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Close games, blow outs, normal games, come from behind, lead all the way... we've seen just about everything at this point, right?
The first period started as most Wild games start, by giving up the first goal. Zach Parise with a sick deflection to wow the Minnesota crowd and have them dreaming dreams of sugar plums and Dany Heatley - Mikko Koivu - Zach Parise lines dancing in their heads.
It wouldn't last long as Heatley would tie the game just 20 seconds later. Being down 1-0 for an extended time wouldn't have been anything the Wild weren't used to, but the fans at the X certainly seemed to enjoy that one. Then, the flood gates opened as Kyle Brodziak put the Wild ahead, and then Casey Wellman put them up 2 with a goal off of his skate. Not likely enough to keep him on the roster by itself, but the Wild will take the GWG from anywhere they can get it.
After that goal, Martin Brodeur was yanked, the second shortest time frame before being yanked in his career. Ilya Kovalchuk added a goal at the 13:59 mark, but alas, it wouldn't mean much for the Devils.
The second period was a bunch of nothing, and wholly forgettable, save for the clear realization that the Wild defense still had not yet realized the game had started as the Devils got several chances, and Josh Harding... yes Josh Harding as Niklas Backstrom left the game after "tweaking something." We'll report when we know something.
The third found both teams trying to find a way to score that next goal, both for different purposes. Late in the game, the Wild were handed a power play as Mattias Tendeby took a boarding call as he drilled Mike Lundin from behind. The refs apparently knew the Wild are horrible on the PP and called a terrible interference call as the Wild broke out of their zone just as the PP got going.
Didn't matter, as Brodziak went in all alone in the ensuing four on four for the fourth goal of the game, and sealed it for the Wild. After that, the Devils pulled Hedberg, but nothing doing as the Wild win again, earning a 7 point lead in the Northwest, and remaining atop the Western conference.
Big win as the Wild now head out west.
Oh, and #SignBrodziak.
The Wild won for the 10th time (10-6-0) when allowing the game's first goal - most in the NHL. The Wild won eight times (8-31-4) in the entire 2010-11 season when yielding the game's first goal.
The Bennett's Chop & Railhouse Stars of the Game:
1. Kyle Brodziak (2G, 5 SOG)
2. Josh Harding (22 saves)
3. Marco Scandella (1A, +3)
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 find their legs early? Not sure they ever found them, but either did the Devils.
- Can the defense shut down Kovalchuk and Parise? Nope, but it didn't matter.
- Speaking of defense, is anyone inclined to add to the offense this season? Scandella. Of course.
- Heatley needs to find a groove. Does that start tonight? He had a goal, but that was his only SOG. Really needs to step it up.
- How good would Zach Parise look in Iron Range Red? Needs to happen. Man he would look awesome. Imagine the sweater sales, Craig.