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Sure, the Wild outshot the Ducks tonight, but it really didn't matter. The Ducks took advantage of their opportunities and scored. The Wild didn't have nearly the number of quality chances that Anaheim created, and couldn't capitalize when they did.
Marek Zidlicky was awful. Mikko Koivu and Dany Heatley were essentially a non-factor They each notched an assist on Cullen's power play goal, but at full strength were not clicking. Jared Spurgeon had a nice power play goal on a huge rebound from Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Devin Setoguchi. Yeo seemed to play Yahtzee with the lines tonight. Cal Clutterbuck was up with Heatley and Koivu, then Guillaume Latendresse spent time there, then Setoguchi ended up there at the end tonight. Coach seems to be reaching for anything that works, because honestly, right now nothing is.
The Wild power play was a mess. Sure, they scored twice, but it didn't matter. They kept getting stood up at the blue line, then passively tried to take the zone, but kept being forced to regroup in their own end. The fact that they scored twice will mask the fact that the power play was not good tonight.
Marco Scandella and Justin Falk looked good tonight. Again, solid in their own end, played the puck with confidence at the point and led the "break". The fourth line of Nick Johnson, Darroll Powe and Colton Gillies provided energy buy just don't have the talent to really push the pace of play.
The Ducks didn't pepper Niklas Backstrom with a ton of shots, mainly because they didn't need to. Teemu Selanne, Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf picked up where they left off last year, working the puck down low and burying it. Those three put on a masterclass in the offensive zone tonight.
Honestly, tonight the Wild were just out of sync. Nothing seemed to flow. It's not like they were really making horrible decisions or playing badly, but they were uninspired and had no consistent effort. It wasn't a Sorry Tom kind of game in St. Paul.
Oh, and the announced crowd was only 15,723, but I'd be shocked if there were 12,000 in attendance.
Bryan's Take: So... contribute to the gamer, huh? Well, let's see... there was the um... and then the... and then it was pretty cool when... well... the derp derp song was fun.
This is a game to forget. The Wild played unwell in every aspect of the game. The hitting was soft by anyone not named Brett Bulmer or Cal Clutterbuck, the passing was not sharp at all, the fore check was nearly non existent (due mostly to a complete unwillingness to throw a hit), and the penalty kill was more passive than a Norwegian birthday party. By the end of the game the fancy new lines were scrapped, Clayton Stoner was hurt, the D-pairings were jacked up, and all seventeen fans at the X left disappointed. I would chastise the fans for not being here, but the people who weren't here were probably the smart ones tonight.
There were a few glimmers of hope, with two power play goals, but beyond that, it was pretty ugly tonight. I'm sure someone out there in the Wilderness will tell me I am being pessimistic, but I really don't know what to tell you for a positive note. I really don't. If you have one, please share it.
The Bennett's Chop & Railhouse Stars of the Game:
- Teemu Selanne (3 A)
- Ryan Getzlaf (1 G, 1 A)
- Corey Perry (1 G, 1 A)
Remember, when you begin and end your night at Bennett's, you're the star! Easy parking, drink and food specials and a free shuttle to and from the Xcel Energy Center. Check them out at http://bennettschopandrailhouse.com/.
- Will Cal Clutterbuck have an Alex Burrows type effect on the Wild's top line and get them going? He tried. Took the body over and over, drilled the crossbar, tried to make an impact, but ultimately it didn't matter.
- Can Bouchard and Cullen get the puck to Setoguchi? No. That line was limited all night.
- Will the anemic power play find life with the changes? Well, they got a goal, but it was still pretty bad tonight.
- With Staubitz and Kassian scratched, does George Parros fight Clayton Stoner? Stoner went out early in the second, so no chance.
- The search continues for Marek Zidlicky. Is he in the building tonight? He was, and he was terrible.