NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A few days after general manager Bill Guerin expanded the Wilde lineup with some major acquisitions on the trade deadline, coach Dean Ivson made a kind of sweeping announcement.
His team had defeated the Vancouver Canucks in overtime, and minutes after a very physical game, a reporter asked Evans if Wilde could handle the playing style going forward. In an emphatic response, Evans replied, “The group we have now, no one should be more physical than us.”
Perhaps Wilde felt like he had something to prove on Tuesday night at Bridgestone Arena.
This may explain why Jake Middleton, Marcus Foligno and Nick Deslauriers dropped gloves in the opening frame against the Nashville Predators. As much as Wilde has outplayed opposing teams over the past few weeks, he knew that doing so against the Predators would send a message.
Instead, Wilde struggled to stay out of his way early on, and that cost them a 6-2 loss.
When asked if any fights were premeditated, Foligno was adamant that they happened systematically throughout the game. He said that he was very proud of the fact that everyone in each bout rose to the occasion.
“It was a good start,” Foligno said. “We loved that we were all aboard.”
When asked the same question about the feud, the Deslauriers preached a similar message.
“It’s what the game is all about, with two big teams playing each other,” Deslauriers said. “We’re not afraid to bring materiality, and tonight both sides responded.”
Unfortunately for the Wild, the Predators responded slightly better, with both Middleton and Foligno fighting for the Wild in less than 30 seconds, Brandon Duhaime taking a costly penalty, and the Predators 1 for a snipe from Roman Josie. went up to -0. power play.
Although Wilde leveled the game 1–1 with a goal from Matt Zucarello, the Predators responded 25 seconds later, making it 2–1 with a power play goal from Ryan Johansson. He added another power play goal late in the first period to help the Predators extend their lead to 3-1.
The penalty kill remained at 0 for 3 in the first period alone. As it is in real time, Foligno noted how those struggling on penalties could come back to bite them if it progresses to the playoffs.
“The penalty kill didn’t do its job,” Foligno said. “We’re going to be in playoff situations where there are big penalty hitters that need to get the job done. It’s something we need to get right and steady, and make sure we’re fine-tuning before the playoffs .
Physical play continued into the second period, where Duhaime tried to inspire Wild with his fighting. It backfired after Duhaime lost the fight in a decisive fashion, and Philip Tomasino scored for the Predators a few minutes later to make it 4–1.
While Wilde had a goal from Kirill Kaprizov late in the second period to cut the deficit to 4-2, he never came closer than that.
Despite a big push from Wilde at the start of the third period, the Predators remained in complete control thanks to a brilliant play from Jus Saros, who made 47 saves. Johansson scored a late goal from Matt Duchenne to make it 5-2 to finalize the score at 6-2 before completing his hat-trick.
With the loss, Wilde is now 0-3-0 against the Predators this season, and has been knocked out 17-6.
“If we look at the 5-on-5 game today, I think we had a very good game,” said Jonas Brodin, noting how Wilde actually outplayed the Predators 49-33. We just can’t start with three” penalty kill goals. ,
As if the humble loss wasn’t bad enough for Wilde, they lost Matt Dumb, as well. He inflicted a crushing blow on Michael McCarron in the middle of the game and left the ice on his shoulder.