Minnesota Wild 4 - 3 Calgary Flames
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Hello, Dr. Jekyll, it's been awhile. Mr. . Hyde was starting wear a little thin, so you were a welcome visitor for this fine Sunday.
Anyone who has watched or heard about the Wild this season can explain that comparison. After laying eggs againt the Blue Jackets and Predators, the Wild returned home to the safety and comfort of the X, and played another solid full sixty minutes. The Wild team we have seen for the better part of the season was back. You know the one. They forecheck, hit everything that moves, shoot the puck, and make plays.Then, something happens, something with the moon maybe, and Mr. Hyde comes back.
For now, we will enjoy the visit from the good doctor.
The Wild played an excellent game today, save for a handful of boneheaded plays, and the three goals against were all fairly good goals. The Flames certainly did not disappoint today, either. The saving grace for the Wild today may have been that Vesa Toskala showed the form he had with the Maple Leafs, and the Wild made him pay early.
After playing back and forth for the better half of the first period, Steve Staios, oh he of the scoring touch, had a shot deflected in front of Josh Harding, and the Flames took an early lead. However, the Wild would answer around thirty seconds later with Andrew Brunette scoring a typical Andrew Brunette, ugly type, sharp angle goal.
In the waning second of the period, and in the closing seconds of a horrendous Wild power play, Guillaume Latendresse showed us just why he will forever be known as the Best Trade Ever. He powered through the Flames defenders, made a cut to the net and stuffed a puck through Toskala's five hole. At this point, the Wild were in control, and the fans were having some fun.
Chuck Kobasew would add an early second period goal, and all seemed to be right and good in Saint Paul. At this point Vesa Toskla was yanked in favor of Mikka Kiprusoff, and fans had all kinds of reason to be happy.
A pall would be cast over the game, however, as on a fluke play (that yes, maybe interference could have been called on), Daymond Langkow fell forward just as teammate Ian White unloaded a bomb from the blue line. The puck seemed destined to hit Langkow, and did so directly above the nameplate, square in the back of the neck or upper back. Langkow did not move from his side, and was attended to by both teams doctors before eventually being taken off on a stretcher. Wild fans would give a bit of a lesson to Fighting Sioux fans who just the day before had cheered and shouted obscenities at an injured Bulldog player.
The fans gave a respectful cheer as the took Langkow off the ice with his teammates surrounding him. Reports would later come in that Langkow has full movement of all body parts, and full feeling as well. He is being held at a local hospital for observation over night, all of which is excellent news. The injury is actually believed to be caused by his head hitting on the ice, and not from being hit with the puck.
Shortly, and I mean shortly, after Langkow was safely off the ice, Ian White finished what he had started and scored a goal to pull the Flames back within one. The game was physical and there were some scrums in front of the night, but there would be no fights on this night. Instead, Kobasew added a second goal and the Wild were back on top by two.
In the third period, the Wild started to slip into their now standard role of dog ready to be kicked, but something must have pulled them out of it, because BTE (Latendresse) tried to put Mayers through the penalty box door, actually damaging the door to the point that the game had to be delayed.
The Flames added a goal in the early third, and pulled Kipper with 1:15 left, but the Wild help on for dear life and pulled out the win against a team they have traditionally struggled against and who is fighting for their playoff lives.
All-in-all it was a solid outing. I chalk it up to the fact that Nathan was busy watching the movie 2012, rather than the game. He seems to be bad luck.
Hockey Wilderness Three Stars:
1. Chuck Kobasew - (2G, +2, 3 SOG in 14:40 TOI)
2. Matt Stajan - (2A, +1, 21:44 TOI)
3. BTE (1G, physical play, 15:50 TOI)
Five Six Questions to Answer:
1. Jarome Iginla. The man, the myth, the legend. Can the Wild limit him to under ten points? Well, they help him under 10, yes, but not off the board. The Wild killer had an assist and 4 SOG.
2. Guillaume Latendresse is without a goal in the past three games, and pointless in the last two. Can he get back on the board? BTE was everywhere today. He indeed got the goal, and his physical play had the Flames rattled late in the game.
3. Casey Wellman has yet to experience a division rivalry. Does he get in the game, and does he show off his skills again? He seemed unphased by the match-up. He played well again, and looked completely comfortable on the ice. 11:18 TOI and two very nice SOG.
4. Greg Zanon has a broken right ankle. Broken, people, as in, busted. He said "We'll see how it is on Sunday." Does superman heal miraculously and play today, or does the medical staff tell him he can't go? He played! Unbelievable. Broken ankle and all.
5. Looks like Backstrom in net after missing a handful of games. Does he play well, or will he be rusty? Backs was the back-up today, so this one is mute.
Bonus Buddha Question:
6. Does my distaste for the Wings outweigh my allegiance to the Wild? In other words, do I really want the Flames to lose today, thus helping the Wings make the playoffs? I cheered for the Wild. I figured that even if the Wings make it in, they are going to face the Sharks, and hopefully they can be embarrassed on national TV.