The Minnesota Wild have never done well against Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. However, Thursday, they were able to get a few past the 27-year-old Russian in a 3-2 victory at the Xcel Energy Center.
The Wild entered the game with just one win and nine goals on 169 shots in six career contests against Bobrovsky. They overcame a slow start to take a little momentum in the second before fending off the Blue Jackets’ late charge.
The Wild talked before the game about what they expected from the winless Blue Jackets. They expected the Blue Jackets to come out hard for a new coach. They expected them to get their best effort. They may have given them too much credit and gotten back on their heels.
“We talked so much about how hard they’re going to come out and how hard they’re going to play,” Zach Parise said. “I don’t know if we psyched ourselves out or what, but it was a pretty ugly start for us. But we were able to turn the page and be a better team in the second period.”
Nino Niederreiter and Thomas Vanek scored five minutes and 31 apart in the second period to turn a one-goal deficit into a one-goal lead. Niederreiter followed a rebound as it bounced over his head into the slot. He turned and slid a shot under Bobrovsky to tie the game at the 5:41 mark. Vanek put the Wild ahead for good by re-directing a pass from Jason Zucker under the bar from the side of the net.
“That was nice,” Parise said about Vanek’s goal. “It was really a fantastic tip. We’ve seen him do that before. That was a really nice goal scorer’s goal..”
The Blue Jackets (0-8-0) had a 2-1 lead after two periods. Alexander Wennberg beat Devan Dubnyk with a sharp-angle shot off a rebound at the bottom of the right circle to get the Blue Jackets on the board. Brandon Dubinsky gave them their only lead of the game with a power play tally with just under 21 seconds remaining in the first period. He knocked a loose puck that Cam Atkinson tipped across the top of the crease into the wide open net.
The Wild (4-1-1) got the scoring started five minutes and four seconds into the game. Ryan Suter kept a puck in at the blue line and worked his way to the corner. From there he sent a pass off Parise and into the net.
No. 3 – Brandon Dubinsky. The Blue Jackets forward scored a goal.
No. 2 – Thomas Vanek. The Wild forward scored a goal.
No. 1 – Jared Spurgeon. The Wild defenseman had two assists.
Columbus……2 0 0 – 2
Minnesota……1 2 0 – 3
First Period – 1, Minnesota, Parise 6 (Suter), 5:04. 2, Columbus, Wennberg 1 (Hartnell, Goloubef), 10:16. 3, Columbus, Dubinsky 2 (Atkinson, Murray), 19:39 (pp). Penalties – Fontaine, MIN (hooking), 14:52; Vanek, MIN (slashing), 18:32.
Second Period – 4, Minnesota, Niederreiter 3 (Spurgeon, Koivu), 5:41. 5, Minnesota, Vanek 3 (Zucker, Spurgeon), 11:12 (pp). Penalties – Goloubef, CBJ (holding), 8:09; Goloubef, CBJ (hooking), 8:09.
Third Period – None. Penalties – None.
Shots on goal – Columbus 13-9-7 29. Minnesota 6-13-4 23.
Goalies – Columbus, Bobrovsky (20-23). Minnesota, Dubnyk (27-29). Referees – Greg Kimmerly, Chris Lee. Linesmen – Mike Cvik, Andy McElman.