The Minnesota Wild did it again tonight, winning a game where they were outshot quite a bit and continuing their unbeaten in 2014 streak with a 4-1 win against the Phoenix Coyotes. Not the outcome most fans had after a disastrous December.
Justin Fontaine scored his first professional hat trick tonight, and in the process became the first Wild rookie to get a hat trick in team history. Fontaine's hat trick comes fresh off the heels of Ryan Suter's hat trick Saturday night against the Washington Capitals. Prior to the hat trick by Suter, the last hat trick for the Wild came from Guillaume Latendresse, ironically in Phoenix in 2010 (Almost exactly 4 years ago, 1/17/10).
Niklas Backstrom played a fantastic game tonight and was probably the best player on the ice. Backstrom faced 40 shots, stopped 39 of them, and absolutely stonewalled Keith Yandle on multiple chances. He's playing like a guy who knows this is his last chance to show the team, and the fans, that he can still play the game.
Also on the impressive list was Kyle Brodziak. As many of you are well versed in, it seems like 80% of the time that the Wild get a breakaway or a 2 on 1, Kyle Brodziak has the puck and he ends up shooting it wide. Every. Time. Except tonight apparently. Brodziak got a bit of a breakaway and shot at the net. Not only that, but it got past Mike Smith and into the net. For a goal, with the goaltender on the ice.
The bad news was ANOTHER BLOCKED SHOT INJURY. Because they are like Pokemon, and man do the Wild really really REALLY want to catch them all. Jason Zucker blocked a shot with his knee, and needed help off the ice towards the end of the game. Post game reports say he was walking around and said it was just a cut, but that looked pretty damn painful.
The Wild take on the Avalanche Saturday evening at 7pm in St. Paul. This was the Wild's 4th win in a row, and the Avs have won 3 of their last 4. The Wild need to win in regulation if they want to try and catch the Avs for the 3rd in #conferenceIII spot. After tonight's game, the Wild are in the last Wild Card playoff spot.