Bryan gave Niklas Backstrom jedi classes. Looks like Backstrom is a good padawan. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
For the enemy perspective, please visit Nucks Misconduct
Bryan is evil. I know we all know this, but let me explain. He asked me to do this gamer, and he started his demand with ''Hey Moose'' because, well, I'm the resident moose here. Also, he said I would like this one seeing as it's the Canucks. Then I realized what he was trying to pull: Canuck is a nickname for Canadian, which I am, and the Moose are the Nucks' farm team... making me... both a Canuck and a Moose... My lunch just came back to haunt me there... that's just evil, Bryan!
Anyhoo, after the Wild played two absolute stinkers on the weekend, they had the NHL-best Canucks to play against next... Oh goody. The good news here is that the Wild has done relatively well this year against the Canucks, seeing as they're the only Northwest Division team to give the Canucks any regulation losses. Another bit of good news for us? Roberto Luongo was in net tonight. The Wild have been Luuuuuu's kryptonite for a while now and the Nucks probably know it since back-up Cory Schneider has been used 4 times against the Wild this year (3 starts, 1 back-up) The bad news though? None of that made a lick of difference tonight.
The first period was crap. No other way to put it. The Wild played decent enough in the offensive zone, but it was a defensive mess. We were also hurt by penalties, as the Nucks capitalized on both their powerplay chances and seeing as they've got the best powerplay in the league, playing disciplined should be a no-brainer. Basically, the goals came too easy and Niklas Backstrom was rather weak on the first two, but to be fair, he was screened on both. The goals came off the sticks of Raffi Torres, Daniel Sedin and Ryan Kesler. One of the true symbols of the Wild's recent play was when Cal Clutterbuck whiffed on a hit and ended up cartwheeling into the Nucks bench.. Pretty much summed up the Wild's season right there, swing and miss. To be fair though, the judges gave him a 8.8 for the cartwheel, but he got screwed by the russian judge, those guys can be strict.
In the second period, the Wild were given about 5 straight powerplay minutes, including a pretty lengthy 5 on 3 advantage, but it was a pretty futile series of powerplay in which they nearly allowed a shorty with two more men on the ice than the Canucks. It was pretty painful to watch and Luuuuuuuu clearly came prepared. After all that though, the Wild finally found a way to score their first goal since scoring 5 nearly a full week ago against the Avs. The goal came off of Andrew Brunette's Sorry Tom crashing the net. 3-1 after two periods. Would the Wild mount a comeback?
No, but they almost did. Mikko Koivu proved how badly he was missed by scoring a goal after getting his stick chopped in half and getting another one on the bench (as opposed to stealing one of an opposing player, because we all know how good an idea THAT was), he entered the offensive zone, got the pass, buried it backhanded. They got another slew of powerplay chances in the third period, but they just couldn't find the back of the net and that truly killed the Wild (along with allowing 3 goals in the first). Kesler buried an empty netter to bury the Wild. Once again, the Wild lost while outshooting their opponent. You'd think they would learn by now, no?
Just like the previous 4-1 loss to the Canucks, the Wild actually dominated for the majority of the game, but they just couldn't find any offense. You know what's sad? Seeing as Kaptain Koivu notched two points tonight, if he hadn't come back, it's quite possible we would've been shutout AGAIN! He was amazing tonight, truly he was missed.
So the Wild come up short once again, and are now in a 3 game skid which will very likely make this season another lost one. It's a shame really, because we actually believed, once again, that the Wild were going to make it. Of course, it's not over until it's over, but they've dug themselves into a hole and they will need to string a bunch of wins together while hoping a few teams hit a wall, and in the past few years, they've shown an inability to get those precious late-season wins. The Wild are the ultimate teases. Next game, Sharks, thursday, be here, all the cool kids will be. Peace!
The Wild are second in the NHL in points percentage when they score first: 27-2-4 = .879. The Nucks are first: 36-2-6 = .886
Wild scored their first road goal since the Rangers game on March 3rd, which makes it the first in 168:48 road minutes. The scoreless streak lasted 157:07 overall.
Sami Salo get injured for the millionth time in his career after blocking a shot in the first period. He didn't finish the game.
Kaptain Koivu now has 57 career points against the Canucks, which is the most points he has against any team.
Manny Malhotra continued his dominance versus the Wild, getting two assists to bring his point total against the Wild to 7 in 5 games this season.
Hockey Wilderness 3 stars:
1) Ryan Kesler (2 goals, was a friggin pain when killing penalties.)
2) Mikko Koivu (G, A, welcome back Kap'n, we missed you big time)
3) Roberto Luongo (Finally gets a win against the Wild after only 130 years. 33 saves, kept the Nucks from collapsing)
1. The Wild haven't scored in two games. How quickly can they end that? It took 157:07 to end the scoreless streak at 17:03 of the second period
2. Can they chase Luongo again? Nope, in fact, he's the sole reason the Wild failed in their comeback.
3. Is it possible to shut down the brain eaters? No one can shut down the brain eaters, they will soon take over the world. They both have a 6 game point streak in which they combine for 7 goals and 14 assists. Insane. Each got a point tonight.
4. Who is a big pain in the rear, Burrows, or Lapierre? Why choose when you can have both? They were both non-factors tonight though.
5. Are the Canucks really as good as their record suggests? Sadly yes. They are the first team to break the 100 point barrier this year, the quickest they've done so in franchise history. (71 games)