Wild win 3-1 over the Hurricanes, and move into the 8th spot in the Western Conference.
It was another game of stupid penalties. The worst part of tonight's game was the fact that the team just looked unmotivated for most of the game. The Wild have spent almost all of their games outplaying their opponent, but spent most of tonight looking like they couldn't be bothered to show up 100%.
That sentiment was echo'd throughout the locker room. Zach Parise and Nino Niederreiter both mention that this was not the Wild's best game, and Yeo stated something similar as well. With the number of games that the Wild clearly dominated, but walked away without points from, I think everyone is alright with walking away with the 2 points tonight.
The team really needs to look at this game and figure out why the game was played this way. Personally, I am happy with the two points but I am beyond unhappy with the way the game was played, with a few exceptions.
The biggest issue at the moment is keeping the team from taking stupid penalties. The king of stupid penalties managed to keep himself out of the box, and if Zenon Konopka can do it the rest of the team can too.
Dany Heatley sort of got the monkey off his back tonight, scoring his first goal of the season on an empty net goal to seal the Wild win. Honestly, it's pretty likely that if he had missed that goal Wild fans would have torched him even more than they have already (and rightfully so).
Mikael Granlund had another great game, and Matt Cooke played well despite receive a bit of "extra" attention that the refs chose to ignore. Jared Spurgeon played fantastic as well, and reminded everyone why he was Ryan Suter's partner last season before he was injured. Harding played a great game until his injury, and the defense played a mostly decent game.
Josh Harding started to favor his lower left leg during the second half of the 2nd period. Niklas Backstrom led the team out on the ice for the 3rd period, with Harding nowhere to be seen. Not what the team wanted to be faced with, especially on Harding's Hope night.
Cam Ward was also injured 4 minutes into the game trying to track a shot from Mikael Granlund. Hurricanes PR have said he will be out 3-4 weeks, but there is no definitive word on his injury yet.
Quick update on Jonas Brodin: saw him tonight and his face is more swollen than a chipmunk. He can barely speak though, and he is going to need a ton of dental work. The Wild say he won't need surgery though, but as of now there is no timetable for his return. He is expected to try and skate tomorrow however.
2. Can Josh Harding maintain his excellent level of performance? Absolutely. Hopefully he is feeling fine and ready to go on Saturday.
3. Does the PK continue to crawl back to respecitbility? The PK was actually pretty good tonight. Not great, but better than normal
4. Does Justin Fontaine make the most of his time on the 1st line? He's definitely not out of place, but I'm not convinced he stays there for the long term yet
5. How does Matt Dumba do on his comeback from a healthy scratch? I didn't hear Chuck Fletcher screaming at him from the pressbox, so that means he probably played alright.