The Wild were without Zach Parise tonight. He was out with a lower body injury believed to be related to his previous foot injury. This moved Matt Cooke to the top line with Koivu and Coyle. The second line remained the same. Third line was Heatley-Brodziak-Fontaine, and fourth was Veilleux-Konopka-Mitchell.
Backstrom let in two very soft goals in the first. The first was by Luke Schenn (assists to Hartnell and Simmonds) which pretty much says everything you need to know about how awful that goal was. The second was to Wayne Simmonds (assists: Voracek and Giroux) which was similar to the first.
Mikael Granlund, returning from his concussion, had a sweet power play goal in the first as well. The Pommer-Granlund magic has not diminished in Granlund's absence. Assists there were to Pominville (of course) and Suter.
Backstrom did get stronger in the crease as the game went on. But, Mason was also strong in the net tonight as well. Backstom allowed one more goal on the night. A tip by Claude Giroux went high glove side. It was assisted by Coburn and Voracek.
Backstrom was pulled with a little more than a minute left in the third, and of course, there was an empty net goal scored by Wayne Simmonds (assisted by B. Schenn and Grossman).
Discipline was lacking by both teams tonight as the Wild were sent to the box four times and the Flyers five. Both teams had a power play goal, the wild's only goal. As I had noted in the preview, the Flyers had allowed only one goal on the penalty kill in their last 5 home games, so the fact that we got a power play goal against them is about the only positive to take away from this game.
Mike Yeo postgame quote of the night: "I'm not going to paint a rosy picture. I'm not going to make any excuses. Flat out, we need to be better. It's every one of us, starts with me."
Hockey Wilderness 3 Stars:
1. Wayne Simmonds 2 goals, 1 assist
2. Mikael Granlund 1 goal, 2 SOG, 19:20 in ice time in his second game back from concussion
3. Steve Mason 26 saves, .963 SV%
No Zach Parise means Matt Cooke to the top line.
2. Backstrom struggled last night in New York. Will he make a recovery tonight?
3. Will someone besides Jason Pominville score?
Mikael Granlund. Are we sure the 22-64-29 line is the second line?
4. Nate Prosser has not played since November 13. How does he look?
He took a delay of game penalty. He didn't look spectacular, but he wasn't horrible either. We'll see you again in a month, Nate.
5. Keith Ballard hip check count? I didn't get one. Sorry guys.