Minnesota Wild 1 - 0 St.-Louis Blues
For the enemy perspective, please visit St. Louis Game Time
Feels so good to be writing gamers again!
Scanning the Wild's lineup for this game, it looked more like an audition for 4th line, 3rd D pairing and extras. Hell, it looked more like a Houston Aeros game, but that's the preseason. Not much fans could get excited about, especially when you consider the relatively high number of regulars playing for the Blues.
However, despite the lack of a video feed (damn you, pre-season), the fans were treated to a pretty strong showing from the baby Wild. Mike Yeo is making a great early impression, but I think the fact he knew so many players tonight so well as Aeros helped a lot. He truly got the best out of almost everyone. Except for that flurry of penalties in the first period, the Wild didn't give much for the Blues to work with, and Backstrom shone in that period. Backstrom, by the way, was perfect tonight in two periods of play, even getting on the scoresheet with an assist, making him one of the best offensive players tonight. However, tonight was all about the Wild's ''Worst defense in the league after the departure of Burns''.
I had predicted a lot of penalty for the Wild, icing many penalty prone players and young, possibly mistake-prone players, but after those 4 penalties in the first, Yeo seemed to have calmed things down, with only Brad Staubitz getting a fight and Spurgeon matching his total PIM in 2011 (great observation, @Gopherstate!) with a... boarding call? What?... Oh well!
Wild were all over the puck, was flawless on the PK (5 killed out of 5), had great neutral zone control and displayed... Sorry Tom. Warren Peters scored a pretty backhander on Jaroslav Halak in the 2nd period and Matt Hackett did an incredible job in the 3rd period, surviving a 14-1 onslaught of shots to keep the donut for the Wild.
Games without video feeds are quite difficult to analyse in detail, but in short, the Baby Wild blanked the near-complete Blues. Worse defense in the league. Disgusting. Also, we've been screwed twice in the 3 stars. In Edmonton, our only star was Jared Spurgeon, the third star of the game with 2 goals, one of which was the game-winner... tonight? 3 Stars were Jonathan Cheechoo at 3rd, Warren Peters, the scorer of the game-winner, at 2nd and...Andy McDonald 1st star? What? I get that the game was in St.-Louis, but what game were they watching that they didn't see Backstrom and Hackett rip the Blues? Oh well, not important, still weird.
Back in action tomorrow night, where we'll finally see the Heatley-Koivu-Setoguchi line... Should be exciting!
Hockey Wilderness 3 stars:
1. Niklas Backstrom (18 saves, co-led all players in points.)
2. Matt Hackett (Never seen two goalies from the same team in the three stars, but he deserves it. Kept the shutout alive with 14 saves in 20 minutes.)
3. Warren Peters (GWG, 57% faceoffs, 4 hits. )
Wild are 2-0 in preseason for the second time in franchise history.
1. Which prospects will step up? Scandella looked to be the leader out there, leading all players in ice-time if I'm not mistaken. If only I had a video feed, I could tell you more!
2. How will the checking guys perform? Warren Peters scored, and the Wild as a whole were pests. Great neutral zone control and great puck pressure.
3. Is Marco Scandella staying here or going to Houston? Hard to answer that when you make a guy play 1st line minutes with probably no intention of making him a top-minutes player in the regualr season. He'd certainly deserve a spot on the roster, but if it's to be on the 3rd pairing, no thanks. Go get ice-time in Houston
4. Can Jordan hendry make up for a terrible game in Edmonton? An assist on the only goal makes up pretty good. Didn't see how he fared defensively though.
5. Can Chay Genoway find a place on the squad? Haven't heard his name too often, but against, without visual evidence, hard to say, but unlikely.