Anaheim Ducks 3-0 Minnesota Wild
Well, the Wild come screaming back to mediocrity tonight against the Anaheim Ducks. I'm not sure what it is about the Ducks, but they certainly have the advantage over the Wild. Time and again Anaheim simply out plays the Wild in all facets of the game. Tonight was a series of bad breaks, late whistles, early whistles, missed chances, bad shot selection, defensive breakdowns, mental mistakes and poor play.
Antti Miettinen missed open shot after open shot. Mikko Koivu looked gassed all night. Kim Johnsson was out of position at least three times leading to scoring opportunities. Pierre-Marc Bouchard couldn't get himself out of traffic. Cal Clutterbuck hit everything that moved and had a couple decent chances, but couldn't buy a goal. Niklas Backstrom was the victim of defensive breakdowns. Owen Nolan had a goal taken away on a horribly quick whistle, followed by the only time I've ever seen the ref stand in the goalmouth looking for a puck when it was clearly covered by Backstrom. Eric Belanger was at least a step slow all night. Marc-Andre Bergeron made three of the dumbest plays I've seen all season on outlet passes. Kim Johnsson also was stupid with the puck and couldn't get the team on track. The power play was weak at best. They didn't take the zone with speed, dumped when they should've skated. Skated when they should've dumped. Passed the puck to guys facing the wrong way. It was horrible. Oh, and the Wild only took one penalty resulting in a man advantage, but the vaunted Wild PK gave up a power play goal on that only chance. Then to top it all off, Andrew Brunette went off with some kind of injury, and may miss the Chicago game on Monday!
On the other end, Corey Perry had the puck come right to him in the low slot twice and buried both of them. Chris Pronger had a green light to cross-check everything in his path. Chris Kunitz is a petulent little snot. Jonas Hiller got just enough of the puck four times to somehow keep the Wild off the scoresheet when he had no business making the save.
The positives were that Ryan Getzlaf was completely neutralized. Owen Nolan beat Montador into a pulp and wreaked havoc but couldn't get the puck in scoring position.. Colton Gillies played a solid game. Derek Boogaard played a solid game. That's it. That's all I can think of right now.
Hockey Wilderness Three Stars
- Corey Perry (2 G)
- Jonas Hiller (30 shots, 30 saves)
Bobby Ryan (1 G)
Questions to Answer
- Does the offense continue its hot streak? Nope. The train went off the tracks tonight.
- Does the defense continue to pick up the slack in the offensive end? No. The defense was abysmal in the offensive zone.
- Can the Wild stop Ryan Getzlaf? Nope, he made a great feed on Corey Perry's second goal.
- With Brad May gone, does Chris Kunitz become public enemy #1? No. It's Chris Pronger. God I hate that guy.
- Can the Wild get to Hiller early and often? They got to him often, but from sharp angles or into his chest.
- BONUS HOCKEY DAY QUESTION: Where and who would you want to play in the Hockey Day Minnesota Game? Dallas Stars - Baudette Bay.
- Nick Schultz played in his 492nd career game, all with the Wild, to move into the top spot on the franchise's list.
- The last game Brunette missed was on Dec. 31, 2001, due to a bruised shoulder.
- Mikko Koivu and Andrew Brunette have each scored once in the last 17 games.
- Kurtis Foster, out for the last 10-plus months with a broken leg, will travel with the team to Chicago and take part in his first road practice since the injury.
The Game In Pictures