Ok folks...Im gonna' say it...and you may not like it...the Wild shouldn't have won that game. Simply put, they were out shot, out chanced, out played. Tampa missed some open nets, and should have ended up with the two points. But, with that, they won...and sometimes ya need a bit of luck. Here are my three things from this evening's contest.
Why the Wild won-
1) Captain Backstrom: I haven't seen Nik on his game like this for some time. I mean, wow. He was covering side to side, the butterfly was stellar, and he was at the top of the crease challenging shooters. Combined with his co-goalie, there was great keeping tonight.
2) Penalty Kill: This squad was absolutely amazing. They continue to be amazing, and hopefully they can be this way for the remainder of the season. Probably not gonna happen, but, a guy can hope. Three cheers for the PK!
3) Eric Belanger's defense: Not only was his back checking top notch tonight, Eric made two saves tonight with his co-goalie Nik Backstrom. The way he went down and stacked his legs was impressive, but his diving soccer style "penalty kick" save was quite impressive. Nevermind the fact that replays showed that the puck on that save was going nowhere near the net...it was very entertaining and the willingess to give up the body is something I love seeing from this team.
Why the Wild could have lost-
1) Power Play: (0/7) is a bad stat on the PP. The previous games the PP has been solid, but tonight was quite poor. I mean, I dont expect a (3/4) every night, but with seven chances, you need to hit the twine.
2) Offensive Zone time of possession: I didn't time this, but I swear to god the Lightning were in the Wild zone, and cycling for an average of 20-35 seconds per shift, and the wild went into the tampa zone, took one shot, or dumped it in, and ran back to play defense. There was no sustained pressure at all coming from the wild offense and that simply will not cut it as the season continues.
3) Playing one scoring line: I am fairly certain that neither Barry Melrose nor any Tampa Bay player was concerned when any line not called "Brunette/Koivu/Miettinen" skated tonight. I mean, you need to have two scoring lines, and tonight I dont think Sheppard/Veilleux cut it as a scoring line. Oh, and I would have been shaking in my boots seeing Weller and Boogey coming at me...but not from fear that a puck was going in the net. The Wild need to get PMB and Nolan back, and figure out what the hell to do with Gabby. They can't afford to be a one trick pony on the offensive side of the puck.
This is what I saw tonight...anyone agree? Disagree?