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Should we just skip the first period and move directly to the second? The Wild probably wish they could. The first period was disgustingly bad. They gave up a shorthanded goal and a power play goal. It probably should have been more than that. Niklas Backstrom kept them alive long enough to escape to the locker room and regroup.
Oh, and there were four, yes four 10 minute misconduct penalties handed out, two for each side, during a simple scrum. One of the more ridiculous calls I've ever seen. Of course, the Jackets were happy, because it pulled noted goon Pierre-Marc Bouchard off the ice.
Marek Zidlicky was crushed on a clean hit by Derek Doresett, and Zidlicky would not return to the game. The gut reaction is concussion, but we have no official word. We'll see, and we'll have more on that in the morning. Not a good situation.
If you thought the Wild had a chance at that point, you're either lying, or blind. But a chance they had.
Matt Cullen scored a nice backhander at the 10:32 mark, on the power play, giving everyone hope that this game wasn't over. No one would have guessed just 20 seconds later, Nick Johnson (hereafter BWCE), tied the game by crashing the net and picking up a loose puck for a goal. At that point, the cliche was true. It was a whole new game. Columbus was on their heels, back peddling and looking as lost as the Wild did in the first.
Starting the third, the Wild still had some jump leftover, but things became tight. Niklas Backstrom kept making save after save, and both team got their chances. However, Cal Clutterbuck put the Wild on top with a nice one timer that beat Steve Mason.
If you're following along at home, that's goals from Matt Cullen, Nick Johnson, and Cal Clutterbuck. Woof.
The Jackets brought a fast and strong game right to the end, but Devin Setoguchi put in the empty netter to lock it all up and let the Wild go home.
The defense was unreal tonight. Even on the goals in the first, the defense had little chance. Down to five players, they kept the shots (all 45 of them) to bad angles, and the ones they couldn't stop, Backstrom was all over.
Not the prettiest game ever, but a win is a win, and the Wild get to come home, see their families, and sleep in their own houses tonight. They have to be happy about that. Not a bad road trip, grabbing six out of ten points and staying in first place in the division.
Who would have guessed that?
The Bennett's Chop & Railhouse Starsof the Game:
1. Niklas Backstrom (43 saves)
2. Cal Clutterbuck (1g, 10PIMs, 4 SOG)
3. Justin Falk (1A, +2)
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/.
Rick Nash owns the Wild. Does that continue? Not tonight. Zero points, -2.
- If Wellman plays, does he fit in? Did not play. Hard to question it in hindsight, but still...
- Can Nick Johnson find some luck with the puck? Yep. Big goal tonight. Still playing very well for the Wild. Thanks Pittsburgh.
- Can the Wild simply come out of this one without any further injuries? Nope. Zidlicky out. Looks bad, too.
- These two teams hate each other for some reason. Can they break 40 PIMs between them? Broke that in the first period. 64 total.