Minnesota Wild 4-3 (ot) Phoenix Coyotes
The overflow crowd of 19,076 was treated to the Wild extended the win streak to seven games, although it was a difficult way to get there. Minnesota outshot Phoenix 37-27, but made Jason LaBarbera look like 2011-2012 Mike Smith tonight. (even though they scored four times) and Niklas Backstrom again put fear in the hearts of many Wild fans as he scrambled to make save after save. Backstrom needs a rest, if only for the mental part of the game.
Goals from Torrey Mitchell in the first (from Mike Rupp and Clayton Stoner - his third assist in the last two games) and Matt Cullen early in the second, put the Wild up 2-0 early in the second period through the game and the home town crowd was looking very comfortable with that lead against a team among the bottom of the Western conference. Then the Wild seemed just as comfortable as those fans in the stands as they allowed LaBarbera to keep his team in the game. Then it happened. The offensive prowess of Rob Klinkhammer and Boyd Gordon turned all the momentum the way of the desert dogs with goals just 3:15 apart in the second period and Wild fans were saying "not again."
Things got worse in the third period, as Michael Stone put the Yotes up 3-2 just 1:52 into the third period and LaBarbera kept turning the Wild away time and again as they brought the shot total up higher and higher.
As it looked like all was lost, one of the 98 million dollar men swooped in to save the day. With the last minute of regulation ticking away, Backstrom on the bench and Zach Parise parked in front of the Phoenix goal mouth, Ryan Suter did this
And we're heading to overtime.
Antoine Vermette took an awful cross-checking penalty on Jared Spurgeon early in the extra frame, giving the Wild all the momentum they would need to put this one away, but again, LaBarbera stood tall.
Thank you Mikko Koivu!
Observations and Stuff
1. Justin Falk and Tom Gilbert needed to be split up, and Mike Yeo appeared to realize that Justin Falk needed to be off the ice, lest he cause the team any more damage.
2. Didn't you used to be Devin Setoguchi? Seto didn't record a shot on goal and was on the ice for all three Phoenix goals (correct me if I'm wrong).
3. Ryan Suter now has a point in 12 of his last 15 games, with 18 points (3-15=18) in that span. He leads all Wild players with 24 assists and is tied with Zach Parise for second on the Wild with 27 points (3-24=27) this season. #Suter4Norris
4. The Wild are 12-3-1 at home this season.
1. Mikko Koivu
2. Ryan Suter
3. Torrey Mitchell
1. Seven straight in regulation? No, but we'll take the overtime win any day of the week.
2. Can the Wild keep up the torrid pace of scoring? Four goals is above the NHL mean, so it's a "yes" even though four isn't exactly torrid (though it is compared to what we're used to here).
3. Ryan Suter has been very quiet the past few games. Is this his reemergence? Points in 12 of the last 15. #Suter4Norris
4. Jonas Brodin: Calder nominee or Best Calder Nominee? Notched his fifth assist on the game winner. He's in the mix, but has a long way to go to win the hearts of the PHWA.
5. Peanut butter is neither peanut nor butter. What's up with that? Blasphemy.