Minnesota Wild 6 - 0 Calgary Flames
For the Calgary perspective, please visit Matchsticks and Gasoline. Be nice, OK?
Wow. Just... wow. Six to nothing tonight, four to one last night, 4 rip two nights before that. Where was this team for the past six weeks? This is ridiculous. They played so well, I don't even know where to start.
The Wild absolutely dominated the Flames. Anyone remember when a trip to Calgary equaled an automatic loss? Not anymore. 13-7-3 on the road this year, which according to Wild PR, matches the entire season's total wins from last year. Now, if they could just figure out how to play at home.
If there were any questions about a goalie controversy, ahem Bruce ahem, those went out the window tonight. Backstrom, having missed 19 days with a hip flexor strain, made it look like he never left. Thirty-seven saves, some of which were highlight reel quality, Backstrom put on a clinic tonight. Good to have him back between the pipes, if for no other reason than the camera didn't have to move as much.
I cannot pick out a single Wild player who had a bad game. Thirteen players were positive on the night, seven a +2 or better. Brodziak and Havlat both had three points each, with eight of their teammates adding points as well. Just a well played, hard working (Sorry Tom) game in which the Wild won every battle, got every loose puck, caught every break, got every bounce.
Honestly, it was such a well played game it is difficult to focus on any one area. Havlat the Flames killer did his job, Backstrom did his, and the rest of the crew did everything they needed to do to make this an embarrassing night for the Flames. Time to pack up, move on to San Jose, who the Wild have already beat twice this year.
Great game, huge momentum. Build on it, boys. Build on it.
UPDATE: Forgot to mention the Curtis Glencross hit on Clayton Stoner. Absolutely filthy hit, from behind, and has to get some kind of suspension. The fact that Glencross has done this before does not bode well for him, despite the fact that Stoner did return to the game, and appears to be OK. Punish the hit, not the result. We'll take a poll on it in the AM. For now, let's say 3 games for the hit, two for being a repeat offender.
Video (stick tap to Puck Daddy)
Hockey Wilderness Three Stars
1. Niklas Backstrom (37 saves, SO)
2. Martin Havlat (2G, 1A)
3. Kyle Brodziak (3A)
- How does Backstrom look in his first action since injuring his hip? Stunning. Simply, stunning.
- Does the defense step up to protect, or do they relax knowing their hero has returned? Big time. Huge game from the d-corps.
- Can Bitzy avoid blowing it tonight? Bitzy had a good night. Even saw some PP time.
- Will the Wild Slayer be shutdown? Zero points, just 2 SOG.
- I'm feeling a goalie chase. Can the Wild chase Kipper? Not tonight, although, he should have been.