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This is one of those games where it may just be easier to grasp the positives and try to forget the negatives. Fact is, the Wild played one of their better games, yet still surrendered 38 shots on goal. There were still times when they lacked the ability to form a solid break out, and many players had no interest in the forecheck.
All of that mentioned, and noted, the Wild won the game with a flurry of three goals on just six shots in the first period. A crazy bouncing puck from Cal Clutterbuck initiated the #DanEllisProblems. After the Bolts' lone goal of the game, a beautiful play between Martin Havlat and John Madden on a give and go put the Wild back in the lead.
Later in the period, after Mathias "I'm a Hack And Shouldn't Even Be Allowed to Skate" Ohlund gave a cheap shot to Andrew Brunette, the Wild wasted no time in scoring a second power play goal and extending the lead on a goal from Antti Miettinen. That would be three goals on six shots in the first. Talk about Dan Ellis Problems.
After that, things turned into a basic back and forth type of game, with both teams getting chances, but no damage being done.
The Wild's defensemen can share a collective victory in this game, as each of them played very well. As I noted in the game thread, it is a welcome sight to see players like Justin Falk and Marco Scandella physically clearing the front of Backstrom's crease with all due force. No offense from the blue line tonight, but solid, well positioned play that helped keep the 38 SOG from low percentage areas.
Speaking of 38 SOG, Backstrom with another huge night in the net. 37 saves, some of them of the huge variety, most of them of the seemingly mundane variety. However, any shot coming off the stick of Steven Stamkos is going to be dangerous. The fact that Backstrom continues to carry this team is impressive, and foreboding. Hopefully the Wild can start to not only limit the quality of shots, but also the quantity.
A good win to end a terrible road trip. After going 3-1-1 at home, they finish up 1-2-0 on the road. Going to need to string together some road wins if this is going to result in a playoff run at some point.
- Wild out shot 38-17
- Sixth three assist game for Havlat in his career
- Clutterbuck listed as "day-to-day" with an Upper Body Injury
Hockey Wilderness Three Stars:
1. Niklas Backstrom (37 saves, 1 GA)
2. Martin Havlat (3A, +2, 17:31 TOI)
3. John Madden (1G, 1A, +2)
- With Burns out and Zidlicky hurt, who steps up? Collective effort. Every d-man with a great game.
- Is it possible to shut dwon Stamkos? One assist, -1, 4 SOG. Not sure that counts as shutting him down, but he didn't score, so there is that.
- Can Niklas Backstrom steal a win tonight? Damn skippy.
- Will Mikko finally bust the slump? A pretty good game for the Kaptain. Not what we are used to, but better than what we have seen lately.
- Can SpaethCo finally witness a road win? The curse is broken!