jared Spurgeon and Jonas Brodin scored 16 seconds apart less than five minutes into the third period to cut a four-goal deficit in half to get the Wild right back into a game they no business being in. Spurgeon got the Wild back to within one four and a half minutes later with his second power play goal of the game.
The Wild had all the momentum and had turned the game completely around. Then the Stars got another fluky goal to reclaim a two-goal lead with 9 minutes, 32 seconds left in the game. Alex Goligoski fired a shot that was blocked by Jordan Schroeder at the top of the circles, but fluttered into the air and landed at the feet of Devan Dubnyk. As the goaltender tried the re-locate the puck, he end up kicking it into the net.
“It seems like there was one at least every game,” Dubnyk said. “It’s tough to sit on a bouncer like that when we are mounting the effort that we were. It doesn’t feel right to lose on a goal like that.
“I guess that’s why you throw pucks at the net. It was a tough time to get a bounce like that. It makes you sick to the stomach to lose a series on a bouncer like that.”
Moments earlier Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen gave Jason Zucker an open net tap in to tie the game, but the Wild forward was unable to control the puck and lost control.
“I’ve got to bury that,” Zucker said. “That’s what it comes down to. There’s no excuse.”
Jason Pominville got the Wild back to within a goal with just under five minutes left. The Wild had numerous chances to get the game tied for the first time since the early minutes, but could not get the equalizer past Lehtonen.
They were as close as possible to to doing with just over 32 seconds left in the game when Lehtonen’s right pad was just enough behind the goal line to keep the puck from completely crossing the goal line.
The Wild (2-4) had a jump early until a disputed and questionable penalty called on Charlie Coyle at the 4:16 mark of the first period. From there the Wild showed little fight until falling behind by four goals with one period to play.
The Stars (4-2) scored on the power play after Marco Scandella received a high sticking minor to give them a two-man advantage. Moments after Dubnyk stopped a backdoor one-timer, John Klingberg netted his first goal of the playoffs off a similar play. Jason Spezza scored 3 minutes, 11 seconds later off a rebound. Patrick Sharp closed out the scoring in the first period off a 2-on-1 rush. The Wild did not get the push in the second period and allowed a goal to Jamie Benn with 24 seconds left in the frame.
“We weren’t happy with the way we were playing,” Spurgeon said about the frustration that it took a four-goal deficit for them to comeback. “(The Stars) were playing a good game too. We needed to find a way to get going in the second period and they held us at will.”
No. 3 – Jared Spurgeon. The Wild defenseman scored two goals.
No. 2 – Jamie Benn. The Stars forward had a goal and two assists.
No. 1 – Jason Spezza. The Stars forward recorded a goal and had three assists.