Minnesota Wild 3 - 2 St.-Louis Blues (SO)
For the enemy perspective, please visit St. Louis Game Time
We meet again. Would tonight be a déjà vu of saturday's dreadful 6-3 loss to the Blues? Would the Wild play like a team possessed after the last game brought about a lengthy team meeting following the 8th straight loss?
Things started well enough, with Eric Nystrom notching his 4th of the season on a beautiful wrister. I felt Nystrom had a pretty good game tonight, getting that goal, playing with pep, even drawing a penalty. Some nice Sorry Tom from him tonight. Our good friend Chris Stewart would tie things up on the powerplay after he created a massive amount of space for himself in front of the net and got a feed from Patrik Berglund. That goal should not have come so easily. Stewart's a big guy and all, but no one was even trying to get him out of there and it looked like he was Brent Burn's man. Not good. The rest of the period was dictated by penalties, 4 for the Wild, 2 for the Blues, but the period ended 1-1. I felt like the Wild hadn't done bad, but they needed to shift gears and get going. After watching the rest of the game, turns out that would be their best period, except maybe for the overtime.
The second period was sloooooow. Nothing much happened. A couple more penalties and a combined total of12 shots between both teams. Things did get a little more physical though as Brad Staubitz checked Alex Pietrangelo into the boards while leaving his feet, giving him a boarding penalty and losing him a few friends on the Blues team. While the shots don't really tell the story, the Blues were the most dominant team for most of the game.
The third period was, again, dominated by the Blues. The 1-1 tie was quickly broken by Stewart, who else? He danced around in the Wild's zone before throwing a seemingly inoffensive shot into the net. I bet Jose Theodore would like that one back. There we were, thinking all was lost, when suddenly, our beacon of hope, Pierre-Marc Bouchard, tied things up again beating Halak with a quick wrister up top. Seriously, it seems like PMB always scores important, clutch goals, doesn't it? The rest of the period was a back and forth battle, although more back than forth for the Wild, when Matt D'Agostini whipped the puck over the glass in the defensive zone with under a minute left in what SHOULD'VE been a costly penalty. The Wild had all kinds of chances the rest of the way, but overtime would be needed after the third frame ended 2-2.
D'Agostini's penalty carried into overtime and we got to see a rare specimen: the OT 5-on-3. This was caused by a tripping penalty on Vladimir Sobotka. This is so rare that the T.V. announcers thought the 2 minutes would only start after the 12 seconds left on D'Agostini's penalty expired when it is in fact a 5-on-3 situation that turns into a 5-on-4 until the next whistle. It wouldn't really make sense to give a 2:12 penalty to a player, would it? The Wild used those powerplay minutes to pepper Jaro Halak with shots, but they harvested nothing for their efforts. The shots per period for the Wild went like this: 9-5-6-8. So in five minutes, they shot almost as many as any 20 minute period.
On they went to our dreaded shootout. Bouchard went first and scored 5-hole on Halak. Then, Theo made a pad stop on Stewart, who elected to skate at a snail's pace for his shot. Next up was Kaptain Koivu and he wristed the puck in the net. Andy McDonald then scored and Antti Miettinen and Matt D'Agostini both failed to score, making Koivu's marker the game winner, thus breaking the Wild's least pointful streak over at 8 games. The nightmare is over, folks.
When all is said and done, the Wild did not deserve a win tonight, despite playing it's best hockey in over a week. They really had all kinds of trouble 5 on 5 and while they got most of their shots on the powerplay, they still couldn't get a PP marker. In fact, they shot 8 pucks towards Jaroslav Halak in the overtime period, which was basically a long Wild powerplay. That's exactly one shot less than the first period, where they had a game high 9. That's telling of how the rest of the game went.
I don't get why Casey Wellman just had under 7 minutes of play. When is this kid going to be given a true chance to shine? I mean, the guy arrived at Minnesota so late he had to warmup on the stationary bikes WHILE THE GAME WAS STARTING. Of course, the truckload of penalties could be one cause, but would it kill Richards to try him out on the powerplay? It can't do much worse than it already is, right?
Anyway, join us on Thursday, when the Wild face the Edmonton Oilers, to see if they start a winning rampage for their last 6 games, which would be fun to watch, but would hurt the Wild's draft position.. which is exactly why they just might do it. Ciao, amigos!
While the Wild went winless in Willy Wonka's Wacky..er, in the first 6 games since Koivu's return 7 games ago, the Kaptain has contributed 8 points out of 14 Wild goals in those 7 games, and he got tonight's shootout winner. Oh Kaptain, my Kaptain.
I said the Wild's 8 game winless streak was it's least pointful because the longest losing streak was nine, but they had gotten three points out of it. This losing streak gave the Wild one point and had their worst loss in franchise history (against my hated Habs... rage.) smack-dab in the middle of it.
Bouchard's unassissted marker was his 299th career point.
Hockey Wilderness 3 stars:
1) Chris Stewart (2 goals, made a whole lot of Avalanche fans feel sad and wistful)
2) Pierre-Marc Bouchard ( Tying goal + goal in the shootout)
3) Eric Nystrom (goal, lots of Sorry Tom, 16:13 TOI)
1. Does Casey Wellman offer a boost? I wish he would've been given at least a chance to.
3. Can Jose Theodore pull them team out of the funk? He did a good job, but seemed kind of shaky tonight. A W's a W, I suppose!
4. Over / Under for shots against is set at 35. What you got? 28 after 60 minutes, they added one in the extra frame. The Wild were still outshot by one shot though.
5. Does anyone really care where Oshie was? For all I care, he could've been climbing Mount Everest, as long as he wasn't playing tonight, I was fine with it.