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The Wild were unable to rebound from the last loss tonight in Columbus, thanks to a fantastic performance by Steve Mason and three very different periods by both teams.
The Wild came out blazing in the first period, outshooting the Blue Jackets 16-7 and Guillaume Latendresse took advantage to put the Wild up 1-0 after 1. Then came the arch enemy of Minnesotans, the second period. Minnesota seemingly left their game in the locker room, begin outshot 15-3, giving up three goals including one just 44 seconds in on a slapper from Fedor Tyutin and another less than two minutes later from Rick Nash. 14:06 into the period, Jeff Carter added a power play goal to complete the second period trifecta and the Wild found themselves down 3-1 and completely outmanned in the period.
Then the third period, Minnesota seemed to find whatever they left in the locker room during the first intermission, carrying the play, spurred by another goal for Mikko Koivu on the power play, set up by Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi. The Wild continued to pour on the offense, outshooting Columbus 15-4 in the third period, but a goal by Cam Atkinson was too much to overcome as the Wild found themselves on the wrong side of a 4-2 final.
What do we take away? Avoid the inconsistency between the three periods? Minnesota needs to avoid that second period lull, but that's not a new storyline. Hopefully Coach Yeo and crew can learn how to motivate during that first intermission and get the guys to come out roaring. The other thing that stuck out tonight was the pay of the bottom six forwards. These two lines are supposed to be the ones to shut down the opposition, but were a collective -6 tonight and Marek Zidlicky and Marco Scandella were each -2. Those looking for a defensive weakness may have something about which to write tonight, but it wasn't just on these two. A bright spot, however, was the defensive play of Justin Falk. He was more comfortable in his own end tonight, and seems to be better at knowing when to take the body and when to play a positional game. It'll be nice if he can build on tonight. Speaking of defensemen, the Wild clearly missed Jared Spurgeon tonight. He would've helped the breakout and paired with Matt Cullen's injury, the second power play unit was lacking.
Newly signed Nick Johnson was clearly comfortable in Yeo's system, as it was the same in which he played at Wilkes-Barre, however, he was a -2 on the night, so it's not like he looked to be some kind of savior.
Oh, and to the Nationwide Arena fans booing Clutterbuck every shift ... grow up. Wisniewski is the problem, not Cal.
Hockey Wilderness 3 stars:
- Fedor Tyutin (1G, 1A)
- Steve Mason (32 saves)
- Tomas Kubalik (2 A)
- Second game with the full line up, do they put it together?
- Over under on points for the top line is 5. Over or under?
- Can Marco Scandella continue to impress?
- Will Backstrom get some help tonight?
- Does Brenden Shanahan have to weild the hammer again after this one?