Jason Zucker has played two games, and the Wild have won two straight games. The magic of the Fletcher draft picks is already starting.
Minnesota Wild 4 - 3 (SO) Los Angeles Kings
For the royal perspective, take a gander at Jewels from the Crown.
A clash between the two worst offensive teams in the NHL should be a snoozer, right? WRONG. Apparently the hockey gods have an odd sense of humor, as the Wild and Kings combined to score 3 goals in the first four minutes. Jason Zucker took another step in his pro career, as a strong move to the net left a juicy rebound for Nick Johnson, giving the Zook his first NHL point. The Wild had a chance to stretch the lead when the Kings gave a surprisingly hot Wild powerplay back-to-back opportunities, but the Succubus reared her ugly head once again. The Wild went 0-2 on the PP, gave the Kings a powerplay opportunity right after, and watched Dustin Brown hammer in the tying goal.
Not sure when it happened, but at some point late in the 1st period, Kampfer got hurt and would not return for the rest of the game. The Wild would have to start the 2nd period with just 5 defensman. The Kings would strike early in the 2nd period on a flukey goal for Richardson, his second of the game. L.A. would take a 3-2 lead, and play would settle down between the two. 5 goals in the first 21 minutes, followed by a lull in scoring. The Kings got the better of the play, putting the Wild on their proverbial heels. The Kings had a 3-2 lead with 20 left to play.
The Wild needed a spark in the 3rd, and it was the Zucker line to the rescue again. After a fast start in the frame, the trio of Zucker - Christensen - Johnson pulled the Wild back even when a Zucker shot bounced off of Christensen's skate and past Bernier. Shortly after the goal, Gilderp/NNS did his part and took a stick to the face, giving the Almighty Succubus 4 minutes of powerplay time. What ensued was 4 minutes of dump and watch hockey. The wasted opportunity meant extra hockey.
The Kings had a powerplay chance to end it early in the OT, but the Wild held on, highlighted by Backstrom robbing Mike Richards. The Kings had a lot of the pressure until Zucker flipped a soft pass out to a streaking Setoguchi, who was hauled down and rewarded with a penalty shot. "A quarter of an inch the other way, Charlie." Seto rang it off the pipe, and it came down to the
farce joke crapshoot shootout.
Eric Christensen and Mikko Koivu put Minnesota up early with the first two goals, and Backstrom made the first two saves. The Wild are officially on a winning streak. The Dive for Five is stalled out, but the fans and team have a win to feel good about. That still has to count for something.
The Bennett's Chop & Railhouse of the Game:
- Jason Zucker (2A, 3 shots, 14:32 TOI)
- Dustin Brown (1G, 2A, general pest that he is)
- Eric Christensen (1G, 1A, a shootout goal)
Remember, when you begin and end your night at Bennett's, you're the star! Easy parking, drink and food specials and a free shuttle to and from the Xcel Energy Center. Check them out at http://bennettschopandrailhouse.com/.
- Will Niklas Backstrom look better in his second game back? Watch for his positioning and lateral movement. He was out of position and looked really slow to move last game. Well, the lateral movement was better, but he had a tough time controlling rebounds. The Kings scored their 3 goals on some form of a rebound, but he did make a dandy of a save against Mike "I'm Wasted" Richards in the OT.
- Will we see Mikko Koivu in beast mode again, like he was in OT? Not in regulation or OT, but his bread and butter in the shootout was enough for the Wild tonight.
- Which Erik Christensen will show up tonight? Got a good bounce of his skate to tie the game in the 3rd and a tally in the shootout.
- Are Jason Zucker's first game jitters gone? The kid definitely looked more comfortable in the system. He was flying everywhere and recorded his first two NHL points.
- Can Tom GIlbert continue to improve? The mistakes were a lot less noticeable, but the breakout passes weren't there tonight.