Remember when the Red Wings would come to town and none of us would watch because we all knew the Wild were going to get smoked? Those days are over, folks.
The Wild dominated every aspect of this game from beginning to end. The Wings looked like they were the Wild of old, lost and confused most of the night.Two forwards in on the forecheck, every player skating hard on the back check, winning battles in the corners, finishing checks, the Wild did it all tonight. All five goals were of the pretty pass and shoot type, most with a gaping net from angles so perfect my grandmother could have buried it.
Not to disappoint the fans, Todd "The Idiot" Bertuzzi was kept from running Harding, was -1 on the night, had no points, and just two SOG. He was a complete and total non-factor in this game. His partner in goonery Brad May matched his numbers, but had three SOG, again, a complete non-factor.
The only two goals of the game for Detroit came from Pavel Datsyuk, and that should not surprise anyone. The guy is simply amazing to watch play the game.
Early on, it looked as though the game would end up 19-18 Wild (TM Tony O), as Antti Miettinen and Datsyuk traded goals back and forth (twice) and Andrew Ebbett added the eventual game winner, all in the first period. The second period was ayawn fest, as both teams sat back a bit, trying to wait out the other for a mistake. However, the Wild would pull away in the third as Patrick Eaves missed a wide open net and hit the post instead, and Koivu fed Havlat for the fourth goal.
By the way, how good does Koivu to Havlat sound to all of you?
Not to be left out of the fun, our new uber scorer Guillaume Latendresse added the fifth goal, breaking his unbelievably long three game pointless streak. After that, things got a bit chippy as the Wings decided it was better to stop trying to win the game, and instead to make their presence known.The teams traded a couple bunches, maybe a couple late hits, but no gloves were dropped.
All in all, it was exactly what Todd Richards wants from this team. A full, honest-to-goodness 60 minute effort.
Hockey Wilderness Three Stars
1. Antti Miettinen (2G, 4 SOG, multiple chances to complete the Hat Trick)
2. Pavel Datsyuk (2G)
3. Josh Harding (26 Saves, only 2 GA)
Questions to Answer:
1. Can the Wild pick up where the left off in the third period and OT of the previous Detroit game, then extended into the Columbus one? Most certainly. Hopefully they can carry this massive momentum into the road trip.
2. With both Josh Harding and Niklas Backstrom nursing injuries, will goaltending be an issue tonight and for the near future? Not tonight. Hards was sharp and stopped quite a few quality chances.
3. Can the Wild stop Todd Bertuzzi from going in all alone time and again tonight? Absolutely. 100%. Completely.
4. Will the three days off do the Wild good or harm? They looked pretty good tonight. Three more days off please.
5. With the Red Wings playing last night, will come out slow and tired? Most of them did indeed look tired. They got absolutely out played, too.