The Minnesota Wild showed once again that even though they are an expansion team, they are not to be taken lightly, as they and the Red Wings skated to a 3-3 tie.
The first period belonged mainly to the Red Wings, as they applied strong offensive pressure to the Wild, yet still managed to keep the defense tight and keep Minnesota off their guard.
The Red Wings opened the scoring on a power play with 7:48 remaining in the period, while Ladislav Benysek was in the box for high-sticking. Luc Robitaille sent a pass rinkwide to Nick Lidstrom. Lidstrom left the puck for Steve Yzerman, who fired a hard slapshot into the net while Tomas Holmstrom screened Minnesota netminder Manny Fernandez from seeing the puck flying towards him.
Minnesota played more strongly in the second period, allowing fewer giveaways and tying the game four minutes in. Jason Marshall sent a hard shot from the right point, and ended Dominik Hasek’s shutout streak at 162 minutes and 40 seconds. Yzerman regained the lead for his team midway through the period, during a hooking penalty to Filip Kuba. Holmstrom tried to tip a shot which was blocked by Fernandez, but regained control of the puck and sent it back to Robitaille at the right circle. Robitaille got it across to Yzerman at the blue line, and The Captain sent off a one-time shot right past Fernandez for the goal.
The Red Wings had to go on the penalty kill with 9:11 left in the second when Igor Larionov was sent to the box for high-sticking. The penalty-killers were able to shut down Minnesota’s power play without much problem, but Yzerman was injured when he dropped to the ice and blocked a shot with his left foot. Brett Hull had to help him off the ice. Yzerman tried to return to the game during a later penalty to Max Kuznetsov, but spent only a few seconds on the ice before returning to the dressing room.
The Wild were able to tie up the game again with three minutes left in the period. Wes Walz and Richard Park got a two-on-one rush against Jiri Fischer, leaving Chris Chelios unable to catch up to the play. Walz passed across to Park, and Fischer dropped to the ice to try to take the pass away, but the puck got through and Park was able to flip it past Hasek.
Minnesota took their first lead of the game only forty-eight seconds into the third period. Walz carried the puck into the Detroit zone and left it for Willie Mitchell, who took a wrist shot from the left wing side and sent the puck in on the far side of Hasek.
Robitaille scored the equalizing goal for the Red Wings with six and a half minutes left in the third. Mathieu Dandenault fired a shot from the left wing side. The shot was knocked down by Mitchell as he fell into the net, and the puck went right to Robitaille’s stick. Robitaille was easily able to lift the puck into the net over both Mitchell and Fernandez.
The last minute of regulation play was an offensive flurry by the Red Wings, but they were unable to get the puck past Fernandez again.
The Red Wings ran into penalty trouble in the overtime. Fifty-seven seconds into the extra time, Brendan Shanahan was given a penalty for hooking, sending the Wings to a four-on-three penalty kill. However, Sergei Fedorov, Lidstrom, Chelios, and Hasek were able to rise to the challenge and keep the Wild out of the net, and even carry the puck shorthanded to challenge Fernandez at the other end. Despite strong effort by both teams, neither was able to score again, and the Red Wings left the Xcel Energy Center with their third tie of the season.
Hasek stopped twenty-one of the twenty-four shots he faced, while Fernandez managed to stop twenty of the twenty-three sent against him. The Red Wings will play at home Thursday night againt the Columbus Blue Jackets.