The Wild came out flat as can be tonight, but were saved time and again in the first period by the outstanding goaltending of Josh Harding. He was beaten on a breakaway by Todd Bertuzzi, but stopped another breakaway and made two saves on a 2 on 0 shorthanded break. Unfortunately, Harding tweaked something in his hip on that series and was visibly shaken, but finished the period before giving way to Niklas Backstrom.
Backstrom performed better than he had in the previous week, allowing one tough goal and one relatively easy one, but did enough to keep the Wild in a game in which they were outplayed for 37 minutes and absolutely dominated the second half of the second and the final 13 plus all five of the overtime.
The Wild came out slowly in each of the three periods, were outshot 11-3 in the first, came on strong in the end of the second to take the advantage in shots 13-7, then gave up the first nine of the third before ending on a 6-1 stretch in which they scored twice. Then in the overtime, outshooting the Red Wings 8-1, they had numerous chances to win, but couldn't beat Jimmy Howard, who saved the game twice.
Robbie Earl scored again, but this time it was by deflecting Shane Hnidy's shot off his chest and in. Martin Havlat was credited with the second goal after Kyle Brodziak's shot went off his skate, then Andrew Brunette's goal was scored after he gloved the puck and dropped it to his stick as he batted it in past Howard. None of the goals were what you would call pretty, unlike the Todd Bertuzzi, Patrick Eaves and Drew Miller markers, but they served their purpose and showed that crashing the net and applying pressure works wonders.
In the eight-round shootout, both teams looked tired, as only five of the 16 attempts went in, but in the end, it was Drew Miller who sent the home crowd home disappointed with only the one point.
It was a tough loss, but one in which the Wild looked to have given the game away, so to get out with the one point is a nice consolation.
- What was your favorite moment of the Petr Sykora era? When he was announced as a scratch tonight and the people around me at the game laughed.
- How will Brent Burns look in his first game back? On the ice for two goals against and two goals for. He wasn't horrible, he wasn't great. Got caught in too deep a couple times, but he didn't look out of shape or afraid to take the body, which is a positive.
- Will we see Josh Harding settle down and look good for the third outing in a row? He looked fantastic in the first period, allowing a tough goal, but making three incredible saves, including two on a shorthanded 2 on 0, in which he strained his hip, and left the game at the end of the first. No word on his status yet.
- With the top line reassembled, will they see success? Andrew Brunette's goal was a thing of beauty, but other than that, they looked a bit tired and out of touch. By the end of the game, Mikko Koivu was absolutely gassed, which is likely why he looked so weak in the shootout. He has 21:46, but was moving like he played over 30.
- Can the Wild get the good feeling with some home cooking and put the road trip behind them? It took a long time to warm up, but once again, they made a fantastic comeback, that fell just short in the shootout.