Minnesota Wild 2 - 1 Anaheim Ducks
The Wild took a reverse tactic in this game. Play a solid first, a solid second, then take the third period off before winning in over time. Despite being out shot in the third period 16-2, somehow the Wild pulled another rabbit out of the hat and took home another victory. They relied heavily on Niklas Backstrom yet again, and Backstrom came up aces. Again. At some point, they may want to consider some goal support.
The scoring was opened by the Ducks when Teemu Selanne made the Wild pay for taking their one minor penalty of the game. This almost immediately after Mikko Koivu nearly scored the Wild's first shorthanded goal of the season, if not for a bouncing puck. Just over a minute and a half later, Martin Havlat would answer with a filthy zero angle shot that somehow found its way in.
Through two, the Wild 21-11, had the Ducks pinned in their own zone several times, were beating the Ducks in every aspect of the game, and just needed to capitalize on any of many scoring chances. It was not to be however, and as mentioned above, the Wild took most of the third period off, being out shot 16-2 in the period, and not getting anywhere near the pressure nor the chances the got in the first 2/3 of the game. Entering the extra five minutes, the Wild were now being out shot 27-23.
The over time period was nothing special, with some back and forth before Marco "Pizza" Scandella took the puck coast to coast, put a backhanded shot on goal that rebounded out to Antti Miettinen who got off a quick shot. That shot banked off of Curtis McElhinney into Mittens' shoulder and into the net. The Ducks left the ice, the Wild left the ice, and all was quiet in Mudsville.
The refs decided to review it, with only Mikko Koivu and Ducks coach Randy Carlyle left to watch the result.
A big win for the Wild, even if the third period wasn't very good for them. They have now been out shot 587 times this season, a new NHL record. OK, maybe not, but you get the point. Eventually, they really need someone to shoot the puck, and someone to put the puck in the back of the net.
I'm going to try to talk more about this tomorrow... but what the hell were the fans doing all night tonight? Chances were every where for the Wild, they played their best first period of the season, and the place was silent. I don't mean to criticize, but someone needs to light a fire out in the crowd a little bit. I nominate SpeathCo.
Hockey Wilderness Three Stars:
1. Niklas Backstrom (27 saves, .964 save %)
2. Martin Havlat (1G, 5 (!) SOG, 20:01 TOI)
3. Curtis McElhinney (25 saves)
- Which of the teams that gets out shot every night will out shoot the other? Or do they tie? The Ducks took it. Stupid third period.
- One of the best top lines in the game tonight. Can the defense slow them down? A pair of assists, but a -5 on the night? GOod enough.
- Can the team keep Backstrom under 30 shots against? 27, so yep.
- Who is the hero tonight, and who is the goat? Hero... Backstrom. Goat... no one. Good game.
- Can Havlat, Nystrom, and Madden continue the chemistry? I'd say. Looked good all game. Well, except for the third.