Wings end disastrous road trip with loss to Wild

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

St. Paul, Minn.  —  The Red Wings completed a rugged road trip with a ragged game Sunday — and another loss.

Three times they sliced Minnesota’s lead to one goal, but the Wild ultimately took control and defeated the Red Wings 6-3.

The Red Wings (22-24-10, 54 points) lost all three games on this road trip through powerhouses Washington, Columbus and Minnesota — and are winless in four games overall (0-3-1).

Over their last 11 games the Red Wings are 2-5-4 — and talk of making the playoffs has become a distant dream.

BOX SCORE: Wild 6, Red Wings 3

“It’s not fun,” captain Henrik Zetterberg said. “Nothing else we can do but just keep fighting and battling and keep getting better every day.”

Anthony Mantha, Zetterberg and Andreas Athanasiou scored for the Red Wings, but goalie Jared Coreau only stopped 24 of 30 shots and wasn’t particulary sharp.

The Wild (37-12-6, 80 points) were 3-on-4 on the power play, including two first period power play goals that put the Red Wings in an early and inescapable hole.

“It’s really hard. We gave how many power plays right there and it kind of kills us,” Mantha said. “They got two or three goals on the power play, it’s just hard hockey to come back from.”

Minnesota’s Christian Folin and Zach Parise (power play) scored goals after extending the lead to 6-3.  The Red Wings had made it a 4-3 game on Athanasiou’s goal at 4:34 of the third period.

Folin scored his second goal of the season at 7:20 of the third period, giving the Wild a 5-3 lead — after the Red Wings had cut Minnesota lead to a single goal for a third time.

Folin’s shot from near the side board was a goal Coreau likely will want back, a shot the Red Wings' goalie needs to stop.

Parise then scored his 13th, and second of the afternoon, putting a puck past a scrambling Coreau at 10:50.

“Through two periods he’d played a pretty strong game,” said coach Jeff Blashill of Coreau. “In the end, we can’t go shorthanded that much, either.

“It’s hard to win when you give up two (goals) on the PK in the first (period) like that. Our first period, we actually played fine. It was a good road game. Five-on-five we were fine, but we took those penalties.”

Athanasiou scored his 14th goal, tying Thomas Vanek for the team lead, at 4:34, just 35 seconds after Minnesota had regained a two-goal lead.

Nick Jensen’s shot from the point went off the boards and bounced directly to Athanasiou near the post. Athanasiou tapped it past goalie Devan Dubnyk.

Minnesota had just taken a 4-2 lead on Parise’s 12th goal. The Wild’s Jason Pominville stole the puck from Coreau behind the net and fed Parise in the slot.

Twice in the second period, the Red Wings sliced two goal deficits to one.

Zetterberg cut the Wild lead to 3-2, shortly after Minnesota’s Charlie Coyle had regained a two-goal advantage.

Zetterberg batted a bouncing puck that Dubnyk punched at but missed, and Zetterberg directed into the net for his 13th goal at 15:39.

Coyle had made it 3-1 at 14:14, breaking in free on Coreau, after the Red Wings couldn’t contain a Wild rush aided by a bouncing puck past Jensen.

Mantha cut the Wild lead to 2-1 early in the second period, scoring his 13th goal at 6:56. Xavier Ouellet had the puck at the point and found Mantha alone in front of Dubnyk.

Minnesota’s Mikael Granlund and Nino Niederreiter had first period power-play goals.

Along with the game, the Red Wings also likely will be losing a player for a bit going forward.

Gustav Nyquist dangerously high-sticked Minnesota’s Jared Spurgeon in the first period, earning a four-minute penalty that led to the Wild's first goal.

Nyquist retaliated to a cross-check by Spurgeon with a wicked high stick that nicked Spurgeon’s lip and came dangerously close to the Wild's player's eye. Nyquist's actions resulted in NHL Player Safety offering the Red Wings player an option to state his case during an in-person hearing at a date and time to be determined this week. Such a move gives the league the ability to suspend him for six or more games.

“I was trying to get over to the other side of him and my stick gets caught,” Nyquist said. “Obviously, I have to have better control of my stick.

“But completely accidental.”