To be honest, this game could have easily had the Ducks up by multiple goals if not for Josh Harding. Harding gave up one of the softest goals I've seen all season to give the Ducks the lead in the second. It was a bad goal, but not even a minute later he made an amazing save on Corey Perry to keep the Wild within one.
Jason Pominville notched his 15th goal of the season in the 3rd to bring the Wild within one. Ryan Suter made a pretty wrist shot on the powerplay and Pominville picked up the rebound for the goal. He had been scoreless in his last 8 games, so that's a nice streak to snap.
While Dany Heatley's play certainly didn't deserve 2nd line play, the 2nd line tonight was a disaster. Charlie Coyle still can't win face-offs, and Jason Zucker...frankly he hasn't shown that he deserves to be up with the NHL team right now.
Nino Niederreiter had a few rookie mistakes, but that fact that he consistently pushes towards the net makes him pretty valuable to the team right now. The hardest part for this kids at the moment is dealing with the inconsistency of their line-mates. This isn't a knock on Yeo for changing lines, it's a knock on the team around them for not being able to play consistent.
Jared Spurgeon had another really good game, and kept pushing his campaign for most under-rated Wild player. Matt Cooke also had a great game, besides the fact that he will never get a penalty call to go his way regardless of how obvious it is.
With the exception of the PPG by Pominville, the first line was pretty quiet all night. Frankly, in games like tonight where you need to star players to step up and get the job done, this was pretty disappointing.
The Wild owe Harding an entire summer of beers for the performances that he has been putting on for the team lately. At some point, other guys have to get their heads in the game and get the job done. He can't do this on his own.
Pominville summed up tonight's game the best by saying "Tonight, the first 2 periods it felt like we were on our heels. We were giving them time to make plays and control the puck, and control the neutral zone. We were kind of chasing. Any team in the league, if they're playing against a team that's on their heels, they're going to make plays and make good things happen."
The Wild are right back at it tomorrow night against San Jose. While the Wild just beat the Sharks on Sunday, tomorrow night won't be a walk in the park for the Wild.
Some interesting final stats in tonight's game:
- Shots ended 24-31
- Charlie Coyle and Zenon Konopka only took 5 face-offs each. Mikko Koivu took 27, and Kyle Brodziak took 26.
- Ryan Suter finished with 29:54 TOI, Jonas Brodin had 23:57 TOI, Koivu had 22:13. Dany Heatley had 9:43.
1.The Wild let Dave Steckel go without signing him to an NHL contract. Does he show why the Ducks took a chance on him tonight? Not really. Didn't really notice him on the ice at all
2. Ryan Suter hasn't scored yet this season. Is tonight the night? (Thanks for the question @wildgeorge12!) Negative. Maybe tomorrow. Consult an 8 ball
3.The Wild are the 8th best power play while the Ducks have the 18th best. Will the Wild be able to cash in on it tonight? (Thanks for the question Dan Cz!) Heck yeah they were. One of the few brightspots.
4. Can the Wild manage to have positive possession stats tonight? (Thanks for the question Christian!) Probably not. Eye-testing this, but it looked pretty bad.
5.The Duck haven't lost at home yet this season. Can the Wild notch that victory? Ha. This is a funny question.