Minnesota Wild 6 - 5 Phoenix Coyotes (OT)
For Phoenix perspective, please visit Five For Howling
Where to start here? My head is still bouncing around for all this game had.
The Wild came out strong, playing a physical game. They were playing sound positional hockey and yet something just wasn't clicking. They were missing the spark. Then the Yotes scored and the air completely left the building. Let's just say, it wouldn't take long to come back.
Andrew Brunette scored on a tic-tac-toie play after a beautiful behind the back pass to Mikko Koivu from Antti Miettinen that Koivu then dished perfectly to Brunette. A goal with 4.6 seconds left in the period? Yeah, the crowd was amped. The crowd was energized, and would stay that way through the second.
Brunette added his second marker of the game at the 9:55 mark, coming on the power play, and Nick Schultz... yes... Nick Schultz scored on a long wrister from the blue line through a leaping Call Clutterbuck that showed hops that the Timberwolves would kill for. The second period nap never happened, and the Wild went into the locker room with a two goal lead.
Two goals in thirteen seconds, one coming from Phoenix defenseman Keith Yandle who pinched in and scored from the top of the crease. To say Phoenix was "activating" their D would be the understatement of the night. With the score now tied 3-3, the X lit up with boos. The Wild called their time out and Todd Richards talked to the team.
"I told them 'we're OK. It's tied. Calm down.'" Truer words could not be spoken from a man trying to turn the momentum. And change it they did.
Mikko Koivu came out and made David Schlemko do more pirouettes than a ballet dancer. If you missed it, you need to check out the highlights, because Koivu turned him inside out twice in a matter of seconds. Koivu drove to the net, drew a crowd with him, dished off the puck to Brent Burns who took a hard slapper that found it's way through but was stopped. The rebound came out straight up the slot, and Burns slid over and took another crack at it. This time, it found its mark.
Having regained the lead, the Wild had the crowd back on their side. Then the Coyotes would find yet another way to come back, this time with goals from a pinching Ed Jovanovski, and another from Ray Whitney. It looked like the Wild had found yet another way to lose a game.
The desperation kicking in, the Wild pulled Jose Theodore, something that has not met with much success this season. This time, however, Koivu would once again drive the net and draw the crowd with him again. After some solid plays to maintain possession, the puck cycled back to Andrew Brunette, and he would feed it out to Pierre-Marc Bouchard who would make the shot of a lifetime from the blueline. Top shelf corner. Sick.
The roof on the X may very well have come off and been put back on. I was here during the playoff run. This place was as loud as that, easily. The fans were loving it, and the team was feeding off of the energy.
Moving into overtime, no one could have predicted what would happen. After an amazing steal by Butch, he fed the puck back to the point, and Cam Barker... yes... Cam Barker wound up and blasted one from the point. The sound of the puck hitting the pads of Jason LaBarbera was audible over the crowd. The puck hit ice and slid across the goal line as Barker started to pull back to cover the break out.
However, this time, he wouldn't need to. The game winning goal was his, and his teammates flew onto the ice to celebrate with him. For one night, Cam Barker was the hero. Hell, the guy even dropped his gloves to defend Jared Spurgeon. If Barker can play like this for awhile, he'll earn some fans in no time.
Obviously not good to give up five goals against, but if you are going to do it, make sure it happens on a night you score 6. The Wild also improved to 18 wins when being outshot, which accounts for every one of their wins. 44 shots against tonight.
On the win, Coach Richards said: "The game was like a movie. It had drama. At times it was a comedy, at times it was a horror, but it had a great ending."
However, the quote of the night belonged to the Kaptain. From what looked to be the curled up lips of a smile on Kaptain Koivu's face: "The fans got what they wanted."
Yeah they did.
- Koivu's 4 assists came in his 400th career game, and tied a team record he already owned.
- Barker's goal was his first in 48 games.
- Brent Burns' goal was his 50th of his career.
Hockey Wilderness Three Stars
1. Mikko Koivu (4A, +4, 4SOG)
2. Andrew Brunette (2G, 1A)
3. Brent Burns (1A, 2G)
- How does Spurgeon look on the power play? I didn't notice him. Not sure if that is good or bad.
Jose Theodore in tonight. Can the Wild support him? Not really, but they still won.
- Can Brent Burns step his game up to yet another level? The man is out of his mind right now. Absolutely out of his mind.
- Can Butch get on the scorecard? Uh. Yeah. Game tying goal, and an assist.
- Wild booed in the last one. Can they avoid it tonight? They got their what for after coughing up the two goal lead, but they battled back and stole this crowd.