A decent game, again, not great, but one to grow off of. As Nate managed to steal my thunder after game 1, I thought I would pop in and push my flag into the ground on game two.
Here are the three reasons the wild won, and the three reasons they could have lost...
Why the Wild won:
1) Strong Forecheck: I was running along on the game thread last night, and while typing some non-sensical things, I did put one amazing observation in there...Andrew Brunette killed nearly 19 seconds of the third period, single-handedly, on the forecheck. Combine that with Gaborik's stellar stick lift/shot on goal, which came about because of the forecheck, we have a reason why the wild won!
2) Disciplined Play: With the exception of Antti forgetting where his stick was (but the two goals helped me forget that), I think the Wild played a very disciplined game. While they had penalties, it seemed that the PP generated very little momentum for Atlanta, while the PP truly helped the Wild. The lack of extra-curriculurs were nice to see, and even Sheppard who was pushing and shoving after the high-stick contained himself enough to not get an even-up penalty. Well done troops, well done.
3) Backstrom: He looked solid. S-O-L-I-D. The two goals allowed were not on him...when three of your 5 guys go over to play pattycake with the D-man, leaving Ilya on the doorstep with Martin Skoula as his chaperone, bad things will happen. And the second goal was a perfect pass and deflection, Im not convinced that any goalie could have made that stop. Well done Cap'N Backstrom...Gold star for you.
Why the Wild Could Have Lost:
1) Lack of shots in Period 1: Was it me, or were they trying to look a little too cute out there in the first period? Shoot, shoot and shoot. What could it hurt, it may go in! The wild were fortunate to get the PP goal in the first, cause nothing else was going for them at all.
2) Porous Defense: If anyone that reads this site has a way to remind players that checking is not only legal, but encouraged, I would appreciate that message being sent. There were at least five times that a Thrasher got in towards goal when a good old shoulder or hip would have done the trick. I like clean, physical hockey...and checking is a part of that. Had one of those players who got through been able to score, the game complexion would have been totally different.
3) Injuries: PMB goes home, Owen Nolan to be evaluated, and Zidlicky still not seeing the ice. As memory serves me, this is game two, and we all know it is not a question of if, but rather when Gabby hurts his groin. The role-players stepped up nicely into the holes which were created, but I would be just fine not having to see Erik Reitz as an everyday D-man for much longer...and 1/2 Boogey (he wears number 12, which is half of 24...forget it) didnt impress too much either. Luckily the wild played Atlanta, and not the wings yesterday.
There it is...thoughts? Jokes?