ST PAUL, MN - JANUARY 21: (L-R) Carson McMillan #45, Chad Rau #36, Jed Ortmeyer #41 and Greg Zanon #5 of the Minnesota Wild celebrate a goal by Rau in the second period on January 21, 2012 at Xcel Energy Center in St Paul, Minnesota. Chad Rau is making his NHL debut. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
For the Dallas perspective, check out Defending Big D
Well, that was fun.
Anyone remember what it was like to watch a game like that, especially a period like the second? First four goal period in almost two years. Fastest three goals scored in team history at 59 seconds. First three point game for Dany Heatley since 11/27/10 (yes, that's actually 2010). First NHL goal for Chad Rau in his first NHL game. A power play goal. Chased a goaltender.
Mike Lundin, Brad Staubitz and Marek Zidlicky all scratched and for Zidlicky it was his first healthy scratch as a member of the Wild. Don't think that the play of Warren Peters, Chad Rau, Carson McMillan, Jed Ortmeyer and Nate Prosser didn't have an impact on the game tonight. The message was clearly sent and received. Play better, give your all on every shift or they will find someone who will. Tonight saw improved play across the board. Dany Heatley, Devin Setoguchi, Nick Johnson, Cal Clutterbuck, Kyle Brodziak and Matt Cullen all played inspired hockey tonight and it showed on the scoreboard.
In the first period, the Wild came out and skated hard, gave a good effort, possessed the puck in the offensive zone but didn't get enough attempts on net and couldn't buy a break finding themselves down 1-0 off a nifty goal down low by Eric Nystrom (who definitely felt good after scoring).
Then came the second. Devin Setoguchi found himself alone on the power play, took a feed from Dany Heatley and one-timed it past Kari Lehtonen to tie the game at 1. On the ensuing face-off Steve Ott and Darroll Powe attempted to fight, but Ott took Powe to the ice before anything could start, earning both a minor for roughing. Less than two minutes later, Philip Larsen scored his first of the season for the Stars as his shot from the point made it through a mass of bodies and past a heavily-screened Josh Harding to put the Stars back up 2-1. Then the wheels came off for Dallas. Ott v. Powe round two happened immediately after they left the box. Again, Ott took Powe to the ice quickly, then delivered a dirty punch to Powe as he was prone on the ice. Frankly, not smart by either guy. The Wild had numbers on the rush that was ended by the fight and Ott gave the momentum back to the Wild just :16 after his team took the lead.
With both in the box for 5:00 the Wild opened the flood gates. Goals 59 seconds apart by Cal Clutterbuck, Chad Rau and Kyle Brodziak turned a 2-1 deficit into a 4-2 lead. Yes, it all happened with Steve Ott in the box. One might say that it was a bad decision by Ott. That third goal did in Kari Lehtonen. He tried to shatter his stick and missed. It was pretty bad.
At that point the game was all but over. Dallas had few scoring chances the rest of the game. The third period began with Richard Bachman taking Lehtonen's spot in the Dallas net and he was welcomed by the play of the season. After a shot blocked by Greg Zanon, Warren Peters bolted up the left-side of the ice. Dany Heatley corralled the puck, took off up the right and went in 2 on 2 with Peters, feeding Peters then heading to the side of the net where Peters found Heatley going full-stride and hit him with a picture perfect saucer pass for the tap-in. It was the fifth goal of the night for the Wild, and Heatley's third point. The remaining 18:31 was spent waiting for the horn to sound, announcing a Wild victory.
Per Michael Russo: #mnwiId crediting Steve Ott for this win, specifically punching Powe on ice. Says Powe, "that's the type of player he is"
Was it the motivation of the silver stick? Was it the motivation of Hockey Day Minnesota? Perhaps the motivation of not having Zidlicky and Brad Staubitz? Or maybe the motivation of being shown that if they won't play, the GM will bring in guys who will? Who knows, but whatever it was, they need to keep doing it. Every day. For the rest of the season. A big 5 - 2 win over Dallas at home. The Wild could use a little mojo to bring with them as they, yes, head back on the road. How you take any of the guys that played tonight off the ice in favor of the scratches is beyond me. Keep them benched until something says otherwise.
The Bennett's Chop & Railhouse Stars of the Game:
- Dany Heatley (1 G, 2 A)
- Chad Rau (1st NHL goal)
- Devin Setoguchi (1 G, 1 A)
- Is it possible to win hockey games? Apparently so. It's a strange feeling.
- Do any of the "new" guys contribute? And how.
- Who is the hero / goat? Dany Heatley. First three point game in 14 months.
- Anyone care to actually play some hockey? Honestly, excellent full team effort.
- Favorite part of the day? A Wild win. Always a Wild win.