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Well, that was interesting. It's not often you see a goaltender pulled after giving up three goals in 27 minutes, but that's exactly what happened to Craig Anderson tonight. Sure, he was fighting the puck all night, and was clearly not in his best form, but barring injury (which has still yet to be determined), you don't typically pull a guy in that situation.
Anyway, onto the game itself. The Wild managed to score shorthanded, full-strength and on the power play as well as giving up a power play goal. They even managed to stave off what fans saw as the inevitable after giving up a really soft power play goal by David Jones after Niklas Backstrom failed to cover in the slot 45 seconds after Cullen's shorthanded marker. But he rebounded well from that, and much of the Wild's success tonight was in big part thanks to fine netminding by Backstrom. Paul Stastny will see Backs in his nightmares for a while, as the Finn robbed him on at least three occasions. The Wild were able to build on a decent effort against the Flames with a fine, three period win tonight.
Tonight's public enemy #1 has to be David Koci. Koci crosschecked Zidlicky on a nasty play, tried to remove Kyle Brodziak's head from his body by running him into the turnbuckle, then even attempted to goad Jared Spurgeon (yes, Jared freaking Spurgeon) to drop the gloves. Needless to say, Koci was heavily derided online, including by Michael Russo, who stated:
David Koci dueling with 5-foot-nothing Jared Spurgeon. If Koci dropped the gloves, it MIGHT be his first-ever win in a fight
Glad to hear I'm not the only one who made fun of Koci for going after Spurgeon. Tom Reid trashed Koci on radio. Embarrassing.
Yep, David Koci is a big, bad man.
There was a scary moment, however, as Greg Mauldin went into the corner to line-up Marco Scandella, missed him and went face-first into the glass. Mauldin was knocked out by the blow and left blood on the ice and had to be helped off. No word on his condition as of this point.
Three straight wins for Backstrom for the first time in a year. Let's hope it builds for Sunday's tilt with the Red Wings. See you then.
Hockey Wilderness Three Stars
- Niklas Backstrom (36 saves)
- Over under on the number of SOG the Wild are outshot by is set at 20. What is the final result? If you took the over, you won. 32 shots on goal.
- Can the Wild's new top line (Havlat- Brodziak - Butch) continue to shine? While this line continues to provide scoring opportunities, tonight was the Matt Cullen show.
- Can these teams play a civilized hockey game? Nope. Apparently David Koci really dislikes the Minnesota Wild. Then Matt Wilson decided to take on Kyle Brodziak. Not sure what the issue is, but there is some serious animosity here.
- Will the Avs beat their average of 3.5 goals for? Nope.
- How many "trade Havlat" digs can Wild fans take at Dater? Shockingly, not many.