For the Los Angeles perspective, please visit Jewels From The Crown.
What is it about the Los Angeles Kings that the Wild can't figure out. They always seem to lay an egg against that squad at the most inopportune times. Tonight was no exception.
The biggest questions were obviously around how the team would respond to having Nick Schultz moved to Edmonton and how Tom Gilbert would respond in his first game as a member of the Wild.
The Wild defense was a group of lost little children and Tom Gilbert was either trying to do too much or carrying the weight of Bloomington Jefferson on his shoulders. The D were beaten by puck carriers, lost their defensive responsibilities, couldn't get the puck out of the zone, left people alone in the crease and created problem for Niklas Backstrom all night. Justin Falk was especially maddening, as he would make three fabulous plays (covering for Gilbert on more than one occasion) then completely lose his guy and the puck was in the back of the net. Marco Scandella had a horrible turnover behind the net that led directly to a goal, couldn't lead the break and got involved in a stupid fight with Jordan Nolan in which he was soundly beaten. Tom Gilbert was beaten by Dustin Penner early, then had to grab on to IHOP's poster boy and drew a bad penalty, then lost Justin Williams later on a great scoring chance. That was pretty much the story of the night. The defense couldn't stop anyone or create any kind of transition game.
The frustration was evident in the crowd and on the ice. Scandella's aforementioned fight was part of it. Stephane Veilleux was in three tussles, Cal Clutterbuck lost it in the third when Dustin Brown touched him after the whistle and Cal cross-checked in the chest to go off for roughing alone. Just a bad night overall.
Bright spots? Well, Nick Palmieri was visible in his effort and driving to the net. Devin Setoguchi had a few nice chances, as did Dany Heatley, but frankly, the entire team was horrible.
Let's just move on.
Oh, and Mikko Koivu's injury has finally been made public. It's been quiet, but known. Shoulder. At least two more weeks.
The Bennett's Chop & Railhouse Stars of the Game:
- Anze Kopitar (1 G, 1 A)
- Justin Williams (1 G, 1 A)
- Matt Greene (2 A)
- How does Tom Gilbert look in his Wild debut? Ignominious
Is this the game Palmieri breaks out? He looked good again. Passion. Fire. Dedication to do the work necessary to drive to the net and create problems down low. If he keeps it up, he'll get his.
- How does the Wild D respond to a lack of Nick Schultz? They crapped the bed.
- Wild have won three of the last four. Does that continue? Umm ... no.
- What do we talk about now that the deadline passed? Om-tay Ilbert-gay