The Minnesota Wild got thumped by last place Northwest Division rivals Edmonton Oilers in Edmonton last night. The Wild lost 4-2, but it wasn’t due to a lack of shooting effort. The Wild had 40 shots on goal – 40! Niklas Backstrom started in the goal for the Wild and then in a crazed move, coach Jacques Lemaire put in Josh Harding. Lemaire thought that Backstrom was, "a little nervous and out of position."
I watched part of the late game last night and although the Wild defense as a whole didn’t look that great, I certainly didn’t pinpoint Niklas Backstrom as the problem and I was surprised to flip back to FSN late in the third and see Harding in the goal. Perhaps Lemaire was trying to inspire his team? I personally think it was a worthless move and Lemaire would have been better to make dramatic moves regarding line changes and playing time.
Lemaire did make another dramatic uncharacteristic move by pulling Harding early in the third to try and get an extra lineman to put pressure on the Edmonton superstar goalie Mathieu Garon and confuse the entire Oiler team. Nothing seemed to work for the Wild and a disgruntled Jacques Lemaire took his team back to the locker room in a huff. Also, it was interesting to me that Saturday and Sunday nights hero, Brent Burns, played like crap. I hope Lemaire had some choice words for his defensemen...It wasn’t just the goaltending that lost the game!