NEWARK, NJ — At this point Wilde is ready to try anything to fix the slow start that has plagued him this season.
Even get on the bus for 2 1/2 hours in the middle of New York City’s rush hour. Even arrive at the arena approximately 34 minutes before the puck drops. Even start the game half an hour later than the originally scheduled time.
The team bus left Manhattan’s Wild Hotel at around 4 p.m. on Wednesday. It didn’t pull off until 6:26 p.m. Wednesday at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ.
The closure of the Holland Tunnel supported traffic through large parts of New York City, turning what should have been a 10-mile trek into a journey that wild players will not soon forget.
“We took a nice scenic, scenic route in New York City,” joked Marcus Foligno. “It was great. We (Kirill Kaprizov) had to show a little more. The young people really took to it. ”
“No, it was interesting,” said Foligno, who said that players literally played “don’t worry, be happy” while stuck in traffic. “I’m late to the game. Maybe a snowstorm or something. That’s different. We had a dance party as we got closer and the police escort was on the way, so the boys were in a light mood.”
Maybe the funniest part of the entire night is that the police escort actually slowed down Wilde.
“We got here about 10 minutes away and then we waited for them on the side of the road, when we probably could have come here,” Foligno said with a laugh. “As soon as we got the police escort, there was no one on the road.”
When Wilde finally arrived and ran to the locker room, the game was already delayed. He had to change quickly and take ice for the warm-up. No pregame routines.
It all seemed like a recipe for disaster, so naturally Wilde responded with a scintillating start 20 minutes before securing a 3-2 shootout win over the Devils. This helped Wilde complete a successful 1-1-1 road trip.
“A little different today. Not going to lie,” said Nico Sturm. “It is what it is. At some point on the bus we accepted the fact that this was going to happen. Yes. We got out pretty well.”
It probably shouldn’t be a surprise that Wild looked upbeat in the first period. Eventually, they were stuck on the bus for 2 1/2 hours, which triggered the game.
This translated onto the ice as Ryan Hartmann with a deflection during the first period put Wilde 1-0 ahead. It got the better of Wilde from there as Sturm took a 2-0 lead with a shorthand goal just before the close of the first period.
“We loved our start. At the end,” coach Dean Evans said. “We didn’t love that much after that because we didn’t manage the game again. We ended up doing the right things and playing with or without success. Talked about dealing. And we never dealt with it again tonight.”
This forced Cam Talbot to stand tall on his head, lengthening the rest of the way.
After looking sharp at the start, tracking the puck to perfection while limiting his rebound, Talbot made some big saves in the second period with Wilde looking a bit sluggish. His best defense came on winger Jimmy Vesey early in the frame to give him some swagger.
In the third period, winger Pavel Zach helped the Devils cut the first deficit 2-1 with a top-shelf snipe.
It made things very interesting down the stretch, and while Wilde managed to hit 68 seconds of 5-on-3, they couldn’t stop the Devils from tying the game. In the final minute, center Yegor Sharangovich leveled the score at 2-2 when he hit a bouncing puck in front of Talbot.
That forced overtime, then a shootout, and finally Wilde emerged with a fine win. Well, after Kevin Fiala converted in his shootout attempt, Talbot made the final defense of the game to secure the win.
“We just grinded it out,” Talbot said. “Clearly the conditions coming up tonight were not ideal. There isn’t a ton of time to prepare. But give a ton of credit to our guys. We came out, we got some (goals) early. We bowed there a little at the end. Ultimately came up with two points, which are the most important. ,