There is something special about the Minnesota Wild opening night at the Xcel Energy Center. The excitement and energy of the fans, the sea of Wild jerseys and of course a VICTORY on the home pond is exactly why Minnesota is the state of hockey.
The Wild beat the Chicago Blackhawks one to zip thanks to a goal by Pierre-Marc Bouchard in the second period. The Bouchard, Brian Rolston, Eric Belanger line was on fire all night and the goal was an awesome display of the lines team work and strength. I am a huge Brian Rolston fan and I often think he lives in the shadows of Marian Gaborik, but his line shined tonight. All three boys touched the puck before Pierre-Marc Bouchard shoved it in from the slot.
The real star of the opener was Minnesota Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom. Perhaps this MN Wild Freak had forgotten what a star Backstrom really is, but I was definitely reminded tonight. He stopped all of Chicago’s 27 shots including a flurry of activity in the third period. I don’t think I sat down once in the last few minutes as I watched Backstrom block shot after shot. I want to end this post with a fitting quote from one of Backstroms Wild teammates:
Defensemam Nick Schultz said, "It’s nice the way we played in the third period, being up 1-0. We owe a lot to Backstrom. He played extremely well, and we wouldn’t have won this game without him."
Minnesota Wild Game Fact: The Wild has now won its last six home openers, and remained undefeated at 6-0-1. Minnesota is definitely the state of hockey! Go Wild!