For the enemy perspective, please visit St. Louis Game Time
First game with most of the regulars in the preseason, the big guns came out firing early. Marek Zidlicky started things off when a superman-goal on the PP, with assists by Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi (Used to it yet? Get used to it.). Scott Nichol tied the game towards the end of the period, but a mere 16 seconds later, Mikko Koivu took the lead back helped by? Heatley and Setoguchi of course. I will never get tired of seeing their names on the boxscore for the Wild. Clayton Stoner and BJ Crombeen sparred. I didn't see it, but I apparently didn't miss much.
Second period was the usual lull except for a pretty memorable goal from young Brett Bulmer, his first in a Wild jersey. The kid is going to make the decision to send him back to juniors or not very difficult on the Wild brass. Lone assist on the goal went to Latendresse, who played like a man possessed. Feels great to see him play so well after his horrible camp last season. Great plays, defenders bouncing off him, good back-checking, Koivu-like really... unlike Koivu tonight who, despite a goal, was regular tonight. His passes just seemed a bit off. Preseason kinks I guess/hope. Patrik Berglund made the score 3-2 when his blazing one-timer zipped through Backstrom, understandably so. What a shot! The play in the second was mostly dominated by the Bluenotes, but Niklas Backstrom, true to form, made a big save to bookend the period, Wild were leading 3-2 at that point.
Third period was another one that featured a lack of urgency from the Wild except at the very end, but they just couldn't solve Jaroslav Halak. The Blues would go on to score twice in the final 10 minutes to steal the win from the home team 4-3. The GWG mas made agonizingly late in the game by Carlo Colicaocoaicvaocvaovcoo after a horrible turnover by Marek Zidlicky, author of the first goal of the game, in his own zone.
This is exactly the reason the Wild got outshot yet again and it's exactly what I predicted the Wild's weakness was going to be this year: The inability to make that crisp, first pass out of the defensive zone, causing mass turnovers in the neutral and defensive zones. We can have plenty of offense, but if they can only shoot 20 times per game, we still won't see as many goals as we want to. The Wild were boxed up in their own zone way too often tonight, and it ended up killing them. Hopefully coach Yeo will address this post-haste.
Anyway, next piece of action will be Thursday against the Blue Jackets sans Wisniewski.
Hockey Wilderness 3 Stars:
1. Dany Heatley (2 A, beast)
2. Guillaume Latendresse (All-around great game, assist on Bulmer's first goal)
3. Brett Bulmer (G, Making it hard to send him down)
1. First look at the majority of the team together. Does it all fit together? The lines themselves looked good, but the play wasn't as tight as it could be. Many mental mistakes and kinks.
2. Schultz makes his preseason debut. Will he be rusty? Didn't notice him much, which, in his case, means he's doing a good job.
3. Who scores more, the top line or the second line? It was the top line again. 13 points in 2 games for the top trio.
4. Will the league's worst defense step up? Again, this doesn't have anything to do with the Wild. However, too many turnovers for the Not-worst-in-the-league Wild defense tonight.
5. The trend of being outshot continues. Does that stop tonight? This question needs not be asked, we know the answer. However, this time, it's not for the same reason as usual. The Wild just didn't have enough possession in the offensive zone.