Sometimes teams dominate from the start, sometimes they have to claw their way back and hope for the momentum to swing in their direction as they do so. Tonight was definitely the latter for the Wild.
After the Wild spotted the Ducks a two-goal lead twice, each time it was the Antti Miettinen - Mikko Koivu - Andrew Brunette line who put the squad on their backs to keep the Wild in the game and force the extra session where the Wild won in the shootout on goals by Miettinen and Guillaume Latendresse.
This was an exciting game to be sure, and it's great to get these kinds of wins, but wow, this defense needs to pick things up, and the blame certainly cannot be pointed at Greg Zanon and Marek Zidlicky. Zanon was a +1 in 29:32 and Zidlicky was a +2 with two assists and two PIM in 30:42. These two are feeding off each other very well. Wilderness writer mbennett and I were discussing these two tonight, and I think he had a great point.:
I think Zid is learning from Zanon (on positional defense) and I think the trust in Zanon allows Zid to go in on offense
I couldn't agree more. These two are feeding off each other, and with this pairing being so solid right now, it allows the forwards, especially the Koivu line tonight, to play deeper, forecheck harder and get more aggressive in the offensive zone. It clearly showed tonight, especially late in the game.
Please read the game recap over at Anaheim Calling
Hockey Wilderness Three
Questions to Answer
- Will this look like a battle of the cellar? Sloppy play, weak defense, but definitely not boring.
- Can Latendresse and Ebbett continue to play with the chip on their shoulder? Lats had a simply fantastic shootout winner but no shots in 17:53. Ebbett was a -1 in 13:33 and had 4 PIM, but they worked each shift.
- Does Martin Havlat bounce back? Who?
- Will the Wild continue their "hot streak"? Well, we'll take the shootout win and points in the sixth straight game, but this defense needs to get it together. The offense is finally clicking, but the D is the big question mark right now.
- Can the Wild keep Corey Perry, Bobby Ryan and Ryan Getzlaf off the scoresheet? Getzlaf had three assists, Bobby Ryan had two goals and Corey Perry had an assist. That line is simply fantastic.