Tonight WILDerness, we get a much needed road win in regulation, the first in 20 attempts on the road. As nice as this win was it was marked by a dirty, pointless hit on the Wild's Cal Clutterbuck at the end of the game by the worthless piece of shit Taylor Hall. I'll be honest WILDerness, I WAS excited for the win, I WAS excited to get to write this recap, and then some asshole took the wind right out of my sails.
We all know about the "shoulder to shoulder" hit Hall levied on Jonas Brodin when the Aeros played the Barons during the lockout, breaking Brodin's collar bone and causing him to miss a bunch of time at the beginning of the AHL season. Of course the match penalty Hall received was rescinded after the game and Oiler fans everywhere cried out in jubilation that their 2nd-line "star" was an innocent man and not a dirty player. Well this prick has erased all doubt tonight and has turned himself into a marked man in Minnesota. Devin Setoguchi said it himself in the post game, "we'll put it in the memory bank, and we'll remember for next time we see them." Coach Yeo chimed in as well, "It looked like he was trying to hurt a guy."
Enough with that hack, if I never hear his name again it will be too soon.
Tonight we started off pretty slow, registering just 3 shots on goal in the first period. Fortunately for the Wild Backstrom showed up tonight like he always tends to do against the Oilers. After a lot of follow the bouncing puck in the first period these two teams seemed poised for a defensive battle. Both teams dug in for the long haul in a game that could of easily finished 1 - 0 in overtime.
The Wild came out and for a great portion of the 2nd period controlled the play and gave us some great offensive pressure. They came out firing the puck as well and would finish the period with 16 shots on goal to the Oilers 10. It was nice to see the 2nd line of Cullen, Zucker and Clutterbuck performing in a fashion we have not seen very often this season. Unfortunately Ryan Smyth of the Oilers would start the scoring at the 12:26 mark of the 2nd with a wrap-around chance that Backstrom just couldn't get to the right post and cover. But that would be all she wrote for the Oilers as the Wild would answer Smyth's goal just 2:36 later when a pass meant for Jason Zucker was tipped onto Matt Cullen's stick who managed to then skate in behind the Oiler defense and deposit a backhand through the 5-hole on Oilers goalie Devan Dubnyk.
The 3rd period brought some stretches of end-to-end hockey which if the Wild had tried to keep pace with some of them speedy Oilers could of spelled doom for this squad. Backstrom was tested a few time but was up to the challenge. The game winning goal would come off the stick of the now surging Devin Setoguchi just 2:20 into the 3rd on a wicked nice wrister from the circle, beating Dubnyk high on the pad side. Cullen would also notch his 2nd goal of the game at the 13:59 mark for a little insurance and a 3rd point on the night after getting the only assist on the Setoguchi goal. Backstrom seemed unflappable and the game seemed to be in hand when Taylor Hall decided to give everyone his finest impersonation of Raffi Torres. Cal Clutterbuck was the object of Hall's affection and the hit would leave him lying on the ice in pain before eventually being skated to the Zamboni door and carted off on a stretcher.
Things don't look good for buttercup, although some are speculating it was just a bad charlie horse and all that carrying him off the ice business was precautionary. Lets hope for the best and a speedy recovery for Clutterbuck who seemed (to this guy at least) to be coming around and starting to find his game this season.
The Wild were able to carry the momentum from 4 nights ago on to the road and earn a nice victory in the worst city in the world. Next up for the Wild, they travel south down Queen Elizabeth II Highway to Calgary for another contest against the Calgary Flames this Saturday. Can the Wild make it 2 straight on the road? Stay tuned to find out.