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Minnesota Wild vs. St. Louis Blues: Game Recap

For the enemy perspective, please visit St. Louis Game Time

It's Hockey Day Minnesota, get your ... something ... something! Anyway, it would have been a much better day had FSN and Moorhead not tried to single-handedly ruin the day with warm weather, unsafe ice conditions and useless camera angles.

So here we are at the culmination of a pretty darn good evening of hockey. First Erik Haula and the Golden Gophers beat up on Jason Zucker and the Denver Pioneers 7-3, then the Wild beat and beat up the St. Louis Blues 3-1.

I'm trying something new with the recap tonight. I'm going to use my notes as talking points. Bear with me, it's a work in progress.

Koivu with 5 quality chances in the first period, but only one came with the puck actually on the ice.

Mikko Koivu has really picked up his hitting and his overall aggression over the last week and change. His speed, stickwork and overall tenacity has been impressive, he's just been somewhat snake-bitten on the scoring side. Three different times in the first period he had prime scoring opportunities but the puck wouldn't lay down and he tried to bat it out of the air and into the net. Needless to say he was not successful. However, if he keeps playing this way, it'll come.

Watch video from 11:30 left in the first for a reason to eliminate touch-up icing.

Greg Zanon went in full-speed to get the icing call and was taken out right at the boards and ended up going in feet first. He's lucky not to have sustained an injury. It's yet another example of the danger of touch-up icing.

First period lead in shots 12-5, and it shows. Wild controlled play the entire period aside from the Blues power play.

Complete domination through 20 minutes, and it continued until the Blues scored on the power play. After that, the ice tilted heavily in the other direction. The Wild had to stem the tide over and over, and chased the puck around, but still were able to control themselves and didn't get too timid or make major mistakes.

Gotta love the back to back/ home and home series. There are some hostilities on the ice. This could be fun the rest of the night.

Cam Janssen v. Brad Staubitz

Matt D'Agostini vs. Cam Barker

Barker was absolutely right in this fight. He needed to take D'Agostini out after what should have been an easy, textbook boarding call.

Now we have David Backes bleeding after taking a poke at Niklas Backstrom after the final horn and Clayton Stoner made him bleed.

Apparently if you're Brad Winchester, there's no such thing as interference. And Staubitz goes for pulling Winchester off Zanon. Unreal officiating tonight. This St. Louis team is losing their composure, but the refs are letting them get away with the stickwork.

Really surprised at some of the no-calls. Frankly, the refs let this one get a bit out of hand. Of course compared to the Penguins and Islanders, it was nothing, but still.

Oh, and Halak is done for the night. In comes Ty Conklin. Countdown to @walsha badmouthing the Blues and Conklin in 3...2...1

Good luck there. With Martin Havlat v. Jaroslav Halak, Walsh must've been concerned, but was probably just swimming in his money like Scrooge McDuck.

Wild chasing here in the first 5:00 of the period. Richards smartly takes his timeout. Early in the season, would he have?

I think Todd Richards saved this game with that timeout. Would the Blues have come back to tie it? Uncertain and unlikely, but they clearly had the pressure on and momentum was on their side, but this timeout allowed the guys who had been out a long time to breathe and stem the tide. It was a mature decision and showed Richards' growth this season.

Bryan's Take:

Hockey Day Minnesota ends well, with a Wild victory and Spring Lake Park native David Backes leaving the ice bleeding profusely. Not sure it is appropriate to say it is awesome to see a giant pool of blood on the ice after the game, but it's pretty awesome.

The Wild outplayed the Blues for exactly 54 minutes and 22 seconds (Numbers subject to random making up of things). The truth is, it was a good game, except for a few minutes at the end of the second period when the Wild just could not escape the zone. Everything seemed to be working against them, and they eventually gave up the lone goal. Still, the Wild won the battles, they won the fights, and they won the game. Which, in the end, is all that matters. Great game by the hard working (sorry Tom) guys tonight. Brad Staubitz had 7 hits in 8 shifts, and a big fight. Clayton Stoner was solid defensively, save for one event that cost them nothing, and he made someone bleed.

Interesting the result of a home & home on back to back nights. The NHL should find a way to make this happen more often. Also, can the Wild get into a division with a team they don't have to change time zones to play? That'd be greeeeeat.

Game notes:

  • The Wild are 9-2-0 in their last 11 games.
  • In his last seven games, Backstrom sports a 1.42 GAA and a .956 SV%.
  • The Wild improved to 3-1-1 all-time on Hockey Day Minnesota
  • The Wild improved to 24-3-2 when scoring three or more goals and 25-2-4 when scoring first.
  • Minnesota is 17-7-1 in its past 25 contests, holding opponents to one goal or less 12 update times.

Hockey Wilderness 3 stars:

  1. Clayton Stoner (Made Backes bleed)
  2. Niklas Backstrom (24 saves)
  3. Antti Miettinen (1 G)

5 questions:

  1. Koivu was involved last night, but no goals. Can he light the lamp tonight? No, but holy crap not for trying.
  2. The defense was not really there last night. Do they turn that around? Only gave up 1 goal, really tightened the reins. Nicely done tonight by the blueline.
  3. Backes owned the Wild with two goals, do they have a solution? Clayton Effing Stoner.
  4. Will the Wilderness show up for this one? Not a bad evening at all. Tonight was the fourth largest crowd in Wild history and the largest of the season.
  5. Can the Wild cap off Hockey Day Minnesota with a win? Damn right.