The final score was a bit misleading, as the gap between the Penguins and Wild was much larger than the 6-3 reading that was finalized Thursday at PPG Paints Arena to snap the Wild’s six-game point streak.
But the Wild earned a more flattering box score by a push in the third period that came on the heels of a timeout called by coach Bruce Boudreau after Pittsburgh’s lead ballooned to six.
"I'm saying, 'You gotta have some pride in this game,’” Boudreau said. “‘You gotta get back to the way you're supposed to play. … Let’s start just doing things right. It might work out that it makes it better for the next game.'"
It’ll take some time for the Wild to figure out if its effort the rest of the way translates to its next game, as the team will be idle this weekend for the NHL All-Star break before resuming play Tuesday in Columbus against the Blue Jackets.
But Boudreau’s message did seem to spark better play Thursday as the Wild snuffed out Penguins goalie Casey DeSmith’s shutout bid with three unanswered goals.
Mind you, the Penguins looked like they might have been cruising to the finish line. Still, it was the type of response that seems vital to a team in need of points.
“To a man, obviously we want to show some pride,” center Eric Staal said. “We’ve got a lot of good character. We’ve got good players in this room that care. We just weren’t ready to go and they were, and they made us pay. It happens sometimes. You don’t want to give yourself that excuse because you can’t. You’re a professional and you need to be ready every night, but tonight we weren’t. We gotta forget about it and recover and be ready for Tuesday because that’s all you do.”
Here’s what else to watch for after the Wild’s loss to the Penguins.
- Two of the Penguins’ goals were caroms off defenseman Ryan Suter, bad bounces that Boudreau believes are corelated to work ethic.
“I've had people that I respect a lot talk about bad bounces and good bounces,” Boudreau said. “And in reality, it's all about work. And if you really outwork the other team, you're gonna get the good bounces. And if you don't work, it's, ‘Aww crap, we got bad bounces against.’ And then it's, ‘Woe is me.’ And we had those things, but it's because we weren't outworking them."
- Although he was livid at the time, Boudreau said after the game captain Mikko Koivu did interfere with DeSmith to overturn defenseman Jonas Brodin’s second-period goal – a tally that would have made it 4-1.
“It was goalie interference,” Boudreau said. “I didn't see it in the beginning; that's why I called the ref over and said, 'Sorry for calling you every name in the book in the second period, but you were right when I saw it on video.'"
- The Wild isn’t back in action until Tuesday, but goalie Devan Dubnyk didn’t feel this was a game worth stewing over during the break.
“We’ve got to flush it," he said. "We started actually playing hockey in the third period, not that you can read into that too much. It’s 6-0, so it’s tough for them to stay in it, too, so you can’t read too much in it. We know how we need to play. It’s just not acceptable, and it’s not going to work. If we want to do that, it’s not going to be the last time. We understand that that can’t happen. It’s not going to work.
"So we’ve got to figure out why and come back, but I know we know how to play. We’ve said it over and over. We don’t have to go back and try to figure out how to play hockey. We know how to play hockey. We know what’s successful for us.”