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The Wild gave up four goals, Jose Theodore faced 35 shots while Minnesota only amassed 27, David Backes scored twice. Sounds like a rough night, right? Well, with the way things are going lately for the Wild, call it just another win for a team making a surge into the thick of a tightly contested Western Conference playoff race.
It's great to see Mikko Koivu get involved in the scoring again, with two assists to add to his team lead with 33. Martin Havlat with a goal and an assist continued his solid season, leading the team in goals (16) and points (48). Cal Clutterbuck got back on scoring form with two goals to tie Martin Havlat for the team lead. Jose Theodore wasn't superb tonight, but continued to do everything asked of him in his backup role to Niklas Backstrom, picking up the shootout win for his 10th of the season in 20 games. Most importantly, the Wild continued to show resilience and hard-nosed play down the stretch. Sure, they found themselves down late, but with hard work (sorry Tom) they were able to get the ugly goal on a pure effort play by Martin Havlat to tie things up and give them a chance in the extra session before Jose Theodore proved up to the task by stopping six attempts in the shootout and John Madden showed veteran poise in winning the game in the ninth round.
All-in-all, a great effort and a nice win in the first leg of a home and home with the Blues. Tomorrow is Hockey Day Minnesota, culm
- The Wild are 8-2-0 in their last 10 games.
- Minnesota went 4-for-4 on the penalty kill and is 12-for-12 over the last four games.
- The Wild has won its last five games against divisional opponents and is 12-4-1 against Northwest foes this season.
- The Wild improved to 22-3-2 when scoring three or more goals and 24-2-4 when scoring first.
Hockey Wilderness 3 stars:
- Cal Clutterbuck (2 G, +2)
- David Backes (2 G)
- Martin Havlat (1 G, 1 A, +3)
- Havlat took the team lead in goals in the last game. Will Brent Burns be OK with that? Not sure how Burnsie feels, but Cal wanted the lead back, until Havlat tied him at 16 with his game tying goal with 57.6 left in regulation.
- The defense has been stellar lately. Does that continue? Umm, 4 goals against, 35 shots given up. It wasn't exactly a stellar night for the Wild defensive corps.
- There is no rivalry here, and Boogey is gone. Do things get chippy at all? Brad Staubitz and Brad Winchester went early on but after that there weren't a lot of problems.
- Can the Wild shut down the Inglorious Backes? Two goals. No. David Backes is a machine.
- Despite this being a big game in the standings, there is not much for the fans to get up about. Can Wild fans get into this one? Since it wasn't a home game, hard to tell, but there were only nine comments in the game thread. Seems like people had things to do.