Wild @ Stars: Who knew winning could feel so good?!?!

Tom Szczerbowski

Final score 7-4

The Wild started the game looking pretty good. On his first shift back from injury, Nike Rupp set up Devin Setoguchi for a great scoring chance that just about went in. A few plays later, Kaptain Mikko Koivu and Zach Parise combined for another almost goal that seemed to settle right on the goal line. After a quick play from the Star's Derek Roy to get it away from the net, the Stars went to straight to the other net and managed to squeak a goal in after a fumbled play by Ryan Suter. About halfway through the first, Cal Clutterbuck got shoved awkwardly into the net, and ended up injuring his right ankle (not the same leg that was injured by the oil this season). The Wild responded well to Cal being helped off the ice by almost immediately scoring on a great goal by Parise. He managed to get 3 rebounds in a row before finally getting the puck in the net. Towards the end of the 1st, rookie phenom Jonas Brodin tripped Eric Nystrom, which led to a PPG by Jaromir Jagr.

The second period saw a bit of the old AND new Wild teams. They scored, but then let in goals really quickly afterwards. Clutterbuck was back on the bench to start the 2nd, and played throughout the period. Stars had a 10 minute misconduct to start the period for Antoine Roussel's hit on Jared Spurgeon after the whistle (boxscore lists it as Koivu, but my TV shows it being Spruge). Koivu scored within the first few minutes of the second, but then a breakdown in communication led to a Stars goal by Trevor Daley a short time later. After another fluky "puck sits on the goal line", it looked like the Wild woke up and started realizing they were the better team in the arena. The top line of Koivu, Parise and Charlie Coyle worked their butts off and refused to not add another goal. They crashed the net and potted the Wilds third goal. Matt Cullen scored his 200th NHL goal shortly after that to make the score 4-3.

Defensive play picked up, forwards, especially with Clutterbuck and Kyle Brodziak pitching in to keep Dallas from making plays. The Wild really looked like they had Dallas's number, but a bad turnover from Rupp and Mitchell lead to the game tying goal. Frankly, the Defense was horrible for both teams tonight. Like, disgustingly horrible.Finally the Wild had a nice powerplay from their 1st unit. Didn't leave to zone once, and had a decent amount of shots.

Rupp took a stupid penalty at the end of the third and it resulted in a double minor and a misconduct. However, Clutterbuck managed to steal the puck at center ice and convert it to Brodziak, who in turn managed to score the Wilds first shorthanded goal of the season. Great PK by the Wild on the 4 minute minor, which was exactly what the Wild need to keep momentum in their favor. It was lights out from that point on, and Dallas didn't really have a chance. Dany Heatley stuffed in a rebound with a minute and a half to go, and Pierre-Marc Bouchard got an empty netter to seal the deal.

Wild win 7-4, end their losing streak in Dallas, and for the first time in franchise history they have won 6 in a row. Back on top in the Northwest division, and back to 3rd in the conference. Also, for only the 2nd time in team history, the Wild scored 7 goals. Wild recorded 42 shots on goal, to the Stars 26. Who knew winning could feel so good?

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