Please visit Jewels From The Crown for enemy perspective.
This game was amazing. A first period that was so boring that coffee was falling asleep, followed by two periods of physical, sometimes angry, hockey. The Wild had a 20-9 edge in hits, with Clutterbuck having five. That means fifteen hits came from someone other than Clutterbuck. Even James Sheppard had a big hit that knocked a helmet off.
There were beautful passes capped by (gasp!) shots on goal. There were two power play goals. Two, people. The penalty kill was phenomenal, killing two 5-on-3s, one of which was a full two minutes long. Greg Zanon earned his Zuperman cape tonight, blocking shot after shot, despite no one really understands why he is even out there still.
The scoring, and the game for that matter, started in the second period. Owen Nolan buried a pass from Martin Havlat on the power play for a very pretty goal, though likely considered a soft goal by Kings fans. Quick had no shot at it, but the Kings defense simply stopped playing. Brent Burns added a goal on a sick move, deking the d-man for the Kings and skating around another Kings player that looked shockingly like Martin Skoula.
The Kings would answer back on a goal from Scott Parse that deflected off of Casey Wellman's stick. That one mistake was apparently enough to end Wellman's night because he never set foot on the ice after that. Wellman looked to be playing fairly well up to that point, save for choosing to pass to John Scott rather than shoot on a 2-on-1 break. Harsh move by Richards.
The third period saw the physical game ratcheted up a bit, with both teams trading big hits.Scott Parse added his second goal of the game, tying the game at two, but the Wild continued a hard forecheck and answered back. Martin Havlat scored the second power play goal of the night, and the sounds of the seals of the apocalypse breaking could be heard.
The third also saw the Wild take two minor penalties at the same time, leading to a 5-on-3 for a full two minutes. Greg Zanon was super human on the kill, and when Backstrom froze the puck after the penalty time expired, Zanon collapsed on the ice momentarily, and the crowd erupted.
All in all, the Wild looked like a team desperately fighting to make the playoffs. The only adversary they absolutely cannot defeat in the math textbook explaining the odds of them making the post season. Trust me. It can't happen. Every member of the Wilderness community will win the lottery before the Wild make the playoffs this season.
Still, good game. Fun to watch.
Hockey Wilderness Three Stars of the Game:
1. Greg Zanon (6 official blocked shots, 22:32 TOI)
2. Scott Parse (2G, 2SOG in just 11:37 TOI)
3. Niklas Backstrom (29 saves)
Five Questions to Answer:
1. This is an injured Wild team. Why bother playing anyone who is even remotely close to hurt? There's nothing to gain. I have no answer for this, but watching Zanon was amazing.
2. If Prosser gets to play, how will he look? No Prosser tonight.
3. Can Guillaume Latendresse continue his march to 30 goals? Nothing tonight. Fairly invisible, actually.
4. The Wild haven't been able to stop the Kings offense for the past two seasons. Will tonight be any different? They didn't stop it, but they won.
5. Can Owen Nolan surpass Peter Forsberg on the NHL scoring chart tonight? (He needs 2 points) Tied him. Next game. Count it.