For Detroit perspective, please visit Winging It In Motown
After what we saw the past week to two weeks, and especially with what we saw against the Anaheim Ducks, how the Wild would fare against the mighty Red Wings seemed pretty simple to figure out. Surely, this would be a blow out, and Wild fans would be left disappointed yet again. Nothing short of the Great Pumpkin could possibly prevent a blow out in St. Paul.
Once the game started, with the high class lavender dasher ads, the Wild came out flying. It was almost as if the team took Friday and revamped the entire attitude in the locker room. Coach, captain, players as a whole, whoever is responsible for that... good on ya.
The Wild were checking hard, pushing the game back in the face of the Red Wings, and forechecking hard. Nick Johnson had a goal called back due to a "kicking motion" that was borderline. Maybe not the right call, but if it had been against the Wild, people would have been screaming for it to be called back, so it's only fair.
Just a few minutes later, Dany Heatley and Guillaume Latendresse came in on their second two on one, this time with the puck on Heatley's stick, and he buried an absolute snipe in the top far corner for a goal they could not possibly review, and the Wild were up 1-0.The first two on one with those two, Lats waited too long to shot or pass, and the play got in too close and was broken up, but the fact there were two odd man breaks was good to see.
The second period was all Josh Harding. The Wings found their game, but for the first time, the Wild did not lose theirs. That is a huge difference, and one that has to be noted. However, Harding faced several very good chances on 16 shots, and stopped every one of them. An truly impressive display from the should-be-#1-somewhere goalie.
Need an example? We have it. Also, note in the last replay as Todd Bertuzzi grabs the stick of Nick Schultz three feet in front of a ref... no call. No bother, he got tagged for grabbing Spurgeon's stick in the third. Here you go:
The final frame saw more gymnastics from Harding as the Wings brought the heat yet again. The pivotal moment was when Devin Setoguchi fell and inadvertently high sticked Bertuzzi. The hit drew blood from Bertuzzi's nose, and gave the Wings a double power play to work with. While Setoguchi was in the box, the FSN replay shows Bertuzzi mouthing what certainly looked like the words "you're dead" at Setoguchi. You'd think Bertruzzi would have learned that lesson already, but I guess not.
The power play would result in nothing, mostly because Matt Cullen drew a hooking call on a shorthanded break and negated half the time, but still, the kill was huge for the Wild. To add insult to injury (literally), Cal Clutterbuck put a big hit on Bertuzzi shortly after the PK ended. On the next face off, Bertuzzi went to hit Kyle Brodziak and wound up pulling Brodziak down to give the Wild yet another power play.
Why the focus on Bertuzzi? You're Wild fans. You know better than to ask.
After that, though, it was all Wings, all the time. The Wild seemed to be sitting back just a bit too much, and Harding paid for that. Get this, though... the Wild closed the door. They showed the killer instinct. They collapsed well, they played their game (mostly) and fought to the end to get Harding the shutout. Against the Red Wings.
The Bennett's Chop & Railhouse Stars of the Game:
- Josh Harding (36 saves, Shutout)
- Dany Heatley (1G, GWG)
- Jimmy Howard (1GA)
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/.
- Will a Gui be able to do what a Cal couldn't? He'll be there next game for sure.
- Nate Prosser in. Can he make an impact? No, but that's a good thing.
- Can the Wild slow down the Wings at all? They were buzzing, but they shut them down.
- Plus or minus for Wings shots is set at 27. Which will it be? Over. Way over.
- Seriously, how long until Marek Zidlicky is benched? He was bad tonight, but at one point, he made a pretty good play. Shh....