For the enemy perspective, please visit Raw Charge
As I stated on Twitter, it looked like the Lightning were playing on 78 rpm while the Wild were on 33 1/3 (that's a reference to how albums are played on a turntable, ask your parents).
In front of an announced crowd of 18,591 (ok) and the Wild at the end of a long, disappointing season, it's scary when an offensively powerful team like Tampa Bay comes into town. Out of the gate, it looked like we could be in for a long afternoon. The Wild had little jump, but were able to take advantage of a few opportunities and ill-advised penalties on the Lightning. It culminated with Kyle Brodziak rifling a shot at Dwayne Roloson that came off down the slot to Pierre-Marc Bouchard who buried the rebound. From that point on, it was all Tampa Bay.
Goals by Ryan Malone (who was absolutely everywhere today) and Steve Downie had the WIld down 2-1 at the end of two. Then Sean Bergenheim came in on a two on one with about 11:00 left in the third after Brent Burns (who had another bad day - more on him later this week) attempted to dive to keep the puck in the zone, missed, but took out Mikko Koivu.
Nice to see Mattias Ohlund is still up to his tricks. Dude seriously needs a psychological evaluation. I don't understand why he isn't brought up more as an example of dirty play. The guy wanted to go with Antti Miettinen? Really?
In the third period, down John Madden, Todd Richards was forced to skate nine forwards for most of the period, and Tampa too advantage, adding the insurance goal by Bergenheim. After that, the Tampa defense simply locked down, and the Wild had little left to work with.
This was one I can't imagine too many felt the Wild had much of a chance at. Tampa is a high flying, highly talented team, and the Wild are... well, they're not. Playing four rookies looked to be a major disadvantage, and yet Brent Burns looked to be the worst defenseman on the ice.
Todd Ricahrds, in his post game presser, came as close as he may ever come to calling out a player. He called Burns' play "erratic," and when asked about the rookies, Richards said commented on leaning on the guys with the experience, not directly addressing the play of the rookies, but hinting that the two vets on the line didn't have it tonight.
Tomorrow is Detroit, another call up should come before the Aeros take the ice tonight, and the Wild will go to Detroit to play the mighty Red Wings with a roster full of Houston Aeros. Should be a fun one.
Wild officially eliminated from playoff contention with the loss tonight.
Tampa Bay G Dwayne Roloson snapped a personal eight game losing streak in Minnesota (0-6-2). His last win came as a member of the Edmonton Oilers back on Jan. 16, 2007.
Lightning RW Martin St. Louis picked up an assist to extend his point streak to five games (4-2=6).
LW Pierre-Marc Bouchard has recorded points in three straight games (2-1=3).
G Niklas Backstrom lost in regulation to Tampa Bay for the first time in his career and now owns a 4-1-1 mark against the Lightning.
The Wild outshot its opponent for the 12th time this season (3-6-3).
The Wild has allowed three or more goals in each of its past 13 losses.
The Wild's record against Eastern Conference teams fell to 6-10-2. The Wild is one of two Western Conference teams (Edmonton) with a losing record vs. the East. Last year Minnesota went 10-4-4.
Prior to the start of the game, it was announced that D Nick Schultz will be out for the remainder of the season with post-concussion symptoms.
Hockey Wilderness 3 stars:
- Ryan Malone (1G)
- Dwayne Roloson (29 saves, 1 goal against)
- Cal Clutterbuck (1A, only + player on the ice for the Wild)
- Is Steven Stamkos the best player in the league? Difficult to say, but he is an elite offensive talent, that is undeniable.
- How about a UFA show tonight? Anyone care to earn some money? Neither Chuck Kobasew or Antti Miettinen did. As Russo tweeted: "I can't wait to see what date this summer Chuck Kobasew signs a free-agent contract, and on what continent."
- How does Roli the Goalie look at 527 years old? Made a few huge stops and gave up a massive rebound that led to Pierre-Marc Bouchard's goal
- With a potential 5 rookie defensive corps, does Backstrom have to stop 80 shots tonight? The rookie defensemen actually didn't look too bad. Didn't much notice Maxim Noreau, Justin Falk's only miscue was drilling Ryan Malone into Niklas Backstrom and Jared Spurgeon was his usual solid self.
- It's "Hockey Night at the Hive." Will you stick around for the Swarm game? I did not, Bryan did, as did quite a few others. Did you?