For Chicago perspective, please visit Second City Hockey.
After a day long battle over Peter Forsberg, and the State of the Union burning up the airwaves on 495 channels, it was nice to be able to escape into a wonderfully snarky and somewhat busy game thread. The Wild obliged us with a nice victory over a very dangerous Hawks squad.
It started well with a goal from newly minted All-Star Martin Havlat, and quickly disintegrated after two quick goals from the Hawks. The first period spiraled into disaster after disaster, and Niklas Backstrom shined as he kept his teammate's behinds out of the proverbial sling.
The second period nap looming, Wild fans began to predict finals scores of 7-1. Chuck Kobasew would change that rather quickly, as he somehow got a piece of a Jared Spurgeon shot for his 9th goal of the year. Now tied up, the Wild did go into a bit of a lull, but Backstrom kept them alive until Antti Miettinen potted a beautiful pass from Andrew Brunette to put the Wild ahead.
The third period was absolutely owned by the Hawks, with the Wild on their heels and in the prevent defense. After a long sustained period of Hawks pressure, the Wild came down the ice in what can only be described as some form of the Flying V from the Mighty Ducks movies. Kobasew put a shot wide, collected the rebound, as with Matt Cullen lying just out of the crease, Pierre-Marc Bouchard put a shot in to a wide open net over Corey Crawford.
After that, things got just a bit chippy, especially after the Hawks had a goal waved off under the still hilariously named "intent to blow" rule. In all honesty, the Hawks got screwed on that one, and they had every right to be frustrated. The fans in Chi town let the refs know of their displeasure for the remainder of the game, in true Chicago fashion.
I love Chicago fans.
After all was said and done, the Wild pulled out a big win to enter a seven day period with no hockey on a positive note. Will be very interesting to see how the Wild respond from so much time off. As of right now, they sit one point behind the Avs and Hawks for the seventh or eighth playoff spot. Not bad. Not bad at all.
The Wild have 23 goals from the blueline this season. They had 21 all last year.
Wild have won 8 of their last 12. (Thanks, Russo)
Hockey Wilderness Three Stars
1. Niklas Backstrom (31 saves)
2. Chuck Kobasew (1G, 1A)
3. Corey Crawford (making me right)