For Nashville perspective, please visit On the Forecheck
First off... from Russo on Twitter:
#mnwild G Niklas Backstrom has a strained hip flexor. He's back in Minnesota, will rest 4-5 days and is possible for next road trip
Hats off to Nashville. They knew what they wanted to do, and they did it. Completely unimpeded for most of the night, the Predators put the puck on net, crashed the rebounds, and won the battles. They played solid defensively, and Pekka Rinne was stellar on the few chances the Wild did get. All around, the Preds looked like a fourth place team, and a team on a five game winning streak.
The Wild, on the other hand, were lost. Three players completely cost them this game, and despite the effort being there for the most part, they all looked like they were in third gear in an over drive game. Jose Theodore was horrible tonight. If it was fatigue, or just an off night, I don't know, but at least two goals were completely preventable with a basic NHL goaltender save.
No. I can't make the saves he needed to. But he can, and he needs to, or he serves no purpose.
Marco Scandella also had a bad evening. That is a couple game where he has been off. Hopefully that is just a slump, and he can find a way out of it. Just so long as it isn't some kind of hockey guilt for hurting Backstrom, he is should be OK. It's Back's hip, Pizza, not his knee. It's not your fault. Move on.
Cam Baker was... well... he was Cam Barker. He was missing passes, two of which led to great chances, and one of which led to the fifth goal. He was not shooting when he should, and shooting when he shouldn't be. It was a bad game all around for Mr. Barker, as he fell back into his old patterns. He was a -1, which should be a -2, but he got a plus for putting his skate blade on the ice as Koivu scored the Wild's lone goal.
Brent Burns, in his inaugural All Star tour, was a minus 3, as was Scandella. Thirteen Wild players were a minus on the evening. Not a good night.
The two positives I saw in this game were Koivu's goal, and the lifting of Theodore. Koivu's goal was a typical pissed off Finn goal. Drive the net, cut back, being checked, backhanded roof shot. Beautiful.
The pulling of Theodore was nice to see. Not because I wanted Theo pulled, but it was good to see Richards pull a struggling goalie before he gave up double digits. That is progress. Also good to see Anton Khudobin get some minutes. My guess, that was a tune up for a start on Friday, though the amount of faith the have shown in Borat is slightly less than the faith I have in society.
Put it away, folks. It's over. Nothing can be done about it now. Wild fall back in the standings, and do not play again for three days. Could erase most of the gains they had made. Or... look at it as a chance to figure out just what went wrong these past two games. Which ever.
Hockey Wilderness Three Stars
- Can the Wild get back on track after an blow out against Dallas? Not even close, no. The train is wrecked.
- Theodore looked weak in the Dallas game, can he be the man again? Nope. Weak again.
- Been awhile since we have written about Martin Havlat's great game. Will that be tonight? Nope again. No where to be seen for most of the game.
- Back on the road, how do they look as a team? Lost 5 to 1. You do the math.
- After so many missed games, will I have lost my form? I'm a pro. I don't lose it. Ever.