Coming off a huge win over the defending Stanley Cup champions to finish a season-sweep, the Minnesota Wild suffered an even bigger letdown Thursday against the Ottawa Senators at the Xcel Energy Center. Cody Ceci broke a 2-2 tie with 3 minutes, 57 seconds left in the third period to give the Senators 3-2 the victory.
Ceci skated through a check attempt from Marco Scandella and then saw his centering pass glance off the skates of Erik Haula and Devan Dubnyk.
“It was a fortunate bounce that end up being the winner,” Ceci said. “I was trying to pass it out there to (Bobby Ryan) and it ended up hitting (Haula) and going five-hole.”
That goal came minutes after the Wild thought they had taken the lead. However, referee Tom Kowal blew the play dead with the puck sitting out of goaltender Craig Anderson’s reach. Matt Dumba poked the puck into the net.
Dumba said after the game that he was told the whistle blew because of incidental contact with the goaltender. Regardless of the reason, blowing the whistle was a controversial decision by Kowal. Nino Niederreiter made contact with Anderson after being shoved into the netminder by a Senators defenseman.
The Wild (38-28-11) evened the game at 1-1 at the 11:13 mark of second period when Zach Parise poked a rebound from a Scandella shot past Anderson. Parise fended off Ceci with one arm as he pushed the puck into the net with the other.
The Senators (35-33-9) dominated play for the first two periods and were rewarded with a pair one-goal leads. Erik Karlsson got the scoring started with wrist shot over the left shoulder of Dubnyk 3 minutes, 44 seconds into the second period. He later assisted on assisted on the Senators’ second goal. Jean-Gabriel Pageau tipped a soft backhand from Bobby Ryan between the legs of Dubnyk.
The Wild came out of the second intermission and controlled play leading to the tying goal by Haula at the 4:33 mark. He one-timed a backhand pass from Jason Pominville over a sprawling Anderson to match a franchise-record 10-game point streak.
“The guys worked hard and created a turnover,” Haula said. “(Pominville) made a nice play. I was able to put it in.”
The Wild played nearly the whole game without defenseman Jared Spurgeon. He was injured blocking a shot 3 minutes, 18 seconds into the game and did not return. He is expected to fly with the team to Detroit for their Friday game against the Red Wings, but interim head coach John Torchetti did not commit to his status.
No. 3 – Zach Parise. The Wild forward scored a goal.
No. 2 – Erik Karlsson. The Senators defenseman had a goal and an assist.
No. 1 – Jean-Gabriel Pageau. The Senators forward recorded a goal and two assists.