Minnesota Wild 5-1 Edmonton Oilers
How? How on earth has this team scored 11 goals (10 even strength) in two games? I mean, I understand that it was Phoenix and Edmonton, but even against the worst teams in the NHL, the Wild offense has been anemic for months. Tonight it was Kolanos, Clutterbuck, Bouchard, Burns and Belanger. The goal-scorers aren't scoring right now, but the energy guys are proving to be assets and finally getting the goals they deserve. Combine them with the great offensive help from the defensemen (Burns, Zidlicky, Bergeron) and they are picking up the slack right now as Koivu and Brunette fight whatever has been affecting them.
Pierre-Marc Bouchard finally got his game back on. His goal was a thing of beauty, and his linemates finally took advantage of his excellent playmaking. If he can continue to play like this, the guys on his line will continue to score. They just need to focus and work hard. It'll come.
How will the Pouliot situation affect the kids? Kolanos has taken advantage of his chances here and has proven that he can't be held back anymore. Let's hope he doesn't get complacent and instead continues to provide that spark from the energy lines. Veilleux has done what he's asked to do. Colton Gillies needs to get in the flow of the games now that Pouliot is back in Houston. James Sheppard needs to look at Benoit Pouliot and understand that if he doesn't produce and doesn't go hard every shift of every game, that he too will be heading back to Houston.
So, with the $2MM in cap space now with Pouliot gome, what will Risebrough do? Bring in scoring? Move Gaborik for someone? Re-sign Backstrom? What would you do with it?
Hockey Wilderness Three Stars
- Pierre-Marc Bouchard (1 G, 2 A, +3)
- Brent Burns (1 G, +3)
Krys Kolanos (1 G, +3)
Questions to Answer
- Can the offense continue their excellent 5 on 5 play from the Phoenix game? That they did. Four even-strength goals. Nicely done.
- With Ales Hemsky out, who will step up for the Oilers? Nobody. I assumed it would be Penner, but he helped on Reddox's garbage goal, and vanished.
- Can this game set the tone for the second-half divisional meetings? Let's hope so. The Wild played well in their own end, only giving up 21 shots, kept rebounds out of trouble and forced the Oilers to the outside. On the offensive side, they cycled well, put on pressure and drew penalties while scoring five goals. At the end, they avoided stupid penalties and the chippy game the Oilers were trying to start.
- Can Koivu or Brunette find the back of the net? Nope, but they were picked up by the other guys. Let's hope they get back on the score sheet Saturday.
- Roloson hasn't performed well against his old club, will tonight be different? Not at all. Roli was absolutely abused, but his defense wasn't helpful. The Wild came right down the high slot on three occasions tonight and scored beautiful goals.
- Can Owen Nolan continue his excellent play? Nolan didn't factor into the scoring, but had a good game, used his size well and worked the puck.
- Backstrom is 10-0 with a 1.58 gaa in 12 games against the Oilers.
- Bouchard broke a 10-game streak without a goal.
- Craig Weller was taken to the training room after taking a beating from Sheldon Souray
- Roloson's 11 losses against the Wild are tied with Roberto Luongo for most all-time.
The Game In Pictures