Minnesota rallies from 4 down but loses again to Winnipeg

Published 8:20 am Monday, March 20, 2017

Coach Bruce Boudreau wasn’t too impressed with Minnesota’s rally Sunday. Once the best team in the Western Conference, the Wild are now just a team desperate to get back in the win column.

Josh Morrissey one-timed in a goal with 7:17 left to end Minnesota’s rally from four goals down and give the Winnipeg Jets a chaotic 5-4 victory.

It was Minnesota’s fifth straight loss. The last time the Wild lost that many in a row was the final five regular season games last spring. They only have two wins in their last 10 games and have been supplanted atop the West by the Chicago Blackhawks.

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Winnipeg led 4-0 early in the second period after scoring on four of its first eight shots, but the Wild rallied with four straight goals in the second period.

“Hey, listen, we stunk in the first,” Boudreau said. “We better come back in the second. Holy crap. It’s not resiliency. You make it sound like we’re good.”

Morrissey’s fifth goal of the season was through a screen by teammate Patrik Laine. It hit the post and went past goalie Devan Dubnyk.

“I didn’t see the puck,” Dubnyk said. “Bodies in front and try to pick a side and, obviously, I try to find the puck as best you can. Just heard the post.”

Morrissey, a 21-year-old rookie defenseman, has three game-winning goals this season.

“You just can’t say enough about Josh Morrissey,” Jets captain Blake Wheeler said. “That goal aside, just the type of hockey player he is, how smart he is as a player. He’s being asked to play a little bit ahead of his age right now.”

Andrew Copp and Adam Lowry scored on Winnipeg’s first and third shots, respectively, and Ben Chiarot and Dustin Byfuglien also found the back of the net. Mathieu Perreault and Blake Wheeler each had a pair of assists, with Wheeler getting to 500 career points.

Chris Stewart scored twice and Charlie Coyle and Mikael Granlund also had goals for the Wild.

Connor Hellebuyck was pulled for the eighth time this season at the end of the second period after stopping 31 of 35 shots for the Jets. Michael Hutchinson made 13 saves in relief.

It was Winnipeg’s second victory in its last six games (2-3-1).

Wild center Eric Staal, playing in his 1,000th career game, was kept off the score sheet.

“Tough under the circumstances the way we’re playing here the last little bit, but in the overall grand scheme it’s a special moment for sure,” Staal said.

Dubnyk stopped 16 shots for the Wild.

Copp and Lowry gave the Jets a 2-0 lead by 5:36 of the opening period, and Chiarot stretched it to 3-0 at 16:47.

Byfuglien made it 4-0 at 4:38 of the second with a long backhand shot, but Coyle thwarted a Hellebuyck shutout with his 16th of the season five minutes later.

Granlund and Stewart scored 39 seconds apart late in the second, with Granlund going first on the power play at 15:08 for his 25th of the season.

Stewart’s second of the game came after he got the puck behind Winnipeg’s net and curled out in front and beat Hellebuyck at 19:47.

The Wild outshot the Jets 21-5 in the middle frame.

NOTES: Staal is the 311th player in league history to reach 1,000 games, and the fifth for the Wild franchise. A 2003 draft pick of Carolina, Staal has only missed 22 games in his career.

Up next

Wild: Start a three-game homestand Tuesday night against San Jose.

Jets: Host Philadelphia on Tuesday night.