Minnesota Wild 4-3 (ot) Philadelphia Flyers
Another game against an Eastern Conference opponent, another win. The Wild are 10-4-4 against teams from the East versus 26-28-2 against the West. Last season Minnesota was 12-5-1 against the East. Makes one wonder where this franchise would be if they were in the East.
Once again tonight, the Wild found themselves down early. After goals by Oskars Bartulis and Simon Gagne at 3:39 and 4:18, the Wild were looking uphill, and outshot 12-3 in the first period. Looking at the way this team has played this season, and with captain Mikko Koivu out with an injury to his arm, you would have been excused if you decided to turn it off and watch something else. But, this was an Eastern conference opponent, and the Wild seem to find a way to get back in the game against teams from the East.
Tonight was no exception. Just 34 seconds into the second, Marek Zidlicky was set up on the power play by Antti Miettinen and Martin Havlat and fired a slap shot home to bring the game within 1. The Flyers fought back by taking control, amassing 17 shots in the second, and pushing the lead back to two goals on a Dan Carcillo goal after a bad turnover by Havlat. Heading into the locker room after two periods down 3-1 and trailing 29-14 in shots to a playoff team, the Wild would need to come out guns blazing in the third to prove to themselves that they can play the role of spoiler.
At the 6:37 mark of the third period, Havlat returned the favor,after a turnover by Carcillo in a bad position, and a nice pass by Guillaume Latendresse, then buried the puck past Brian Boucher. Then it appeared as if John Scott tied the game with a goal with 6:27 left in the third, though the goal would later be credited to Andrew Brunette on a deflection.
Then in the overtime, Kyle Brodziak, one of four Wild players who have played in every game this season, fired a shot at Boucher that the Philadelphia mishandled, and it squirted out of his love, over his shoulder and into the net for an improbable overtime win.
While the Wild aren't likely to make the playoffs, it's nice to see them regroup after being down early, fight back and get a win. Maybe they can continue to play spoiler and show some signs for next season.
Feel free to read the winning recap at Broad Street Hockey
Hockey Wilderness Three:
- Kyle Brodziak (1 G)
- Martin Havlat (1 G, 1 A)
- Oskars Bartulis (1 G)
Five Questions to Answer:
- Is Brent Burns going to be as bad tonight as he was against San Jose? Well, he wasn't a -4, so that's an improvement. Instead he was a -1 on over 25 minutes TOI.
- Will the Wild dominance against the East continue? It certainly did. The East just isn't impressive at all outside of New Jersey, Washington and Pittsburgh.
- Lats is a game-time decision, if he can't go, look for Cody Almond. Honestly, why would you bother trying to push a guy when this team is out of the playoffs? Turns out Lats was good to go, played 15:25 and got a big assist.
- Will the new blind-side hit rule come into play against a "physical" team? Kyle Brodziak certainly felt the brunt of a massive shot, though he was able to come back and get the winner.
- Why haven't you signed up for Friday night's NHL Tweetup/Hockey Wilderness Watching Party at Campus Pizza? Seriously, join us. I have swag from the NHL.