Wild fans threw dozens of hats onto the ice, then Joel Eriksson Ek’s goal got waved off
Luckily for Wild fans, Kirill Kaprizov netted a hat trick of his own a few minutes later.
The first hat hit the ice pretty much the moment Joel Eriksson Ek’s shot crossed the goal line on Wednesday night at Xcel Energy Center.
He had just completed his hat trick, and within a few seconds, dozens of fans removed the hat from atop their head and threw it as far as they possibly could.
It was a perfect way for the Wild to cap off what would eventually go down as a 6-2 win over the St. Louis Blues to even the playoff series at 1-1. Until it wasn’t.
Upon further review, the officials deemed that Marcus Foligno was offside on the play, and, honestly, it wasn’t particularly close.
The goal got waved off, meaning Eriksson Ek’s hat trick was no more. Never mind the thousands of dollars worth of hats that had just been launched onto the ice.
Talk about a buzzkill.
“I don’t care,” Eriksson Ek said with a smile postgame. “It’s about winning. That’s what we want to do. But I think Moose should offer to buy some new hats for all those people.”
Made aware of Eriksson Ek’s comments on Thursday afternoon, Foligno quipped, “Oh. Is that what we’re doing?”
“I’ll see what I can do,” Foligno said. “I think (Jordan Greenway) should chip in then, too, and Ekker for sure should chip in.”
Asked if he felt bad for taking away Eriksson Ek’s hat trick, Foligno joked, “He took away one of my assists.” He then proceeded to throw Greenway under the bus.
“He’s got to dump the puck in quicker,” Foligno said with a laugh. “That’s on Greener. I thought the puck was already in the corner.”
All jokes aside, Foligno praised Eriksson Ek for giving the Wild a major boost.
“He had a great game,” Foligno said. “No matter what, hat trick or not, he was definitely the star of the game for us.”
Luckily for the fans who threw their hats only to have Eriksson Ek’s goal waved off, Kirill Kaprizov completed his hat trick a few minutes later to make sure the celebration wasn’t in vain.
There were even some fans who still had a hat in their possession at that point. They launched them onto the ice shortly after Kaprizov scored.
Many criticized coach Dean Evason’s decision to go back to Marc-Andre Fleury after a Game 1 loss. Those critics thought Cam Talbot might be a better choice for Game 2.
Not that Evason would know. He doesn’t pay attention to that stuff.
“I’m glad I don’t because it’s like, ‘What does it matter?’ ” Evason said. “You know he’s going to respond properly. It’s what he does. It’s how he does it. That’s why we got him here. He clearly is a world-class goaltender that’s won Stanley Cups.”
The response from Fleury was very impressive. He finished with 32 saves as the Wild secured the 6-2 win.
“I think everything went a little better for us as a team,” Fleury said. “That makes me look better.”
After being acquired by the Wild in a blockbuster move at the trade deadline, Fleury is thrilled to be in the playoffs. That wasn’t going to be an option with the Chicago Blackhawks.
“I feel lucky that I can keep playing (and) my season is not over yet,” Fleury said. “I knew this was a very good team, and obviously we’re facing a good team, too. It’s a hard battle. That’s why the wins feel even better.”
While the Wild are healthy for the most part, the Blues are dealing with some injuries, especially on their blue line.
After playing Game 1 without Marco Scandella, Nick Leddy was held out of Game 2, and Robert Bortuzzo left early after being hit in the head by a puck. Will any of those defensemen be ready for Game 3?
“I haven’t seen everybody,” Blues coach Craig Berube said on Thursday afternoon. “I really don’t have an answer.”
In a move that suggests the Blues might be shorthanded moving forward, they recalled defenseman Steven Santini from the Springfield Thunderbirds of the American Hockey League.
With the playoff series tied at 1-1, there will be a Game 5 on Tuesday night at the Xcel Energy Center. The league announced on Thursday that puck drop for Game 5 will be at 8:30 p.m.