Minnesota Wild 1 - 2 Winnipeg Jets
For Winnipeg perspective, please visit Arctic Ice Hockey
If anyone, anyone at all says that the Wild are boring to watch, they simply are lazy, incompetent, purely ignorant people. This game was everything a hockey fan dreams of, short of a win for the team they were cheering for.
The first period was very much a standard first time match-up. Feeling each other out, trying to figure out the opposition's game, get the feel for what they will do. Both teams showed they were here to play, but neither showed altogether too much offensive flare. Still, both Niklas Backstrom and Ondrej Pavelec had to be stellar with the chances given up.
The second period is really when things opened up, and this game took a sharp turn toward the insanely exciting type of game everyone says the Wild are incapable of. Back and forth action, huge (and I mean massive) saves by both goalies, and some amazing offense from both sides. Guillaume Latendresse (remember him?) scored the first goal of the game on a five-on-three power play for the Wild that would turn out to be the Wild's only marker.
However, Zach Bogosian would answer later with a shot that had absolutely no business making it all the way through. One body, one stick, one skate, and that thing has no chance. It made it through, though, and Backstrom couldn't catch up with it, and with that, the second would end with the game tied at one, and a crazy third period to come.
The third period is the reason why hockey fans watch hockey. Both sides were fired up, wanting this game so bad you could feel the passion through the TV. The fans at MTS were raucous and loud, everything the X should be. The players were on an edge, the game one bad play from turning ugly. Somehow, it remained mostly civil until late in the game.
The Jets would score on a very nice set up for Bryan Little from Dustin Byfuglien on which Jared Spurgeon completely missed his assignment. That would wind up the game winner, despite a strong effort from the Wild right up to the final buzzer. The Wild even had a bit of a boost after watching Bogosian slam Pierre-Marc Bouchard face first into the boards and leave the game bleeding badly.
Should be looked at by the league. Won't be.
The Wild threw everything they had at the Jets, but they did get away from the system a bit, and that seems to have cost them in the long term. The rivalry is born. Next year should be fun.
The Bennett's Chop & Railhouse Stars of the Game:
- Ondrej Pavelec (34 saves)
- Niklas Backstrom (25 saves)
- Evander Kane (Nothing on the score sheet, but the guy was everywhere)
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/.
- First trip to MTS Centre, can the Wild hush the crowd? Not a chance. They were loud and proud.
- One final roady before coming home, can the Wild complete the full trip sweep? Nope. But hell of a road trip.
- How does Clutterbuck look tonight? He looked good. Maybe a step behind sometimes, but still pretty good.
- Can Casey Wellman get back on the board? Not tonight. I think he needs Cullen back on the ice.
- Building blocks for a new rivalry set tonight? Oh, most definitely.