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Sweet For Shaw

Wild forward Mason Shaw scored his first goal in more than a year.

Mason Shaw has come back from four ACL injuries throughout his hockey career, including three during his time with the Minnesota Wild organizaiton. (MHM Photo / Rick Olson)

ST. PAUL — It was 90s Night for the Minnesota Wild game against the Ottawa Senators. The evening featured special 1990s-themed elements throughout the game at Xcel Energy Center, including a video montage and plenty of 90s Jock Jams throughout the night.

Fifteen players on each active roster for the Wild and Senators were born in that decade, including two of the three Wild goal scorers. Those two scorers also came from the Wild’s productive fourth line in a 3-2 victory to secure two points as Minnesota is still technically not out of the playoff hunt.

Defenseman Zach Bogosian set up left-wing Mason Shaw perfectly with a cross-ice pass to the slot in the first period for a 1-0 lead. Shaw directed the puck into the net for his first goal since March 21, 2023, in New Jersey. It was a meaningful moment in multiple ways for Shaw, a player who’s come back from multiple significant injuries.

The goal was a big relief, even if he would have liked to get that first goal a little sooner since his return.

“Anytime you can help the team on the scoresheet this time of year it feels good,” Shaw said. “That’s probably one I’ll remember for sure. That was special.”

The goal was the eighth of the 25-year-old’s NHL career.

On the play, Bogosian brought the puck in with speed and said he saw Shaw “kind of creeping in on their backdoor a little bit.” The setup was something Bogosian said they work on in practice.

“Bogo must have had a little marinara sauce on there,” said fourth-line right-wing Vinni Lettieri. “It was great. It was an awesome pass, right on the tape – and Shawsie made no mistake.”

Mason Shaw scored his first NHL goal in more than a year this week. He’s dealt with multiple ACL injuries before returning to the NHL ice. (MHM Photo / Rick Olson)

Bogosian talked about what a good person and teammate Shaw is in the Wild locker room. Even before Shaw was called up and Bogosian, who’s relatively newer to the Wild team, said he heard teammates talk about Shaw quite a bit, something that’s rare.

Shaw getting the goal Tuesday was huge for him and the team.

“I know it’s been a long road for him and a long journey back,” Bogosian said. “We’re pumped for him.”

Shaw has become a bit of an inspirational story within the organization. He’s had four ACL surgeries in total and has torn an ACL three times while with the Minnesota Wild Organization. The Wild selected Shaw in the fourth round of the 2017 NHL Draft. He worked his way back to the NHL ice, with the Wild signing him on Feb. 15. He’s played in 13 games this season, also adding an assist in the March 3 game against San Jose.

Wild rookie defenseman Brock Faber noted the long road it’s been for Shaw, mentally and physically, so he was happy to see his teammate get a goal.

“I’m sure not many people thought he was going to play another NHL game, much less score in an NHL game,” Faber said. “So, nothing but happy for him. That’s really cool to be able to share that with him.”

Not the Wild’s greatest game
Despite the feel-good moment for Shaw, the Wild didn’t have their best game, getting consistently outshot each period and failing to capitalize on the power play while Ottawa – which came in with a power play scoring at a 17.5% clip ranking 26th in the NHL, and 16% (25th rank) on the road – pumped in both of its goals with the man advantage. Not much Wild goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury could do to stop either of those shots by Drake Batherson and Jakob Chychrun.

Defenseman Brock Faber was happy for his teammate, Mason Shaw, on scoring a goal after his long road back to the NHL. (MHM Photo / Rick Olson)

Still, the Wild took a 2-1 lead into the third period. Matt Boldy scored in the high slot only 49 seconds into the second period. Lettieri scored his fourth goal of the season and first since Dec. 18 with a backhand shot for the eventual game-winner with about seven minutes to play in the third period.

One of the Wild’s patterns this season is taking a slim lead into third periods but not being able to close out victories, letting opponents back in for either the victory or forcing overtime. Tuesday, the Wild got the job done thanks to its fourth line, getting the go-ahead goal when they needed it and holding on for the one-goal margin of victory instead of defeat this time, as happened over the weekend with a 2-1 overtime loss to the Vegas Golden Knights.

But Wild coach John Hynes didn’t seem overly pleased with how his team reversed the trend against the Senators.

“I think we scored the goal, but I still think our game in general needs to be tightened up in a lot of areas going into Colorado,” Hynes said. The Wild host Colorado in St. Paul on Thursday evening.

He added that his team “found a way to get a goal” in the third period, while also getting some key saves from Fleury, particularly on a shorthanded breakaway chance for Ottawa and then nearly two minutes of 6-on-5 at the end of regulation when the Senators pulled their goaltender.

“We’ve got to continue to grow in that area of understanding playing winning hockey and what it takes to win regularly and at times we stray from it,” Hynes said. “We stray from it sometimes in games, and I thought tonight we strayed from it in a lot of different areas throughout the game.”

Heather's love for watching hockey started when the Minnesota Wild came to town in 2000. Before that, she caught a few Minnesota Moose games as a youngster, and more recently she's kept up with the Austin Bruins and Fargo Force. She's a writer, freelance journalist and blogger who previously worked as a news reporter in Austin and Fergus Falls, Minn. She enjoys watching sports and closely follows the Wild, Minnesota Twins, IndyCar Series, tennis and prep sports. Heather keeps up her sports blog Thoughts from the Stands. You can follow her on Twitter/X @hlrule or Instagram @hlrule.

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