The Wild looked tired, they lacked intensity, they lacked focus. They were playing a team coming off a couple days rest. This didn't bode well. Pair that with the Wild's seemingly never-ending bad luck revolving around officiating and it had the makings of a bad, bad night.
The Wild lost the game on a ridiculous 5 on 3 in the second period, where one penalty was borderline and the other was a complete joke.
From Russo's blog:
The Wild felt the calls on Eric Belanger and Kyle Brodziak were borderline at best. I agree especially on the Brodziak one. As he said (you can read in the gamer), it was a nothing play in the neutral zone and yet referee Dennis LaRue thought it was so blatant, he'd put the Wild down 5-on-3 for 1:15. Look at the replay on NHL.com's GameCenter and you be the judge.
Ok. Let's watch the replay.
Oh wait, that penalty call isn't on the game highlights. Nor is the John Scott fight, but the fight where Boogaard nailed the linesman in the ribs sure was there. Serves him right for jumping in and tackling the two fighters. I'm sick of the refs in the NHL getting in so early on fights.
As outlined in Glen Andresen's column from wild.com:
You’d think seeing the sight of his fellow linesman in agony after taking a kidney thump from one of the biggest fighters in the game would discourage Lonnie Cameron from doing the save. Sometimes, it’s best not to think logically when you’re talking about refs. Right off a faceoff, John Scott and Troy Bodie dropped the gloves. Before they could throw a punch, Cameron jumped in the middle so stop the fight. Scott obviously thought it was a joke and pushed Cameron out of the way so he could get at Bodie. No dice. Cameron again jumped in there and held Scott back.
Either wait until someone is taken down or until the fighters are so exhausted that you have an opening. There is too much contact right now between fighters and linesmen, and after Dustin Penner and Colton Orr got away with shoving/punching them, I guarantee you either Dustin Boogaard (for his shot to the linesman's ribs) or John Scott (for his brushing aside of the other linesman) are going to get suspended. It's the Wheel of Justice, and it hates the Wild.
Anyway, there really wasn't a lot to say about last night's game. It was great to see Kim Johnsson get his goal, which is his first career three game goal scoring streak. Bobby Ryan is having a fantastic season, and is primed and ready for the Olympics. The U.S. needs him. Antti Miettinen keeps making it hard for Jari Kurri to leave him off the Finnish squad with another goal. Mittens is having a simply fantastic season.
Tonight wasn't on Josh Harding, it wasn't on Derek Boogaard's turnover. It wasn't on defensive lapses. It was a team loss. They were flat at the start and Harding kept it close.
- Can the Wild step on the throat of an opponent they should be able to beat handily? No. That was disappointing to see. The Wild are a more talented team than the Ducks, but it didn't show.
- The Ducks are well rested coming off two losses while the Wild are on the second night of a back to back. Will that difference in rest prove to be a factor? It might've been fatigue, or even mental fatigue, but there was a difference in the way the two teams came out.
- Bobby Ryan is on fire and always seems to play well against the Wild. Can he be neutralized? Good lord no. Bobby Ryan is playing out of his mind right now.
- The Wild are finding scoring and clutch play from a seemingly different guy each night during December. Who will be that guy tonight? Well, I suppose we have to say Johnsson, he of the first ever three game goal scoring streak.
- Can the Wild make this December the best month in franchise history by beating the Ducks at the Ponda? Nope. One more shot at home on New Year's Eve against the Kings.