Attacking the Blues, Matt Boldy of the Wild hit the crossbar after scoring against goalie Jordan Binnington on Tuesday night, an energizing moment amid the presence of parents in the crowd.
However, the true motivation seemed to stem from playing under the guidance of a new coach. While the Blues had their fathers in attendance at Xcel Energy Center, it was the Wild who secured a 3-1 victory, breaking their daunting seven-game losing streak as Hynes took charge.
“There’s a sense of starting anew for this team and the organization,” mentioned goaltender Filip Gustavsson. “Playing well in front of a new coach adds a bit of pressure, driving us to prove ourselves.”
The Wild made an impressive impact from the onset. Breaking away from their slump, coinciding with the firing of Dean Evason and assistant Bob Woods, the team showcased improvements, notably a flawless penalty kill, including during a critical four-minute St. Louis power play in the third period. Moreover, the scoring load was not solely on Joel Eriksson Ek, with contributions from Frederick Gaudreau and Matt Boldy, ending their respective goal droughts.
“Today’s mindset was about enjoying the game’s process without fixating on the outcome,” mentioned Hynes. “We aimed to establish an identity to build upon, and I believe we succeeded.”
This win epitomized the Wild’s trademark style. They exhibited staunch defense, capitalized on offensive opportunities, and proved challenging for their opponents.
— Minnesota Wild (@mnwild) November 29, 2023
“We showcased better puck movement and increased speed,” Hynes noted. “Our adjustments made the puck carrier work quicker, leading to a faster-paced game.”
Identifying areas for improvement even before the game, Hynes aims to further shape the team’s playing style in the upcoming days, starting with their first practice under his leadership before their trip to Nashville.
“It was a pleasure to see the team perform the way they did,” said Hynes, expressing gratitude to the players. “The win was rewarding, but their performance made the coaching job easier.”
Sarah McLellan, covering the Wild and NHL, joined the Star Tribune in November 2017 after spending five years reporting on the Coyotes for The Arizona Republic.