Minnesota Wild 2-0 Colorado Avalanche
Hey! Look at that, the Wild not only got the first goal of the game, but did it in the first period, then scored again in the first to take the first 2-0 lead in the first period since ... um ... crap, I can't even think of the last time they did that.
Owen Nolan is absolutely on fire. He now has 8 goals in the last 9 games. Since he came back from injury, Nolan has been a man possessed. He's doing everything the Wild and the Team of 18,000 expected from him. He's creating traffic down low, deflecting pucks on the power play, knocking home the garbage. Basically doing what Andrew Brunette is not.
It's nice to see the Wild get the early lead, but I'm still a bit bothered by the 32 shots they gave up to a team missing three centers. Brent Burns was just about perfect tonight. Two assists, +1, 25:03 and was everywhere he needed to be tonight. This was the best game I've seen from Burns since he moved back to the blue line. Very impressive young man.
Anyway, not much to say tonight, other than this was a game they needed to win, and they did. We'll see you Friday night in Boston. Remember, that's a Versus game.
Hockey Wilderness Three Stars
- Owen Nolan (2 G)
- Niklas Backstrom (32 shots, 32 saves)
Brent Burns (2 A)
Questions to Answer
- With no Sakic, Stastny or McCormick, and Wolski moving to center, can the Avalanche find an offensive groove? Nope. 32 shots, but only a handful of scoring chances.
- Will the Wild bounce back from a heart-breaking loss to the Red Wings? The Wild played a pretty good defensive game, and seemed to have learned a lot from both the San Jose and Detroit games and took it to heart tonight, putting together a nice 2-0 win.
- With 33:33 of TOI last night, and Brent Burns have the juice to put in another workmanlike performance tonight? Burns looked great. He was everywhere on the ice in a more manageable 25:03 TOI with 2 assists, a +1 and 3 SOG.
- Can Nolan and Miettinen continue to contribute offensively? Mittens had a decent game, but only managed 2 SOG. Nolan, on the other hand, was on fire tonight. Two goals, 7 shots and looked to get that hat trick all night long.
- Will the kids perform, or continue to flounder? The kids were meek tonight. I was not impressed with Gillies or Sheppard, but Clutterbuck was decent.
- Tonight's power play goal for Owen Nolan puts him in 8th position all-time.
- Niklas Backstrom is now 5-1 lifetime at Pepsi Center.
- Nolan has four goals in three games since his return from a leg injury that sidelined him for nearly a month.
- The Wild are 2-5 this season in the second leg of back-to-back contests.
- Niklas Backstrom got his 4th shutout this season and 13th of his career.
- The Wild are back in 8th place in the playoff race.