Yet another nail-biter for the Wild. After giving up an early goal to Patrick Sharp, the Wild bounced back in the second period, scoring twice on their four shots in that period. Then the third followed suit with the Buffalo and Columbus games, giving up a late goal and holding on for dear life in the last minutes of the game. All-in-all, it was a nice win, and the guys seemed to like that.
Questions to Answer
- If they get a lead, can they actually keep it in the 3rd? Luckily yes, though Brent Burns gave us all a heart attack with that horrible pass leading to Duncan Keith's goal.
- Will youth be served or is this one up to the gritty vets? The vets win again. Antti Miettinen, Andrew Brunette and Owen Nolan looked awfully good tonight, and Mikko is absolutely on fire. The Wild absolutely shut down the Blackhawks kids last night, and it was great to see.
- Will tonight be the night the PK finally gives one up? Nope. 22 for 22 so far! Per Elias Sports Bureau, the Wild is the first NHL team to go the first seven games of the season without allowing a power play goal since the 1962-63 Toronto Maple Leafs. The last teams to go eight games to begin a season without yielding a power play goals were Detroit (eight games) and Montreal (10 games) in the 1955-56 season.
- Where or where have Antti and Bruno gone? Seriously? Anyone? They were back in a vengeance last night. The AMA line looked outstanding tonight. They have clearly set themselves apart as the top line.
- Does Secord still suck? Yes, and always. Bastard.
Hockey Wilderness Three Stars
- Niklas Backstrom (36 shots, 34 saves)
- Mikko Koivu (3 assists)
- Antti Miettinen (1 goal, 1 assist)
- Brent Burns left the game with an injury, but boarded to plane for Dallas today, so hopefully all is well.
- The Wild is now 12-1-4 over the past season-plus when Burns scores a goal, 18-2-4 since the beginning of the 2006-07 season and 21-3-4 since 2005-06.
- Mikko Koivu has assisted on 12 of the Wild’s 22 non- shootout goals this season, and also has a goal scored. Minnesota improved to 19-4-3 all-time when Koivu has two or more points.
- Minnesota (6-0-1), which is now the only NHL team without a loss in regulation after Buffalo lost 5-2 to Ottawa.
What the team is saying
“Five on three was huge, especially against that team,” said Wild head coach Jacques Lemaire, whose team was holding a 2-1 advantage at the time. “They’ve got good players there, and it was scary, really. The guys did it.”
"I can see the puck really good now," said Backstrom, "The guys are helping me a lot. They are blocking shots and making me see the pucks, and if I leave a rebound, they're clearing it."
"A few lines were not as good with the puck. Maybe that's why we spent a lot of time in our end," Lemaire said.
“It’s better not to think about it,” said Koivu, who has notched at least three points in a game seven times in his career. “Individually and as a line, you’ve just got to focus and find a way every night.”
What others are saying
"He's turning out to be quite a player," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said of Koivu.
“I always feel if you don’t score on a 5-on-3 that you don’t deserve to win the game, and that’s generally the result,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said.
"We outshot them, but I don't think we played the way we intended to," said Patrick Sharp. "We thought that we tried to make too many cute plays, centering pucks into their defensive zone coverage, and it cost us."
"We did a lot of things well, but at the same time we did talk about the way they play and the way that we needed to play against that," Duncan Keith said. "We kind of played right into their hands."
And my favorite:
"I don't think we really tested them too much," Sharp said. "We got some pucks toward the net, but we didn't have the traffic and bodies in front. He's a world-class goaltender. He's going to make those saves from the outside. It's something we need to learn from."
Umm, Patrick, 36 shots isn't testing a goalie? Okay.
From ChicagoTribune's RosenBlog
Brian Campbell is the Blackhawks' defenseman who got the big money, but I'm thinking he didn't get it to make big mistakes like he did in yet another road loss, this one in Minnesota.
Campbell was signed as a free agent mainly to quarterback a killer power play and create a better offensive rush, and there in the first period, making a brilliant cross-slot pass to Patrick Sharp to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead.
After that, yeesh.
Campbell looked like he had no idea where he was or who might be dangerous at the end of a Wild power play in the first period. Turns out, Campbell was at the far post. Turns out, so was Andrew Brunette. Campbell floated out of the way. Goal, Wild, come on.
Then in the second period, Campbell tried one of those spinneramas, but fell down, lost the puck and gave up an odd-man rush. Goal, Wild, come on.
The Hawks also had a two-man advantage for 67 seconds when down 2-1 in the second period. This is supposed to be where Campbell is supposed to make the biggest difference for $50 million.
But, nothing. Come on.
The game in pictures
Tom Reid Interview with Niklas Backstrom