ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Through more than 40 minutes of play at Xcel Energy Center, almost nothing of consequence happened.
“That’s their game plan -- limit chances against,” goalie Ray Emery said. “It’s a New Jersey type of game where you have to stay patient with them and not give them anything.”
And when you least expect it, bam! Something happens to startle the building and it becomes an instant turning point.
Two Wild goals 57 seconds apart in the final period was all it took (see story) and it began with a spectacular play from Mikko Koivu, who threw a blind pass into the slot for Jason Pominville to finish.
“I thought it was by design,” Emery admitted. “But I talked to him and it was one of those things where [the puck] hit the side of the net and it took me a second to realize it got over there because it hit that funny angle.”
Said Koivu, “I got the puck and I had good speed down the wall. I wasn't sure if it was Pommer or Zach [Parise] in front, so I just tried to get it on tape and I did.
“Great shot going up high and buried. It was pretty tight for him, too. Good shot.”
That made it 1-0 at 3:52 and then Charlie Coyle killed the Flyers off right after to ice it, at 2-0.
“Frustrating that they get two quick ones in the third,” Emery said. “We played well after that to get back from it. But that’s all it takes for a team like that, which is so defensive.”
Flyers coach Craig Berube said he had no problem matching the Wild’s defensive slant on the game and admitted he sensed all it would take was one big play -- like Koivu’s -- to change the game.
“Definitely, they’re a tight team. We played good defense, checked hard. They got the play there and got the goal.”
If you’re keeping score, that’s 21 of 27 games for the Flyers in which they scored two goals or fewer.
This was the first shutout to the Wild since February 2003, when they blanked the Flyers in two games -- Feb. 10 and Feb. 12 of that year.
• Claude Giroux was 15 for 23 (68 percent) on faceoffs, including a perfect 8 for 8 in the first period.
• Adam Hall was 83 percent in the circle, winning 5 of 6.
• Scott Hartnell -- not Zac Rinaldo -- led the team with five hits. Rinaldo had two.
• The Wild are now 9-3-2 against the Eastern Conference.
• This was first game in St. Paul between these two clubs since Nov. 24, 2010 -- a span of 1,104 days.
• The Flyers are 3-4-1 against the Western Conference. They are 2-1-1 against the Central Division.