The Minnesota Wild have not had a winning record in the month of December since 2009, two years before Mike Yeo took over as head coach. This season’s final game of the month was a loss to the coach of the Wild at that time. Todd Richards’ Columbus Blue Jackets team scored three unanswered goals over the final 21 minutes of the game for a 3-1 final score Wednesday at Nationwide Arena.
David Savard gave the Blue Jackets the lead for good with a one-time shot off a pass from Kevin Connauton five minutes and 57 seconds into the third period on the power play.
The Blue Jackets (16-16-3) tied the score with 46 seconds remaining in the second period. Connauton snuck a shot through Darcy Kuemper as the Wild’s goaltender was trying to pick up his stick. Kuemper made the initial save, but the puck trickled through his arm and Christian Folin played the puck to the boards. His clearing attempt made its way all the way to Connauton at the side boards just above the hash marks. Jason Pominville was unable to get his stick on the puck and Connauton one-timed it toward the net catching Kuemper reaching for his stick.
Ryan Johansen sealed the victory with an empty-net goal with just under 23 seconds remaining in the third period. The Wild had possession time in the offensive zone prior to the goal, but failed to get the puck to the net and threaten to even the score at 2-2.
The Wild (17-14-4) got on the board first 15 minutes and 58 seconds into the first period. Parise did the honors to move into a tie with Nino Niederreiter for the team lead in both total goals and power play goals this season. Parise lost Fedor Tyutin on the backdoor for a wide open net chip shot. Thomas Vanek started the play by circling the net and passing to Mikko Koivu in front of the net. Koivu one-touch slid it over to Parise.
The Wild return to action Friday against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Xcel Energy Center.
No. 3 – Zach Parise. The Wild forward scored a goal.
No. 2 – Sergei Bobrovsky. The Blue Jackers goaltender stopped .
No. 1 – Kevin Connauton. The Blue Jackets defenseman had a goal and an assist.
Minnesota……1 0 0 – 1
Columbus……0 1 2 – 3
First Period – 12, Minnesota, Parise 14 (Koivu, Vanek), 15:58 (pp). Penalties – Connauton, CBJ (delay of game-puck over glass), 11:40; Wisniewski, CBJ (holding), 15:07.
Second Period – 2, Columbus, Connauton 5 (unnassisted), 19:14. Penalties – Suter, MIN (tripping), 14:55; Prout, CBJ (hooking), 19:56.
Third Period – 3, Columbus, Savard 6 (Connauton, Dubinsky), 5:57. 4, Columbus, Johansen 10 (Dubinsky, Foligno), 19:37 (en). Penalties – Suter, MIN (holding), 4:14; Tyutin, CBJ (interference), 8:13.
Shots on goal – Minnesota 12-5-12 29. Columbus 8-8-10 26.
Goalies – Minnesota, Kuemper (23-25). Columbus, Bobrovsky (28-29). Referees – Frederick L’Ecuyer, Dan O’Halloran. Linesmen – Matt MacPherson, John Grandt.