For the enemy perspective, please visit Pensburgh
Well, that was...something.
The game started out pretty good, it was back and forth action, despite the Pens outshooting the Wild 12-5 on the frame, but the Wild immediately showed the glaring weakness of the lineup that was on the ice: Woeful lack of firepower. The Wild had a total of NINE powerplay opportunities, Succubus Powerplays by Hoover (tm) to be exact. Despite 9 powerplay opportunities, the Wild mustered a total of 17 shots all game.
The turning point in the game was a questionable hit by Eric Tangradi that sent Matt Cullen flying head-first into the boards. It could be argued that Cullen turned his back on the play, but it was more of a brake after sending the puck along the board. Marco Scandella, in a brilliant display of good teammateship (or teammatism? Whatever.), dropped the gloves with Tangradi, getting himself 2,2,5 and 10 for instigating while wearing a visor (this rule is new to me). The Pens then proceeded to torture Niklas Backstrom, who had been flawless once again for a period and a half, with shots galore and scored thrice on powerplays in 3:16. Evgeni Malkin was a man among boys tonight, notching a goal and two assists. Watch out NHL, he's back.
It was Kids Day for youth hockey players at the Consol Energy Center. They were treated to an ugly smorgasbord of penalties and borderline dirty hits from both sides. One hopes the kids won't see this as an example to follow when they hit the ice.
Eric Nystrom safeguarded what little amount of pride the Wild had left with a blooming slapshot after he had collided with Colton Gillies. Gillies would end up getting an assist on the goal, along with Gerald, er, Jarod Palmer.
Long story short, it was an atrocious game, complete lack of drive from most of the Wild players, but no need to panic, it's just the preseason. Mike Yeo is going to have to do something about the penalties however, because they murdered the Wild. Major cuts to the roster coming up, the rest of the preseason will mostly be played by regulars and those with an actual shot at making the roster. Should give us a better idea of what the Wild have in store for us fans this season.
Now, I'm off to do something less painful than that game was... like stapling my lips to a spinning ceiling fan or something.
Hockey Wilderness 3 stars:
1. Evgeni Malkin (G, 2A, superpowers)
2. Brad Thiessen (Was the key in keeping the Pens from falling behind, made 3 key saves in a row against the Wild first line)
3. Marco Scandella (While he technically caused 3 Pens goals, he stood up for Cullen, which is a plus in my book. Not his fault some dumb rule makes being a good teammate a 19 minute penalty.)
Despite losing 4-1, no Wild player was a minus tonight. In fact, 5 of them were +1.
Wild were 3 PIM away from having half as many shots as PIM. Yuck.
Malkin now leads all players in the preseason with 6 points.
Backstrom's shutout streak ended after 70:34 of TOI.
1. Can the Wild stay undefeated against Malkin and the Penguins? Hell no.
2. Will the ''first'' line continue to be all around the net? They were about the only bright side in this game... too bad we didn't see much of them because of all the penalties.
3. Will the Geralds continue to produce? (Spurgeon and Palmer) Palmer continued his strong preseason with an assist. Spurgeon was pretty quiet, seemed too shy to shoot the puck.
4. Warren Peters was the do-it-all against St.Louis. Will he have another strong showing and perhaps even win a spot on the 4th line? Way too many ill-advised penalties, including a borderline dirty boarding penalty.
5. Will anyone remember that today's game is in the afternoon? Apparently not. Not a lot of action on my impromptu game thread.