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Well, the game started off with reports of terrible coffee in the press box (I don't drink coffee), and that is really too bad, because the press could have used it. While both teams played solid games, it was a stereotypical first period between these two teams... a few good chances, but overall kind of boring. The only good news? Chuck Kobasew was a healthy scratch, meaning we'll all have to take some sort of sleep aid tonight.
Yeah, he's boring.
The second wasn't exactly any better, but at least there was some action. Nick Schultz was robbed by Jan Hejda as Schultz pinched in for a wide open shot, deked Giguere out of his shorts and tried to stuff a backhand in. No dice, however. There was some good, sustained pressure for the Wild couple times, but nothing resulting.
The biggest news may be the blatant no calls by the refs, including about a dozen cross checks and punch to the back of Darroll Powe's head by Ryan Wilson, and the slash of Nick Johnson's stick out of his hand by Matt Duchene. That last one was a penalty just two nights ago against Columbus. Guess not anymore.
The period ended with a huge hit by Clutterbuck on Hejda, and some added pressure for the Wild, but it ended with a 19-13 shot advantage for the Wild and Kyle Brodziak second in TOI behind only Justin Falk.
The third was more of the same, and this game looked to be ready to simply be a nap inducing nightmare. Things got chippy, and the refs continued to call nothing at all. Ryan Jones looked like what might be a high hit to Justin Falk, which caused Falk to drop Jones in a matter of seconds and take the extra call. Replay here (you be the judge):
Trips by both teams went uncalled, and a highstick by Cal Clutterbuck on Jay McClement probably should have been called, but wasn't, and that non-call happened just before the only goal of the game, scored by Devin Setoguchi (assists to who? Mikko Koivu and Dany Heatley). The refs were, again, horrible both ways all night. Blatant calls, no whistles.
The Avs showed some real frustration as the game wound down as Shane O`Brien shot a puck hard into the boards after a whistle, and as the clock ran out, Erik Johnson attempted the chicken wing on Matt Cullen. True class shown in defeat tonight by the Avs. What a horrible move by Johnson. Be a man, suck it up, go back to your locker room. An empty net goal worth trying to take a guy's head off? (Click on the image to animate.)
By the way, has anyone heard the idiom "one has to go quite far to encounter something so remarkable" or "And that, frankly, is going some"? If you have, please let me know, because as a communications guy, I would think I had heard that.
Big win for the Wild, and a huge shutout for Niklas Backstrom. Wild improve to 11-5-3, tying their all time best start (in points) from 2008-09. They retain the lead in the Northwest, and remain in second place in the conference.
The Bennett's Chop & Railhouse Stars of the Game:
1. Niklas Backstrom (27 saves, shut out)
2. Devin Setoguchi (1G, GWG)
3. Jean-Sebastien Giguere (17 saves, 1 GA)
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/.
- Can the Wild continue to dominate the NW? Wasn't exactly dominating, but the keep first place.
- How does Fredheim look in his first game? The kid looked really good. Made some big plays.
- Will the top line contribute tonight? Not until the end, but they did.
- Backstrom in again. Do he and the defense get along tonight? Shutout. So... yep.
- This have been testy in the past with the Avs. Any extra curriculars to settle? If there wasn't before, there is now.