Wild fall to Canucks 3-0 in Qualifying series Game 3, face elimination Friday night
9:45 scheduled face-off from Edmonton
MINNEAPOLIS – (FOX 9) The Minnesota Wild are on the brink of elimination after a 3-0 loss to the Vancouver Canucks Thursday afternoon in Game 3 of a Stanley Cup Qualifying series in the Edmonton bubble.
The Canucks take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series with the win, and the Wild need a win Friday night to keep its season alive and force a decisive Game 5.
The best part is that we get to go after it tomorrow and we talked that this wasn’t an elimination game today, so we get an opportunity to come back and compete tomorrow and not have that happen,’ Wild coach Dean Evason said after Thursday’s loss. “We’ve got to give ourselves an opportunity.”
After a scoreless opening period with chances for both teams, the Canucks got on the board with a power-play goal at 13:49 of the second period as Brock Boeser scored on a diving rebound after the initial shot by Elias Pettersson was deflected aside.
Vancouver took a 2-0 lead at early in the second period, at the 2:18 mark. Brad Hunt misplayed a puck along the boards, Antoine Roussel skated past him for a breakaway and beat Stalock to give the Canucks a 2-0 lead. The Canucks sealed the victory with 1:20 to play in regulation on Elias Pettersson’s goal off a one-timer past Stalock, who made 26 saves in the loss.
After shutting out the Canucks in Game 1, Stalock has given up seven goals the last two games. Evason said the goals aren’t on Stalock.
“He’s given us an opportunity to win every night. We’ve got to do a better job in front of him to limit quality opportunities and we’ve got to give him some run support. He’s definitely doing his job,” Evason said.
The Wild had plenty of good scoring chances, but ultimately couldn’t get one past Jacob Markstrom. The Wild have yet to score an even strength goal in the series, and haven’t scored in their last 13 power play opportunities. The Canucks blocked 22 Wild shot attempts and made life very difficult in the middle of the ice defensively.
Markstrom didn’t allow many rebounds, and most of the shots generated were from the perimeter.
“It was frustrating, we’ve got to get pucks through. They did a great job today blocking shots, staying in lanes. I felt like they blocked a lot of shots from everybody. We have to make sure to get those through and get some rebounds,” said Wild forward Kevin Fiala, who has three goals in the series.
“We’re creating, we’re getting opportunities, we’re getting zone time, we’re getting possession time. We’re just not finding the back of the net yet,” Evason said. “We’re all around it and we keep doing what we’re doing, we believe that we’ll get an opportunity to break it open.”
Just like Tuesday night, Game 3 was marred with penalties and fights after saves at the net. There were 22 penalties called Thursday after 15 on Tuesday.
The Wild had 11 penalties in the loss.
The two teams face off at 9:45 p.m. Friday, and if the Canucks win, they advance to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Wild’s season would be over.
“Desperate hockey. We’re a good team when we play desperate, so we should bring out the best hockey that we’ve played all year tomorrow,” Wild winger Marcus Foligno said. “There’s not one guy in there that’s thinking about going home, we’ve got a chance to even the series tomorrow and that’s what we plan to do.”