Minnesota Wild 2 - 3 St. Louis Blues (SO)
For St. Louis perspective, please visit St. Louis Game Time.
The Wild desperately needed two things in this game. A win, and to not play poorly.
The first period was a lesson in mixed messages. The Wild played decently, with a goal from David McIntyre, his first of his NHL career, but mustered just four shots on goal. The Blues had them pinned at times, but Josh Harding come up huge time and time again, keeping his team in the game.
The worst news for the Wild was Mikko Koivu leaving the game with either a shoulder or arm injury with just 3:44 TOI.
The real story of the first will be the two fights, one between Justin Falk and David Backes after a big, clean hit from Falk on David Perron. Backes got a slew of penalties, earning himself 19 PIMs, and missing the entire first period. Then, there was another fight between Chris Stewart and Clayton Stoner that was better than the first fight, but still nothing special.
The start of the second period was all Blues. Exactly what the Wild needed to avoid. They got a goal from David Perron as the defense collapsed and Josh Harding was so far out of position, he looked to be trying to play center. The second came from Alex Pietrangelo on the power play after Brad Staubitz decided he needed to fight Ryan Reaves and took an extra two.
The Wild would find it's game, a bit, late in the second. In a twist of fate in which clearly someone paid for hell to freeze over, the Wild scored a power play goal. From Jared Spurgeon no less. Somehow, after a terrible start to the period, the Wild came out tied.
With the way the refs were calling this game, the Wild and Blues needed some serious discipline to stay out of the box. The Blues found it, the Wild... not so much. At one point, the Wild had more penalties than SOG in the third. After two rather exciting periods of hockey, the third period was painfully dull. With Harding once again bailing the team out time after time, the Wild accomplish not looking stupid as the pull the game to OT.
A save of the year candidate from Harding in OT continued his victory tour over illness. T.J. Oshie had the entire Wild squad beat, but Harding came up huge with the glove. If the beginning of the third was all St. Louis, the Wild simply weren't even involved in OT. Harding seemed to be out there alone, save for a couple big blocked shots from Justin Falk, who had an amazing game.
There were a few postivies to be had in this game, but they were few and far between. Players were still giving up on plays and not giving 100%. Harding, Falk, and Mike Lundin all had solid games. The fourth line looked good. Other than that, the loss of Koivu was, once again, a give up moment for the Wild.
Take the point, move on. Eventually, the power play has to be a focus, and winning games has to start again.
The Bennett's Chop & Railhouse of the Game:
- Josh Harding (47 saves)
- David Perron (1G)
- Jaroslav Halak (29 saves)
- From aggressive to passive. Which team shows up tonight? Both. Need to find some consistency.
- Did the team get the message yet, or is it going to take benching Koivu? A few players got it. Falk was a beast.
- Can these two teams get through a game without trying to kill each other? Nope.
- Can Harding spring back from a soft performance? Big time. Great game.
- How does Lundin look in his first game back? Better than Greg Zanon, so there's that.