Minnesota Wild 4 -1 Edmonton Oilers
For Edmonton perspective, please visit The Copper & Blue
Before we go any further, how about those sweet Camo unis the Wild wore tonight in warm ups? Starting tomorrow, they can be yours... if the price is right. We'll have the link for the auction as soon as it is available. All proceeds go to Defending the Blue Line.
On to the game.
The first period was about as big a yawn fest as any hockey game in the history of the NHL. Just 13 shots on goal, little physicality, and none of the rancor that should be associated with a division match up. It almost reminded me a bit of the Icecapades, except there was a puck, no women in tight outfits, and no one was jumping around.
So really is was more just a bunch of guys skating around. Pretty boring.
The second would be more of the same, until finally Brent Burns laid out Taylor Chorney with a massive hip check. Just a minute or so later, Cal Clutterbuck also laid out Chorney, and the fans were awakened. As if to put the proverbial exclimation point on it all, Greg Zanon fed Martin Havlat for a break away on which the Oilers defense would simply watch him skate in and score. Neither Peckham nor Gilbert even moved, it was surreal.
After another ridiculous save that Niklas Backstrom had absolutely no right to make, the Oilers finally tied the game on a goal from Kurtis Foster. If you're going to get scored on, it may as well be by one of the most liked players in franchise history. There may even have been some clapping when his name was announced. Maybe.
Then... the third period.
First, Kyle Brodziak scores on a ridiculous top shelf back hander that had to have his Kaptain happy where ever he was watching from. That would have been enough to electrify this crowd, but the fact that it came after the Wild killed a 1:30 5-on-3 PK... that tore the roof off the place.
Then the show really started. On a Wild power play, Jared Spurgeon out waits the defense, loads up and fires a beauty of a slapper to the upper glove side corner through a Brodziak screen for his first ever NHL goal. The fans in Minnesota let him know they were appreciative of his efforts with a rousing standing ovation when his goal was announced.
Spurgeon played the good soldier after the game saying that "a goal's a goal for the team." Asked if he owned an Oilers sweater as a kid, he answered "Just a couple, but they're at the back of the closet now." Big goal, against his childhood team, for a not so big guy. Let me tell you, the kid was excited.
Needing to play the rest of the game, the Wild weren't quite done with the show just yet. Pierre-Marc Bouchard took the puck in without an Oilers defender to be seen after Ladislav Smid allowed the one and only Cal Clutterbuck to get in his head and tried to run Clutter. Butch said he "knew [he] was going to do it from the blue line." Good thing, too, because it worked.
Absolutely disrespectful, especially with Linus Omark sitting right there on the bench.
If the crowd was loud after the Backstrom save, the go ahead goal, the 5-on-3 kill, or the Spurgeon goal... it was nothing compared to the spin-o-rama cheer. The move is something to behold live, folks. Something indeed.
With less than five minutes to play, Stephen Walkom, who has to be the worst ref in the NHL right now, made a call that no one can seem to explain. To set it up, Brad Staubitz tried to lay a clean, open ice hit on JF Jacques. Jacques dodged it, immediately threw his gloves to the ice and jumped Staubitz. Staubitz was so caught off guard, he went into duck and cover mode.
When the scrum broke out, Walkom called both players for two minute penalties, Jacques for roughing and Staubitz for charging. Then, he gave both players a 10 minute misconduct and threw them out of the game. Jacques deserved his, Staubitz... not so much.
Todd Richards lit up Walkom, and the ref had enough T'ing up Richards with the extra two minutes. Originally called a bench minor for unsportsmanlike conduct, it as later changed to a delay of game call. Call it what ever you want, Jacques was the only player who should have been given a penalty, and how Jacques escaped an instigator call is beyond me.
Staubitz tried to lay an open ice check on a player who still had the puck, and Jacques jumped him. My daughter could have nailed that call, and she's two. I don't often go after refs, but wow. How that guy continues to be employed is amazing. Absolutely the worst ref going right now.
When the dust settles, the Wild get the two points, and move into fifth... read that again... fifth place in the Western Conference. That could still change tonight, but for now, savor it Wild fans. A team once in 14th is now in fifth. Soak that up.
Hockey Wilderness Three Stars
1. Pierre-Marc Bouchard (1G, 2A)
2. Jared Spurgeon (1G, NHL first)
3. Martin Havlat (1G, 3 SOG)
- It's been awhile since we saw "The Kids." How do they look tonight? Hall was flying tonight, and the kids played well. These are going to be dangerous.
- The Wild played well without Mikko, does that continue? Uh... yeah.
- Does playing seven defensemen cost them tonight? Not at all. Can't imagine this lasts, though.
- Backstrom deserved a win against the Wings, does he get one tonight? Big one. Huge save in the second.
- Does anyone actually hate the Oilers? I don't think so. THough it was fun to watch them get beat down tonight.
Defending the Blue Line Camo unis in warm ups: