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Another game against the Canucks at the X, another blow out. Any way we can petition for 82 games just like this one?
At the onset of this game, it looked as though the old style Wild - Canucks game may be returning. Not a lot of chances for either team, some physical play, but nothing overly exciting. Then it all changed when Guillaume Latendresse added his 20th goal of the season, 18th in a Wild sweater, on the power play and the game started to take on a different feel. Despite being out shot 13-8, the majority of the chances belonged to the Wild, and the momentum was clearly in the home team's corner.
In what Wild fans have come to call "Nap Time," also known as the second period, the Wild had a different plan. 22 minutes of PIMs, a fighting major on James Sheppard and Aaron Rome after Sheppard pulled the jersey over Rome's head and then held on for dear life. Rome still managed to get what would be called the "win," but also took the extra two minute penalty.
Kyle Brodziak would start the scoring in the second at the 8:22 mark after a chest pass from Derek Boogaard to Cal Clutterbuck ended up on Brodziak;s stik for a quick wrist shot. With the score now 2-0, the flavor of the game was about to change. During one scrum in front of the net, Alex Burrows and Antti Miettinen both took roughing minors as the Canucks tried to implement a physical game. After some Canucks players punched Mikko Koivu and Martin Havlat a few times, the style of game moved clearly to the physical.
Less than a minute after Brodizak's goal, and on the power play yet again, Marek Zidlicky put the Wild up 3-0. After this, the period would end without much more excitement, and the Wild out shooting the Canucks 17-2 in the period to take the SOG edge at 26-16.
The third period would continue the trend started in the second. Both teams playing physical hockey, scoring goals, and more PIMs.
Just 1:13 into the period, Derek Boogaard laid a big hit on Ryan Kesler that
manchild paleolithic gorilla cry baby agitator Darcy Hordichuk took offense to. Rather than face Boogaard, Hordichuk grabbed Boogaards neckline from behind and horse-collar tackled Boogey to the ice. Boogaard jumped up quickly and Hordichuk immediately went into life saving jersey grab mode. Hordichuk eventually fell to the ice and then cried to the refs about being hurt while on his way to the box. Hordichuk received five minutes for fighting, two for the instigator, and a ten minute misconduct.
Kesler would obviously be OK as he scored the Canucks first goal just under three minutes later. Not to be out done on stupid penalty taking, Alexander Edler took an ill advised interference call at the 7:00 mark, and it took Andrew Brunette just 6 seconds to make him pay for it. On a no look backhand from about a foot off the side of the net, Brunette made Canadian Olympian Roberto Luongo look silly. At this point it was 4-1 Wild and things continued to get physical, though the Canucks were looking truly tired.
Continuing the trend of goals in bunches, Cal Clutterbuck buried a Kyle Brodziak rebound, and Luongo's Olympic break was started early, amking way fro Andrew Raycroft. MIkael Samuelsson would pull the Canucks back to within three, but a late goal from new comer Cam Barker would put the game at the finally tally of 6-2.
All in all, it was a wire to wire thumping of a Northwest division rival, and that had to feel good after an embarrassing loss to Atlanta on Friday. The Olympic break has officially started, with a flight out of the Twin Cities at 9PM. Enjoy the break, boys and girls.
Hockey Wilderness Three Stars:
1. Kyle Brodziak - (1A, 2G, 2 SOG)
2. Guillaume Latendresse (1G, 6 SOG, 20:51 TOI)
3. Mikko Koivu (2 A, 6 SOG)
Five Six Questions to Answer:
1. With the same officiating crew from the Atlanta game, how many PIMs will there be in the game today? Over under is 50. 48 PIMs, so the under takes it.
2. Will Cody Almond get more than 3 minutes of TOI so he can showcase himself a bit? Almond was a healthy scratch. No idea why they bothered to call the kid up.
3. What kind of spark, if any, can Cam Barker provide to an anemic blue line and a brutal power play? Barker played extremely well. A goal, +3, 2 SOG, 20:46 TOI, 3:54 TOI on the PP. Welcome to Saint Paul, Cam.
5. A loss today has to convince Fletcher that the playoff dream is over. IS this the last time we see Nolan, Belnager, perhaps even the Boogey man in a Wild sweater? The win eliminates the first part of the question, but I still think the Wild are in sell mode. Hate to think of this team without Cowboy and Belanger, but the playoff race is over.
Who eats up Kim Johnsson's 23+ minutes of TOI? Zidlicky: 21:42, Zannon: 18:52, Burns: 21:48, Hnidy: 14:00, Barker: 20:46, Schultz: 16:21. Minutes filled by committee. If someone had told you the Wild's third pairing would be Schultz and Hnidy, would you have been happy with that?
Enjoy the Olympics all. Check in with us from time to time. I'm sure we'll have some thoughts and some fun. Maybe Nathan will host a couple game threads for the US games.