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Minnesota Wild @ Florida Panthers: The Morning After

Fantastic performance tonight in a 6-2 Wild win!


Minnesota Wild - 6
Florida Panthers - 2

Hockey Wilderness Three Stars
3. Niklas Backstrom – 25 shots/23 saves
2. Antti Miettinen – 2 goals, 1 assist
1. Mikko Koivu – 1 goal, 4 assists

Questions to Answer - The Answers

1. With Marian Gaborik, Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Owen Nolan out, who step it up tonight? Antti Miettinen and Mikko Koivu. Wow.
2. Can the special teams continue their good stellar play? Absolutely. 3/6 on the pp and 4/4 on the PK. Fantastic so far.
3. Can Tomas Mojzis provide anything as a forward? Not tonight, but we'll see how it goes. Hopefully it's not necessary.
4. Will Cal Clutterbuck puke in the locker room? Actually, the kid wasn't too bad tonight. He took the body when necessary and didn't get out of hand.
5. Will the Panthers outsell the Thrashers?? Nope. What a joke. They can't even give them away.

From The Local Press

Star Tribune

Mikko Koivu had a goal and four assists and Antti Miettinen scored twice on the power play to help the Minnesota Wild stay unbeaten with a 6-2 victory over the Florida Panthers on Thursday night.

Koivu's four assists tied a franchise record and gave him eight assists in three games. Miettinen added an assist and has five goals in three games, all wins for the Wild. Andrew Brunette, Kim Johnsson and Benoit Pouliot also scored for Minnesota.

It's the third consecutive season Minnesota has started off with three consecutive victories. The Wild started 5-0 last season and 6-0 in 2006-07.

The Wild broke out the old smoke and mirrors Thursday night, playing one of those conservative trapping games that used to confound and frustrate opponents in equal measure.

The Florida Panthers were on the wrong end this time, 6-2 losers to a team with four of its best players sidelined by injury.

Antti Miettinen scored his fifth goal in three games, and Mikko Koivu set a career high with five points — a goal and four assists — as the Wild got big nights from some improbable heroes to improve to 3-0-0 this season.

Andrew Brunette and Kim Johnsson scored, and Benoit Pouliot had a goal and assist, for Minnesota, which completes its southeastern road trip with a game at Tampa Bay on Saturday night.

With Marian Gaborik and Owen Nolan watching in street clothes, and Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Marek Zidlicky back in Minnesota, the Wild worked the neutral zone like they did in the old days, when they were an overmatched expansion team trying stay with established clubs.

They forced turnovers and basically kept the Panthers out of the offensive zone for much of the game.

But this team has more talent than those did, even with some of its best players out. Koivu was, again, sensational, feeding Brunette to help the Wild go up 1-0 at 11:50 of the first period, and sending a sharp cross-ice pass to Miettinen, who buried it top shelf for a power-play goal and 3-1 lead late in the second period.

From the Not so Local Press

Miami Herald

The Panthers were built around goaltending and defense. It sure hasn't looked like it.

Despite Minnesota playing without three of its biggest offensive threats, the Panthers couldn't stop the defensive-minded Wild Thursday night, Minnesota scoring three in the second period to roll 6-2 in an ugly affair at BankAtlantic Center.

Good thing there weren't many there to witness it.

Florida hasn't beaten Minnesota since the Wild was an expansion team in 2001, the Panthers winless in the past seven meetings. In that span, Florida has been outscored 30-11 by a team, well, not known for its scoring.

And Minnesota did its damage without Marian Gaborik, Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Owen Nolan. Instead, the Wild got goals from Andrew Brunette (on Minnesota's second shot of the game almost 12 minutes in), Kim Johnsson, Antti Miettinen (twice), Benoit Pouliot and Mikko Koivu.

Those few fans in attendance didn't like what they saw, one openly taunting Vokoun after Pouliot dipped and dodged through the Florida defense and scored a way-too-easy goal to make it 4-2. Coach Pete DeBoer must have heard the critic, backup Craig Anderson put in to start the third.

Images and Video after the cut

Game Highlights




Video Highlights:

Scoring Summary
1st Period
Minnesota 11:50, Andrew Brunette 2 (Mikko Koivu, Antti Miettinen)
2nd Period
Minnesota 2:58, Kim Johnsson 1 (Benoit Pouliot, Derek Boogaard)
Florida 4:15, Nick Boynton 1 (Keith Ballard, Nathan Horton)
Minnesota 13:29, Antti Miettinen 4 (power play) (Mikko Koivu, Tomas Mojzis)
Florida 14:42, Karlis Skrastins 1 (Cory Murphy, Stephen Weiss)
Minnesota 15:58, Benoit Pouliot 1 (Mikko Koivu)
3rd Period
Minnesota 6:21, Antti Miettinen 5 (power play) (Mikko Koivu, Marc-Andre Bergeron)
Minnesota 15:59, Mikko Koivu 1 (power play) (unassisted)

Shots on Goal
Minnesota 5-17-12 for 34
Florida 8-9-9 for 26

Penalty Summary
1st Period
Florida roughing – 2 min 7:26, G. Campbell
Minnesota roughing – 2 min 7:26, D. Boogaard served by C. Weller
Minnesota roughing – 2 min 7:26, D. Boogaard
Florida roughing – 2 min 7:26, N. Boynton
Minnesota kneeling – 2 min 7:26, E. Reitz
Florida fighting – 5 min 14:06, W. Belak
Minnesota fighting – 5 min 14:06, D. Boogaard
2nd Period
Florida holding – 2 min 11:52, K. Ballard
Florida roughing – 2 min 15:58, N. Horton
Minnesota hooking – 2 min 18:12, S. Veilleux
Minnesota high sticking – 2 min 19:20, B. Burns
3rd Period
Minnesota hooking – 2 min 2:12, M. Skoula
Florida too many men on the ice – 2 min 4:21, Bench served by R. Dvorak
Florida hooking – 2 min 6:03, K. Skrastins
Florida too many men on the ice – 2 min 7:04, Bench served by R. Zednik
Florida slashing – 2 min 14:41, K. Ballard

Faceoffs Won
MInnesota – 25
Florida – 36

Power Play
Minnesota – 3/6
Florida – 0/4