Minnesota Wild 2 - 1 Edmonton Oilers (SO)
For the enemy's perspective, please visit The Copper & Blue
Games against the Oilers usually go well for the Wild. The boys in white had a chance to gain some momentum with a win tonight, maybe get some offense going, get some confidence.
First period was rather slow for the Wild. The usual: Frustrating reluctance to shoot the puck, dismal powerplays, lack of any drive and scoring opportunities. The Oilers only made it worse by scoring with 3 minutes remaining on the period. The goal was tipped-in by Wild ''favorite'' Ryan Jones, assisted by another ''favorite'', Ryan Smyth. This happened after another Greg Zanon turnover, his second in two games that directly led to a goal. The sleeping giant that is the Wild's top line kept on snoozing in the form of over-passing and poor shooting. Someone take them off the Nyquil, the Wild need them to stop being one of the worst top lines in hockey right now and start playing like they should be, because that combo should be way more deadly than 8 points in 6 games (before this game). Brad Staubitz fought Ben Eager in an effort to boost the team's morale, but it didn't do much, as Eager got a penalty for slashing at the same time and the powerplay deflates the team more than anything else.
Second period, while not exactly the nap we're used to, still wasn't much better than the first period. The difference was that they had some real good looks, including a Matt Cullen breakaway stopped by Nikolai Khabibulin, and a missed open net by Guillaume Latendresse. The powerplay still stunk like a decomposing skunk and Eric Belanger damn near got a shortie, but he hit the crossbar. To tell the truth, it was quite the uneventful 2nd period, save for a few keys saves for Backstrom, without whom the Wild would be pointless through 6 games, I'm sure. I can't believe Jordan Eberle hasn't scored on his multiple golden opportunities in the 2nd, but it's just a phase. At least he's actually getting chances unlike some other players I could name.
Third period was actually quite lame once again. Back and forth between both teams, physical play, goalies were great. Mikko Koivu had a pretty scary moment when he caught Dany Heatley's skate on the chin. He kept playing until the puck was off his stick, as if nothing had happened. He's a machine. Bad news though was that the cut prevented him from coming back into the game... probably nothing too serious, but we'll know what's up later. The Wild ended up outshooting the Oilers 29-27 through 60 minutes, but they were low quality shots from the perimeter mostly. The lack of offense is maddening, given we thought the defense was going to be the trouble on this team. No excuse. Mike Yeo has to do something to light this team up, RIGHT NOW.
So that was it, game o.... what? OH MY GOD! WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY? Dany Heatley scores with 1.2 seconds to go in the game? Well shiver me timbers, tie game! Heatley assisted by Setoguchi and Bouchard. He sure chose a sweet time to shake off that goal-less streak! WOW! Overtime it is, then.
The video feed died for me at overtime, but from what I heard on the radio, it was a flurry of chances for both sides. Shots were 4-2 in favor of the Oilers in the extra frame, but the deadlock wasn't broken, so the second shootout in as many games between the division rivals took place.
Shootout: Jordan Eberle shot first, made some shifty little moves, tried to beat Backstrom with a forehand, but Backs would have none of that. Next was Matt Cullen, who continues to be an integral part of the Wild's offense by scoring top shelf with some gear changing that fooled the Bulin Wall. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins tried sensibly the same thing as Eberle, instead electing to go backhand, but Backstrom seemed to have tipped the puck with his pad and the shot went wide. Pierre-Marc Bouchard was next. While everyone wanted him to spin Bulin around a third time, he chose to try a shot through the 5-hole, but Khabibulin kept his stick on the ice the whole time and made the easy save. The spin-o-rama probably would've worked. Just sayin'. Eric Belanger was 3rd for the Oilers, to the surprise of everyone on the planet. Why not Hall? Paajarvi? Whitney? Oh well. Bella deked Backstrom out of his shorts, but the goalie was saved once again by the post, the second one for Bella, so Bella is the true hero here... or perhaps it's the post? Anyhoo, the Wild won...
...WHAT? The Wild won. Oh....my.....God...
That's just amazing... too bad it's 1:15 AM here at my cousin's house, I felt like doing a backflip. Make no mistake though, the Wild did not deserve to pilfer two points from the Oilers, this was a miracle, pure and simple. The Wild are putrid in the offensive zone and serious work needs to be done. We all thought the goals would come this season, both for the Wild and for the opponents, but it's been the other way around. The Wild are 3-2-2, but they could easily be 1-6-0. For now, let's just rejoice.
I bet Edmonton would like a guy like Heatley on the team. Hehehe. Next game is against our old chums, the Canucks. Be there, or else I'm sending Bryan and his newly fixed eyes to give you a mean look.
Speaking of Koivu, he's one point away from tying Andrew Brunette for #2 in all-time points for the Wild.
The Wild would have been shutout in Edmonton for only the second time in their history. The only time was on their first ever trip to Edmonton back in 2000, on November 3rd.
The Bennett's Chop & Railhouse Stars of the Game:
1. Niklas Backstrom (30 saves, perfect on the shootout.)
2. Nikolai Khabibulin (30 saves, not perfect on the shootout.)
3. Dany Heatley (1 goal on seven shots. Saved the game.)
Remember, when you begin and end your night at Bennett's, you're the star! Easy parking, drink and food specials and a free shuttle to and from the Xcel Energy Center. Check them out at http://bennettschopandrailhouse.com/.
1. A trip to Edmonton just what the doctor ordered, or a trip to the executioner? They committed grand larceny by taking two points with them on their way out of Rexall Place. So really, it's what the king of thieves ordered.
2. Is this the game we see some success from Koivu & Heatley? Heatley scored with 0.000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001 seconds to go... well ok, not really, but hey, that goal led to 2 points, so it's some success, but we want more. Koivu got sliced, but should be fine. SHOULD.
3. Backstrom continues to own the Oil. Does that continue tongiht? 1 goal on 31 shots + shootouts. Yup. OWNED.
4. Too early for a must win, but is this a must win? Like I said, every game is a must win. Especially when they're not deserved.
5. When do we give up looking for Marek Zidlicky? Zidlicky? Never heard of him.