Minnesota Wild 3 - 1 Colorado Avalanche
This picture tells the story tonight. Were it not for the stellar play of Niklas Backstrom (36 shots, 35 saves), the Wild would have lost to an inferior Colorado Avalanche team. Nice to see Pierre-Marc Bouchard get back on the score sheet. He's been stricken with "unlucky bounce-itis" lately. Pucks aren't finding their way onto his stick. Tonight he took advantage of his chance.
Oh, and Darcy Tucker is nothing but a cheap-shot artist.
"My concern is at the end of the second, he tells me he's going to come and take out my knees, and then he actually does it," said Schultz, who got into a verbal exchange after a physical exchange late in the second. "It says everything you need to know about that guy."
"In the game right now, we're lacking respect for each other and to go and do something like that I think is not respecting one of the guys you're playing against. He's been that type of player his whole career, and you don't need that in the game. It's something we're trying to get away from -- hits to the head and taking out guys' knees. It's just a gutless play."
Tucker has a history of low hits, the most infamous when he took out Michael Peca's knees during the 2002 playoffs. Peca tore both his medial collateral and anterior cruciate ligaments.
Look for Derek Boogaard to wipe Darcy Tucker off the map in the next meeting, especially if the NHL doesn't suspend Tucker for his cheap-shot antics. There's no place for him in the NHL.
Hockey Wilderness Three Stars
- Niklas Backstrom (36 shots, 35 saves - just another night for Nik)
- Marek Zidlicky (2 assists - thanks for tripling your point total)
- Pierre-Marc Bouchard (1 goal - Welcome back)
Questions to Answer
- Where the hell is Pierre-Marc Bouchard? Apparently he just needed to be the focus of the blogosphere to find his game again.
- Where is the vaunted Wild defense? After giving huge numbers of shots in the last four games, they need to shut the Avs down tonight. Still way too many shots, especially after getting the first 8 of the game. Against a better team, this will kill them (see: San Jose).
- Will the power play let the Wild down again? 1/3 tonight. I'll take 33%.
- Will Kolanos build on a solid first showing? He was in the mix tonight. Didn't make any mistakes, and played a solid game. Just didn't get the bounces tonight.
- Which will last longer, Gaborik's injury or the Franken/Coleman recount? Considering that the AMA line was outstanding again, and the Senate race is far from over, I'm hoping the Senate race lasts much longer.
- Andrew Brunette scored a goal in his first game back in Colorado. He was looking forward to getting the game done and getting out of town, so it was nice to see him pop one in.
- The Avalanche have lost five straight.
- Brunette played in his 800th game and 465th straight, the longest active streak in the NHL.
- Pierre-Marc Bouchard ended a five-game scoreless streak by scoring 3 minutes, 35 seconds into the game.
What the team is saying
"Our goaltender was super," coach Jacques Lemaire said. "It's funny. You look at him, at times you have so much confidence, you don't feel that they'll score against him. It's a great feeling when you see your goaltender like that. He was the big reason [we won] tonight."
"I'm glad it's over," Brunette, playing his 800th game, said of his return to Colorado.
We knew this was a team that was looking to get back on track," Lemaire said. "When you don't win enough games, you get fragile and we took advantage of it at the start."
"We kept taking penalties and got in trouble," Bouchard said. "We gave them life and momentum."
"I feel good," Backstrom said. "It's fun to play like this. I enjoy every day coming to the rink, even if it's practice. It's fun. That's the way hockey should be. Usually when you have fun, the better you play."
What others are saying
"We've got to be ready for the start of the game. We have to dictate how the game is going to be played," Granato said. "We can't go around seeing how the game is going to be played"
"I don't know what to say," Avs defender Ruslan Salei said. "We've got to come out ready to play, especially in our building. We can't spot a team a couple of goals before we start working. We've just got to bear down. It's never fun, and it's frustrating losing like this. But we have to go to work, try to stay positive and learn from your mistakes, and just be better."
The game in pictures