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For the first time in a while (or ever, I haven't been here that long), someone other than Bryan or Nathan will be doing the recap. They've been asking me to try one out for a while, but something always came up. Tonight, Nathan and Bryan have left me the keys to the Wilderness. Now that I got that out of the way, let's get it started!
The Wild were facing a hot goalie in Mathieu Garon tonight, but it only took 8:49 to crack him on a great backhander by Brent Burns on the powerplay. After that goal, the game went downhill for the Wild for about 25 minutes, in which the Jackets scored twice, with goals by Rick Nash and Kyle Wilson. The second period was horrible as usual for the Wild, until Burnsie scored another goal on the powerplay on the FIRST SHOT of the second period, nearly 15 minutes in. The Wild were held to just three shots on goal in the entire period, while the CBJ had 16. The third period treated us to the Clutterstache show. He threw a couple of big hits, including a huge one on about 2 seconds before burying the Wild's third goal. He also had a great breakaway chances, but Rick Nash made a great defensive play to keep him from even getting a shot. Nick Schultz took a puck to the face in the third period and didn't return
Jose Theodore backed Niklas Backstrom up admirably, making many key saves and keeping the Wild in the game during the entire game, especially the dismal 2nd period.
Other than that, Matt Kassian had his first NHL fight against Jared Boll, and while Boll is a pretty tough candidate for a first NHL fight, Kassian made him look like the rookie, landing about three times as many punches as Boll did, with a big smile on his face the entire time. I don't know exactly how long the fight lasted, but it was a lengthy bout with no clear winner, as the refs broke it up, but you could see that both players had fun and much respect for one another. Good fight.
I can't say the Wild gave a full 60 minute effort (when do they really?) but it was enough. Not sure I'm comfortable with the Wild playing too many half games like that. The third period was very enjoyable, do you know why? Wait for it... Hard work, and now, the newly mandatory ''Sorry Tom''.... Sorry Tom.
The biggest factors tonight were the usual suspects: The powerplay and the goaltending, although the Wild did allow their first goal as Nikita Filatov was leaving the penalty box, so it could almost be considered a shorthanded goal, which is not O.K.
3 wins in a row for the Wild... If the Canucks lose tonight, we are officially tied for 1st in the Northwest Division. That hasn't happened in a while!
- Martin Havlat's assist gives him 27 points in 26 games against the Jackets.
- The Wild has killed 36 straight penalties vs. CBJ. The streak started in November of 2007
- Kyle Wilson, who scored his 4th goal of the season, was drafted by the Wild in 2004 (9th round, 272nd overall)
- Cal Clutterbuck entered the game leading the league in hits. He's added 8 hits tonight to bring his total to 62.
- The Wild capitalized on 2 powerplay out of 4. The powerplay is now firing at a whopping 27.1%.
- I posted a grand total of 50 comments out of 62 on the game thread during the game. Where in the name of all that is holy WAS everyone tonight?
Hockey Wilderness three stars:
#1: Brent Burns (2 PP goals, led all players with 25:56 TOI)
#2: Jose Theodore (35 saves, kept the Wild alive in the second period, it's a crime he wasn't one of the actual game's three stars.)
#3: Rick Nash (1 goal, was a force the entire game with 8 shots on goal and some key offensive and defensive plays)
Honorable mention: Cal Clutterbuck (hard to not include him in the 3 stars with a goal and 8 hits)
- Will the flood gates open for Havlat? He had an assist, didn't play too bad, but no goals for him.
- Jackets get the last change tonight. Can they find a way to shut down Rick Nash? Well, considering he scored a goal and had 8 shots, I'll have to say they failed to shut Nash down. He was a powerhouse tonight.
- Matt Kassian wanted to go last night. Does he find a dance partner in Columbus? He did, Jared Boll. Kassian did an admirable job against him.
- Big chance to start a real winning streak. Can they string three wins together?They did, but quite narrowly.
- How long does it take for the Wild to end Garon's shutout streak? It took 8:49 for the Wild to solve Mathieu Garon, who did an O.K. job, but didn't have much work to do.