For enemy perspective, visit St. Louis Game Time.
Just under four minutes into this game, the Wild had a one - zero lead, and Derek Boogaard had 4:49 seconds more of penalty minutes than TOI. Boogey left the ice with a bloody nose to end all bloody noses, and it looked like it could be a really good game. Then the Wild scored again, a second goal through Chris Mason's gaping five hole, and things were shaping up to be a barn burner. To really get the fans worked into a lather, the Wild scored yet another to end the period up 3-0.
To start the second, Chris Mason was gone, Ty Conklin was in, and the Wild had all of the momentum. Of course, this was the second period, so it was, of course, time to call it a game until the final four minutes of the game. The Wild added one more goal from the top line, and continued the march to the penalty box. They were out shot 18-5 in the period, and yet somehow, likely due to Harding being sharp yet again, the Wild held a 4-0 lead until Patrik Berglund broke the shut out to close out the second period.
In the third, Todd Richards apparently was unavailable to coach, and Jacques Lemaire's ghost was behind the bench the rest of the game. The forecheck stopped. They clogged the neutral zone, and no one seemed interested in carrying the puck, let alone trying to score. To top off the night, they gave up another 13 SOG for Harding, and gave up a goal to Paul Kariya around the six minute mark, allowing the Blues to crawl back into the game.
The Wild took eight penalties this evening. They took just 20 shots, and gave up 38. If not for Josh Harding, the Wild would not have won this game. They have lost the killer instinct, and even in victory still look to have mailed it in. It is frustrating to watch, but I guess a win's a win. Enjoy it if you can.
Hockey Wilderness Three Stars:
1. Josh Harding (36 saves)
2. Guillaume Latendresse (1G, +1, 4SOG, 16:05 TOI)
3. Paul Kariya (1G, +1)
Five Questions to Answer:
1. Can I help my wife write a budget for work and watch hockey at the same time? Well, on top of that, we decided to feed the kids, too, so no, I couldn't.
2. Can the Wild play hard despite the fact that their season is all but mathematically over? They did for one period, and then gave up.
3. How will Harding look in his third straight game? Harding was stellar. Simple as that.
4. How many fights will there be? Just the one, but it made Boogey bleed. No word on how bad it was, but it must have been bad, because he did not return.
5. If a game is played in Saint Paul, and nobody cares, does it still count? Well, I checked the standings before and after the game, and it did indeed count. Although, I'm not sure anyone cares.