Wilderness Walk: Givin' an L to L.A. Edition

Harry How

Darcy Kuemper and Nino Niederreiter carried the Wild to defeating the Kings, injuries, and logic in a 2-1 shootout win.

Wow.

Who saw that coming?

With the Minnesota Wild adding Mikko Koivu to the injury pile, along with Zach Parise, Josh Harding, and Jared Spurgeon, not very many people were expecting anything out of the Wild as they headed on the road to play the Los Angeles Kings.

Even less was expected when Niklas Backstrom was revealed to be too hurt to play, leaving Darcy Kuemper in net for the Wild. That was the same Darcy Kuemper who did anything but impress in his first two games of action, allowing 6 goals on 16 shots. Bad news, right?

Wrong. Because it turns out, it wasn't the same Darcy Kuemper who had a disastrous start for the Wild. This Darcy Kuemper shut down a very good Kings offense that put 40 shots on him. Nino Niederreiter was the only Wild player to realize that Kuemper needed support, and his two goals (one in the shootout) were just enough to have the Wild steal two points from Los Angeles.

Weird, huh?

The Wild are, for a change, being the team with the horseshoe up their ass. The last two games, the Wild have picked up two points despite being out-attempted 107-48, a margin of over 2-1. Clearly, the injuries have taken their toll and have left the Wild as a team that needs to get really hot goaltending, and get lucky to win.

Credit where credit is due, they managed to overcome a lot, and do just that over the last two games: Win. And getting nice results in games where they "shouldn't" get two points is something I'll take, what with that 6 game losing streak still fresh in my mind.

But let's hope that the Wild can get healthy quickly, so that they can get the good process that is needed to sustain these good results.

On to the Walk.

Wild News

Game Recaps

Kuemper, Niederreiter shine in Wild's shootout win over Los Angeles | Star Tribune

Wild 2, Kings 1 (SO): Spot-starting goalie Darcy Kuemper stars in win - TwinCities.com

Kuemper stops 39 shots and Niederreiter provides the goals in the Wild's huge 2-1 road win in Los Angeles

Darcy Kuemper "redeems" himself in Wild's shootout win | Russo's Rants | StarTribune.com

Other News

Wild notes: Harding placed on IR, still not feeling well | Star Tribune- Josh Harding still out, and the Wild aren't certain about his return date, at least not to the public. Though if Kuemper can play anywhere near he did tonight, we may not be so worried.

The Team of 18,001: Just How Valuable Is Mikko Koivu- Pretty valuable. The Wild were able to sneak out a win tonight, but they did not do a good job of keeping the puck in the Kings' zone, something Koivu is very good at.

The Team of 18,001: The 2014 Minnesota Wild Olympians- Suter, Parise, Granlund, Koivu, and Niederreiter make the Olympic teams. Notable omission would be Jonas Brodin.

Wild notes: Five are named Olympians, but Brodin isn't | Star Tribune- You can take comfort in the fact that this will probably be the last Olympics that doesn't have Brodin in them for a while.

Tending the Fields

Minnesota Wild move Dumba to Portland WHL team - TwinCities.com- The hope is that Dumba benefits from more playing time.

Minnesota Wild Returns Mathew Dumba to Portland- And the Winterhawks are pretty good, meaning that Dumba now gets a chance to turn it on in the Memorial Cup playoffs the way Charlie Coyle did a couple of years ago.

2014 World Juniors: Goalies and Forwards Disappoint for Canada, USA- Surprisingly, Mathew Dumba was not on this list.

Off the Trail

Ryan O’Reilly suffers injury in hockey hug gone awry (Video) | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports- Those dangerous hugs...

Logan Couture expected to be sidelined 3-4 weeks after hand surgery | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports- Ouch.

When Will the Maple Leafs Trade James Reimer?- When can the Wild get him? Not that I'm the charter member of "Reimer to the Wild".

NHL 2013-14 picks second half predictions | Home Ice - SI.com- No one picks Minnesota for the Cup.

Team Canada unveils their Olympic roster, avoids doing anything too crazy | Backhand Shelf | Blogs | theScore.com- Everything from here on out is pretty much Olympic stuff, mostly presented without comment because I'm lazy.

Team Russia’s Olympic roster lacks some depth, particularly on defense | Backhand Shelf | Blogs | theScore.com

Sweden’s Olympic roster is stacked, but not taking Hedman is a mistake | Backhand Shelf | Blogs | theScore.com- They'll be sorry for leaving Brodin off, too.

On the differences between playing on Olympic and NHL-sized ice sheets | Backhand Shelf | Blogs | theScore.com

All-Snub Team: Could an international squad of Olympic outcasts win gold? | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports- A solid roster, for sure.

Sochi Olympic team trades - Grantland- Fun article. I wish trades between countries could happen now.

Phoenix Coyotes import Tim Horton’s coffee for Canadian fans at home games | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports- Mmmmmmmmmm. I want some coffee.

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