Emilie wasn't feeling well this evening folks, so you'll have to put up with me tonight for your game recap. The Minnesota Wild were given the tough task of battling the St. Louis Blues at the Scottrade Center in Missouri tonight. A task that almost seems unfair in this unforgiving Western Conference.
The Wild came out of the gate to a goal from Zach Parise that was immediately called off for being played with a high stick. Had it been called a goal the folks in the war room in Toronto would have had a pretty tough time reversing the decision. As it stood though there was no conclusive evidence to smile on the Wild early in the game.
Not even a minute later the Blues would tally the games first goal when a puck bounced the wrong way in front of Niklas Backstrom pushing him well out of position and leaving a wide open net for Vladimir Sobotka. The Wild went from riding high off the almost goal to being down by one, and all within the first 90 seconds of the game.
Alexander Steen who had recorded just 1 point in his last 4 games would find the back of the net in the first period as well when Backstrom left a juicy rebound in front of the net where Steen was able to gather up the remains and deposit them in another wide open net.
Rebounds were kind of the story of the night for Backstrom. Through the first half of the game he couldn't seem to corral much or deflect pucks out of danger. The fact the Wild were able to keep the deficit to two was pretty remarkable really.
The Wild overall lacked the possession game we had become increasingly used to, winning just 4 of 18 faceoffs through the first period was a huge problem. If the Wild were to have any hope of staying in the game they needed to get better in the dot, but the Blues had other plans.
To make matters worse, Zach Parise was injured in the first period as well. He took a slapshot off the foot and did not return to the ice for the last few minutes of the first. He did not come out to the bench for the second period as well, but after 5 minutes he did return to test out the foot. He played limited minutes and eventually left the ice for good. No word yet on the extent of his injury, but Michael Russo of the Star Tribune tweeted he was limping pretty bad after the game.
Parise says they'll know tomorrow what's wrong with his foot. He is limping badly. #mnwild— Michael Russo (@Russostrib) November 26, 2013
The Wild showed a little more patience as the second period moved along, and even held onto the puck for a portions of the middle stanza. They showed a little more life in the faceoff circle, but no serious improvements to speak of.
The 3rd period brought a lot of back and forth hockey. The Wild kept pace with the Blues for the most part (besides in faceoffs of course) and even dominated in shots on goal for the final frame at a 12 - 1 mark. Unfortunately the Wild could not solve Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak. Steen sealed the deal for the Blues notching an empty net goal from the top of his defensive circle (jerk) and that would about do it folks.
One small victory for the Wild tonight was the PK. They had to kill 3 penalties against the top ranked PP in the NHL and did not allow a goal while down a man. In the end, the Wild suffered their first shutout loss on the season to what is probably the best team in the NHL right now. It was unfortunate they were not able to get one past the Blues tonight, but their will be other games and we don't have to worry about seeing the Blues again until the very end of December.
Your Wild come home for their next game which will be against the Phoenix Coyotes Wednesday night at the X. The Wild could use a nice bounce back and a steady helping of goals to get tonight's bad taste out of their mouth.