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Minnesota Wild vs. Montreal Canadiens: The Morning After

Montreal Canadiens 2-1 Minnesota Wild

After living large on the power play in the first 8 games of the season, game number 9 was an entirely different story. The Wild went 0 for 10 on the man advantage. The NHL's third best power play unit failed miserably and as a result, the Wild crapped the bed in an eminently winnable game. Once again, they proved that, aside from the AMA line, there is no sustainable pressure on this team, and if that line doesn't score, the Wild lose. Brent Burns was moved to forward with the lower body injury to Owen Nolan, Derek Boogaard being left off the ice (the Canadiens would have skated rings around big 24) and Tomas Mojzis was in the game at D for Burns. Burns provided the Wild's only goal of the game, with a nifty tip on a great pass from James Sheppard. Unfortunately, the Wild spend too much time making pretty passes all night, and nobody took the shots when they had them, let alone creating their own scoring chances.

Without Marian Gaborik in the lineup, the Wild offense, once again looked anemic. Too many playmakers, not enough snipers. Gaborik is lookign more and more valuable, and those in the press, stands and blogosphere who said that the Wild offfense will be fine without him should be begging #10 to get healthy and get back on the ice. General Manager Doug Risebrough needs to look at the last four games as evidence of Gaborik's importance to the team. WIthout Gaborik, the Wild have one offensive line and three checking units. Pierre-Marc Bouchard has been absent from the scoresheet for far too long, and needs to get Gabby back more than anyone else.



Questions to Answer

  1. Can they shake off the hangover? They looked good early, then pissed down their leg as opportunity after opportunity passed them by. Were they tired from the overnight travel, or just not good enough offensively?
  2. Which AK will have the better night? Frankly, neither Alexei Kovalev (and his beautiful hair) nor Andrei Kostitsyn impressed tonight. Actually, aside from Koivu, Tanguay and Plekanec, I wasn't impressed with Montreal tonight. That's surprising, considering I think Montreal is the class of the East.
  3. Will Josh Harding continue building on a decent outing? The first goal caught him by surprise, but aside from that, Harding was stellar. He kept the team in the game with a number of nice saves in traffic at the doorstep, and kept rebounds to a minimum, which had been his problem last year. Pair that with an outstanding stop on Robert Lang's breakaway and Harding did everything he could to win the game.
  4. Can anyone outside the AMA line produce any pressure at all? Nope. See the opening paragraph for my thoughts on this.
  5. Will Alexei Kovalev's hair prove to be the difference maker we all know it can be? His hair let  him down. In fact, his hair let us all down.

Hockey Wilderness Three Stars

  1. Carey Price
  2. Alex Tanguay (2 assists)
  3. Brent Burns (1 goal. Forward on even strength, forward and defense on the power play, defense on penalty kill. Burnsie was everywhere tonight)


  • Minnesota RW Marian Gaborik missed his seventh straight game with an unspecified lower body injury
  • Tonight marked the first time in NHL history that two brothers played against each other as captains of their respective teams when Saku and MIkko Koivu took the opening faceoff, won by the younger Koivu.
  • The Canadiens played their 2,900th NHL road game in franchise history.
  • Nine of the Wild's 11 shots in the second period came on the power play,

What the team is saying


What others are saying


The game in pictures




Game Highlights