Minnesota Wild 2-3 Columbus Blue Jackets
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"We got what we deserved" - Todd Richards
Tale of three periods.
First: No effort, no hard-work, booed off the ice (see Tom Powers, the fans want the effort). Outshot by the Blue Jackets 10-2 (1-0 CBJ)
Second: Much better effort, fought for pucks in corners, created space and worked down low to create chances. Outshot Columbus 12-6 (2-2)
Third: Sat back and waited to get the chance to win, spent too much time chasing and ended up getting lazy on a power play again, and gave up the winning shorty to RJ Umberger, even though they had the opportunity to tie the game at the end, but were robbed on multiple occasions by Mathieu Garon (who was stellar in the third). (3-2 CBJ)
What do we take away?
Nystrom and Madden worked hard, but were on for too many goals (both were a -2 tonight). Cam Barker is still not into the flow of the game. Not sure what the story is there.
But, the biggest story is the vanishing act by Guillaume Latendresse. The savior last season, Lats is clearly on Richards' bad-side, but I'm not exactly sure why. Is it because he's lost a step? Did he get a diva attitude after signing the deal? Did he piss in Richards' Cheerios? Who knows, but they need to figure out why a $2.5M/year guy is fully embedded in the fourth line. Call me crazy, but that kind of potential offense needs to get his ass some real playing time, not three shifts in the third period.
The coach said it all. "We got what we deserved."
Yes, yes they did. A mediocre first period, a solid second period, but nothing special yet again, and nothing in the third until they got jobbed by Kelly Sutherland. Again. On a replay that clearly did not show the puck over the line, he said that the ruling on the ice would stand. Problem there? He never made a call on the ice, so what was the call on the ice?
Richards wanted nothing to do with the goal call. It was clearly on the team, and he said they put themselves in the position to be beaten by a call. We'll likely look at the goal a bit more tomorrow, but for tonight, know that we are in full agreement with the coach. They got what they deserved.
Niklas Backstrom looked out of position too many times, Eric Nystrom made too many mistakes, and the team defense just wasn't there like it was against the Oilers. Brent Burns was phenomenal, with a beautiful pinch and an even more beautiful backhander from almost below the goal line for the Wild's second, and final, goal.
Coach Richards also repeated his belief that the team is waiting for something. He made the comment that, "You can't wait for Mikko to do it every night." He is right when he says it, but as the coach, it comes down to him finding a way to make them quit waiting. "Herbies" for everyone. Just sayin.
Koivu, by the way, was solid all game again. He lost a couple of battles in the corners, lost a couple face offs, but no one is perfect, right? He still had his chances, and he still battled the entire game.
Guillaume Latendresse is squarely in the dog house. He was visibly absent from the third period, with just three shifts for 2:48 of TOI in the closing stanza. He clearly has lost a step... or two. If it is his conditioning, I sure hope the guy is doing something about it. If it is something else, he needs to find a way to be a factor again. Getting $2.5 million a year to be on the fourth line is not going to sit well with fans, and if his play continues at this level, the coaches can't be blamed for it.
All in all, it is what you expect when a team loses. There were chances; there were players who played well, players who certainly could have played better, and players who were flat out terrible. Those who wanted it were outnumbered by those that did not. That always results in a loss.
- Brent Burns scored his second goal of the season. He is the only Wild defenseman to score a goal this season.
- Cal Clutterbuck's goal was the first even-strength goal for Minnesota in 218 minutes, 10 seconds.
- Martin Havlat posted his first two-assist game since March 14 against St. Louis
Minnesota is now 11-2-1 in the last 14 home meetings with Columbus
Hockey Wilderness Three Stars:
- RJ Umberger (1 G)
- Matt Cullen (2 A)
- Martin Havlat (2 A)
- Will the Wild power play be perfect tonight? No. Far from it.
- Do the Wild build on the first win, or let it slip away? Slip sliding away.
Rick Nash has always been a problem for the Wild. Can they shut him down without forgetting about Filatov the phenom? Shockingly, Nash was a non-factor tonight, and I never noticed Filatov on the ice. The damage was done by Columbus' depth.
- Is tonight the night Martin Havlat breaks loose? He again had flashes tonight, but couldn't finish.
- Over under on goals for Koivu tonight is set at 2. What is your bet? It was clearly the under.
- Can the Wild put together a 60 minute effort? No. Not even close.