Minnesota Wild 2 - 1 Calgary Flames
For the Calgary perspective, please visit Matchsticks and Gasoline
The Minnesota Wild have completely turned the tables on the Flames over the last few seasons. They are now 7-1-0 against Calgary in the last eight games. Frankly, impressive turnaround.
Oh, and this happened
What can I say about tonight's game? Well. the kids didn't embarrass themselves too badly. Martin Havlat played on the penalty kill, and scored a goal, proving Allan Walsh to be a seer and a visionary. Niklas Backstrom continued his hot streak. Have we seen the return of Niklas Backstrom?
Oh, and Jay Bouwmeester, what have you done with Jay Bouwmeester?
The biggest problem with this team right now? It's not effort. It's not goaltending. It's not scoring. It's an inability to connect on a pass, especially at speed. Time and again the passes are too far in front of a guy, or in his feet and it kills the rush. Martin Havlat ends up kicking the puck far too often, and it likely has to do with a lack of a puck moving defenseman and uncertainty with the puck. No matter what the problem, this is why there is a lack off offense. They can't get into the zone with speed and can't connect with numbers.
The Wild power play has not exactly been proficient since the first weeks of the season, but because of the hot start are still second in the NHL. Either way, it's certainly important to their success. In fact, they are 5-2-1 when scoring on the power play. Well, tonight the Wild went 0-for-2 on the power play, winning its first game of the season (1-2-1) when failing to score a PPG.
Game Notes (Courtesy Wild PR):
- Matt Cullen recorded his 300th career NHL assist.
- Martin Havlat scored his first goal in 15 games dating back to March 29 against Los Angeles.
- The Wild end a tough homestand 3-1-1. I'm surprised.
- Niklas Backstrom is 6-3-2 with a 1.80 GAA and a .941 SV% this season
Hockey Wilderness Three Stars:
- Niklas Backstrom (33 saves)
- Martin Havlat (1 G)
Cal Clutterbuck (1 G)
- Koivu has a seven game point streak. Does that continue? No.
- Can the amped up Wild defense keep Iginla from netting a hat trick? Iginla was a non-factor. He had guys in his pocket all night long. He couldn't get free.
- Does the fourth line crack the six minutes of TOI mark? Matt Kassian 5:09, Brad Staubitz 5:50, Cody Almond 5:56.
- Does the pattern of up-down-up-down continue? It does indeed.
- Does Matt Kassian get his first NHL fight? Not for lack of trying. He tried to go and couldn't get a partner