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Minnesota Wild vs. Toronto Maple Leafs: Game Recap

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Optimus Reim found the Wild's pride and decided to keep it for himself.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Optimus Reim found the Wild's pride and decided to keep it for himself. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Minnesota Wild   -  Toronto Maple Leafs

For the enemy perspective, visit our buddies at Pension Plan Puppets


Round 2 of the ''Games important only to JS'' series. How would the Wild respond after making me the laughing stock of New-Brunswick by getting spanked 8-1 by the Montreal Canadiens? Simple, they sat on their asses and did nothing, in front of another packed house in Minnesota.

First of all, they allowed a fourth early-period goal in a row, and by early-period, I mean the first 2 minutes. They had allowed such a goal in all three periods against the Habs and they continued that trend tonight allowing a Joffrey Lupul at the 1:39 mark. Then, the Wild and Maple Leafs started collecting penalties because of the overuse of their sticks. The Wild got a total of 7 powerplays in the game, with a big fat ZERO percent success rate. The Leafs scored on one of their 6 chances. John Madden can't say he didn't get his chances, as he got stopped on the breakaway by Jason, er.. James ''Optimus'' Reimer on three separate occasions.

The second period was... pretty much more of the same. Teams take penalties, Leafs score off a wicked Mikhail Grabovski shot (I love him for making the Habs pay for misjudging his talent level), Wild running around like head-less chickens. It amazes me that the Wild got so many shots on net, and the Leafs so little. Problem is, apart from those breakaways, the quality of those shots were low and Reimer did the job. The third period? You guessed it! Penalties, Leafs goal off a powerplay one-timer slapped home by Carl Gunnarsson, fatigue, lack of ''Sorry Tom'', pissed Wild fans, 3-0, good night, so long.

This was an all-around slow and uneventful game. The Leafs capitalized on their chances and the Wild... didn't. The refs made some very questionable calls on both sides all night long and apart from all the penalties and some great hits on both sides, nothing really happened. The Leafs won, the Wild lost, ho hum. Truculence triumphed. I truly do not know what else to add, I'm actually stumped. I'm writing this recap with an empty mind, heart and soul right now, I'm just baffled by how badly the Wild stumbled in the last two weeks.

The Wild were listless. They've clearly not learned anything from Sunday night's massacre and even though they outshot the Leafs, you can shoot 1000 pucks towards the net, but if they're not going in the back of the net, they don't matter. They looked like a team of bruised peaches, tired, weakened. Stick a fork in them, they're done.

Well, the Wild humilated me in front of my friends on Sunday, yesterday I found out I need an extra semester to get my bachelor's degree and tonight, the Leafs blanked the Wild. Tomorrow, I just might get hit by a car. Bryan, you stay out of this, you're CURSED! After successfully predicting a 4 point performance for Rick Nash, he predicted a strong game for Carl Gunnarsson, who scored a goal. Don't be trying to guess what happens to me tomorrow, unless I win the lottery.

Special shout-out to the folks over at Pension Plan Puppets who graced us with their presence tonight. They made the thread a million times more interesting than the actual game. Too bad they made HW look like a Leafs blog for one night though. You see what I meant in my last Thought Bubble post? We have seem to have a special bond with them, and it grew stronger tonight. Always nice to have allies.

Next game, the Wild take on the St.-Louis Blues on Saturday, a ways away, but maybe it'll give us time to heal our wounds, and by ''us'', I mean the Wild fanbase. Will anyone show up this weekend? Will the Wild finally win for the first time in two and a half weeks? The last game they won was against the Colorado Avalanche, so it would be fun to change that little tidbit. Peace!


Game notes:

- 17 shots. That's all that it took for the Maple Leafs to make the Wild look like ragdolls. That's also the second lowest shot total the Wild allowed this season (14 against Vancouver)

- First period curse? Wild have been outscored 12-2 in the last seven 1st periods.

- Tonight was the Wild and Leafs' ninth meeting. That make Toronto the team the Wild have played the less games against.

- Wild are 8-29-4 when they allow the first goal. 27-2-4 when they score first (they should try doing that more.)

- This was the 7th straight game in which the Wild allowed the first goal. It was also their 7th straight winless game (first time since Feb. 22 - Mar. 7th 2004). Notice a trend?

- The Wild is 6-9-2 against Eastern Conference teams, which translates to the only Western team with a losing record against the East. Last year the Wild was 10-4-4 against Eastern teams

- The Wild were 0-for-7 on the powerplay, the Leafs were 1-for-6, meaning have scored once in their last 23 powerplay chances, and the Leafs scored 4 times in their last 48 chances.

- Canadiens + Maple Leafs 11 , Wild 1 ... My ego is bleeding.

- In the 3 wins the Wild have against the Leafs, they had 16 goals, but only 6 goals in the 6 losses.


Hockey Wilderness 3 stars:

1. James Reimer (500 breakaways saves on 29 shots, 3rd NHL shutout.)

2. Nikolai Kulemin (2 assists)

3. Carl Gunnarsson (goal, assisted by Bryan Reynolds.)


5 questions: 

1. Do we get angry, pissed off Wild or beat down, "I give up" Wild? The Wild looked to be of the ''we give up'' variety

2. Good Brent Burns, or Bad Brent Burns? Meh Brent Burns.

3. Can the Wild put up some points tonight, maybe find some pride? The search for pride continues

4. OK, so it's over. Now what? Hibernation until next season? The Wild need to figure something out for next year, or else chaos will likely ensue.

5. Do Wild fans actually out number Leaf fans, or have they given away the X? Well, Leafs fans sure invaded us here at HW. 504 comments on the game thread. Huge day for us, average 20 minute-old thread for them. There were a lot of white and blue jerseys at the X too, yelling ''Go Leafs go'' and getting booed by Wild fans... Although maybe the fans were actually booing the Wild.