NEWARK, N.J. – Goalie Kaapo Kahkonen didn’t make a save till Three minutes, 13 seconds elapsed, a puck he smothered after it was backhanded his approach by the Devils’ Blake Coleman.
It was an essential cease.
In his solely different style of NHL motion, Kahkonen struggled – getting tagged for objectives on the primary two pictures he confronted in a preseason sport in Winnipeg just a few months in the past.
However Tuesday at Prudential Heart, Kahkonen was stout at first and all through the remainder of his NHL debut to nab his first profession win in a Three-2 victory over the Devils.
“I felt actually good from the beginning,” Kahkonen mentioned.
Though the night was a primary for him, Kahkonen mentioned he “felt fairly regular” within the hours main as much as puck drop.
“Though it’s the NHL, it’s nonetheless hockey,” he mentioned. “It’s nonetheless one of many video games you play over the course of the season, so that you’ve acquired to strategy it the identical approach.”
And that poised outlook confirmed up in his play.
Kahkonen ended up recording 32 saves, changing into simply the sixth Wild goalie to register a win in his NHL debut.
“That sport in Winnipeg, that preseason sport the place he had the jitters these first few pictures after which he settled down, I believe that helped him an immense quantity for tonight’s sport that he wasn’t anyplace close to as nervous,” coach Bruce Boudreau mentioned.
After the sport, Kahkonen credited the group for serving to him by getting pucks deep and defending the center.
“They acquired their possibilities from the skin just about,” he mentioned. “Couple higher possibilities, clearly, however that’s going to occur in each sport. General, we did a extremely good job and that made my job quite a bit simpler.”
Defenseman Ryan Suter was one other standout.
After he was beat on the game-winning extra time objective the night time earlier than at Madison Sq. Backyard, Suter assisted on the primary objective – an influence play marker from winger Zach Parise – earlier than scoring the clincher.
Solely Three minutes into the third, Suter pinched after a Wild offensive-zone faceoff win and wired the puck in from the left facet.
Winger Jordan Greenway had arguably the best-looking end of the sport: a glove-side shot after he lower to the center on a partial break into the Devils’ zone.
“[Linemate Joel Eriksson Ek] made a terrific play within the impartial zone and turned the puck over and type of got here up with me and drove the web and took their ‘D’ away,” Greenway mentioned of his third objective of the season. “Just a bit backhand, forehand shot for me, and it discovered its approach into the web.”
From a group perspective, probably the most vital takeaway from Tuesday was its resiliency.
The group didn’t get down when the Devils’ first objective counted although it ought to have been wiped off the board after the Wild challenged for the excessive stick by Wayne Simmonds that led to Jesper Boqvist’s tally.
And it didn’t fade late within the third prefer it did the earlier two video games on the journey, collapses that spilled over into extra time the place the group misplaced.
As an alternative, the Wild fended off the Devils.
“I really feel like we type of discovered from these video games somewhat bit,” Kahkonen mentioned. “I really feel like we stored making the easy performs. It sounds boring, however in one-goal lead, 5 minutes no matter it’s left within the sport, you simply have to try this. We didn’t take that penalty that I suppose we did within the final couple video games, in order that helped clearly.”
By progressing, the Wild wrapped up the journey 1-Zero-2 whereas additionally extending its season-high level streak to seven video games (Four-Zero-Three).
“You permit these final two video games fairly down, video games we had been in charge of and felt we must always have left with extra,” Parise mentioned. “However to complete the journey with a win, get 4 out of a attainable six, I believe you must take a look at and say, ‘It is a good street journey.’”
Kahkonen making NHL debut tonight as Wild closes out street journey