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A win is a win, right? Right. A five to two win should impress the hell out of anyone, but it just seemed... lacking. Maybe it is a turkey hangover, being sick, or carry over from the past two games, but they just did not look overly impressive. They dominated a weaker team, which they should do, but it just didn't do much.
To be certain, Martin Havlat was phenomenal, as was Jose Theodore. One Wild fan tweeted Russo a couple days ago that Bob Mason should be under fire for the way his goalies are playing. What a joke. Backstrom and Theodore have been lights out this year, and Theodore did so again today. Thirty two saves, keeping the team up by the large margin they gave him. You can't ask for more.
Havlat had his 30th multi-point game (thanks Russo), and his 18th three point game (thanks Stanzel). Both of Havlat's goals were what can only be described as "hard working" (Sorry Tom) type goals. Both came with a Predator draped on his back, and both were on full out drives to the net. Very impressive night from one of the players that has to have impressive nights for the Wild to succeed.
The new top line of Patrick O`Sullivan - Mikko Koivu - Andrew Brunette played a solid game, and maybe the fact that the Preds were so focused on them is what opened it up a bit for Havlat. O'Sullivan played another very good game. It makes me nervous to read about his lack of work ethic, because I know it has to rear its ugly head eventually, right? Terrifying. Don't do it, Sully. Just keep playing the way you are.
There weren't many negatives in this one, at least from the Minnesota side of the puck. They still gave up more than 30 shots while barely clearing the 20 shot mark themselves. They were out played in the second, yet again, but not as bad as in past games.
Again, being outshot by the Predators is one thing. You can even have some real success against a team that is down in the dumps like the Preds, even if they take 34 shots on goal. It still does nothing to prove that you can play a full game, and it does nothing for the future to continue to give up 30+ shots a game. Hate to bring it up after such a large margin victory, but the shot totals need to come down, or they will go right back in the loss column.
For now, the positives outweigh the negatives, at least for today. Looks like over 1000 mustaches out there for the new world record, and Nick Schultz scored on Movember celebration day. Very cool. Congrats to the Wild, and to Wild fans, for that record.
Hockey Wilderness Three Stars
1. Wild Fans (New world record in support of Movember)
2. Martin Havlat (2G, 1A)
3. Jose Theodore (32 saves)
- Over under for Wild shots is set at 20. How many do they get outshot by? Outshot by 11. Just 23 shots for the Wild today.
- Will Brunette being off the top line do the team any good? Bruno still up there. Mittens down, Sully up. Looked good, too.
- The Wild and Preds matchup pretty well. Can the Wild keep from making them look like the Flyers? Indeed. Solid game for the Wild. Still some things to work on, though.
- Who is the hero, and who is the goat? Hero... Havlat? Theodore? Goat? No one, I guess.
- Can the Wild set their world record tonight? Big time. We'll get you a final count, but they crushed it.
UPDATE: 1209 mustachioed men, crushing the former record of 151. Way to go, Minnesota!