Good evening Wilderness! Our
beloved pretty well liked supported dealt with editor Joe is out for the evening (I think he'll be back), so you're stuck with me. I'll do my best, and I'll try to keep the fire-based puns to a minimum.
Because I'm obsessed with music, here's a fitting tune- as it seems like the Wild got away with theft given their poor play for the final 40 minutes of regulation time.
The first period passed like a game of "good news, bad news."
Good news! Wild out-shooting the Flames, AND GOAL! Fontaine scored his fifth of the season.
Bad News: Spurgeon took a puck to the face and left the ice.
Good News: Lots of movement on the power play... AND GOAL! DUMBA55 scores a SNIPE after....
Bad News: Wild almost gave up a shorthanded goal because of a bad turnover at the blue line.
Good News: The Wild continued out-shooting the Flames, leading shots 9-3 at one point
Bad News: Wild take a penalty, and go on the PK
Good News: 27 straight Penalties killed!
Bad News: Jiri Hudler deflects a shot past Dubnyk
Good News! The goal is under review!
Bad News: The review wasn't very good, and the goal stands (actually it was very grey, not obviously good or bad, but for the sake of bit, let's go with it.
The second period was halfway over before I realized it had started... mostly because the Wild put me to sleep. Doobie stepped up a number of times, saving the Wild's bacon. By the 10-minute mark, shots were 4-4, and the Wild were lucky it was that even. They lost the ability to carry the puck out of their zone or into the Flames', and the Flames controlled the play pretty well.
The Wild also were getting bored, so Pommer decided to take a high-sticking penalty with about 9 minutes left. It looked like the Flames had scored, but the ref had blown play dead (despite Doobie not having covered, and not having the puck). The Wild somehow killed off the penalty (while the Flames evened up shots 18-18), meaning the Wild's PK was 28-28 since the All Star Break.
Shortly after the penalty was killed, Pominville took off with the puck on a breakaway, and was brought down by a diving Flame. Despite the trip-hook-intereference that went on, the ref kept the whistle in his pocket, keeping the teams even at 5-on-5.
With 5 and a half minutes left, Parise was called for a slash on the forecheck, enraging Wild fans that have eyes everywhere. Given the non-call that had just happened... yeah, it was bewildering and inconsistent- exactly the kind of thing that infuriates me. Fortunately, the Wild PK remained perfect since the ASB, going 29-for-29.
The Flames ALMOST evened up the score with 1 minute left, but the goal was saved by a diving Kaptain Koivu on the back check. It was a great play by the veteran, and that would bring the action to a close.
By the end of the second frame, we still hadn't seen Spurge re-enter the ice, and the Wild had been playing with 5 defensemen all night.
The teams entered the third with statements on Hockey Twitter that the Flames are a "good 3rd period team" and the Wild are a "bad third period team." The Flames' 104 PDO and the Wild's 97 PDO might have something to do with that (but then again maybe not). The frame also began with Calgary leading 23-19 in shots.
The third period was a little more lively than the 2nd, but neither team had a lot of great chances. The Wild had a few, the Flames had a few. Unfortunately, the third did see the return of some nightmarish combination vuvuzela-horn of Gondor that felt the need to honk whenever oxygen was converted inside the lungs of a hockey player.
Jordan Schroeder/Shredder had a nice chance roughly halfway through the period (the first great chance of the period), but Hiller stood tall, maintaining the 2-1 scoreline. Immediately afterward, the Flames had an odd-man rush the other way, and Bouma tied the game at 2.
The Wild had a few quality chances following the goal, including a DING by Coyle, but Hiller maintained the tie. The teams continued to exchange scoring chances for the next few minutes, with a lot of back-and-forth hockey. Dubnyk made a few huge saves, off of a deflection and the subsequent rebound.
Not to be hyper-negative, but it sure seemed like the Wild went up 2-0, and then assumed they could play 40 minutes in their defensive zone without problems. They maintained zero pressure through the third period, relying instead on dumping and chipping the puck down the ice. Which hasn't worked, and didn't again tonight.
The Wild decided to try to hockey with 3 minutes left, but were not able to hockey effectively enough, and so moved onto overtime. *
*What, a 3-point game with a team the Wild are chasing? HECK YES**
**to be read with extreme sarcasm
No one played impressively for the first minute of OT... mostly it was full of replays of the flukiest-fluke goal of all time that the Flames scored the other night against the Bruins.The first real pressure in OT was by the Flames, who had a few GREAT looks, but it was broken up by Dumba.
Immediately afterward, Kaptain Koivu (#stripthec) had the game, and the puck, on his stick, and fired it through heavy traffic to score and win the game.
The Wild took the 2 points, but only gained one point on the Flames thanks to the Bettman Point.
3 Wild Stars of the Game
I'm going to award my personal stars of the game, because I'm doing the recap, and I make the rules.
Justin Fontaine. Fonzie scored the first goal for the Wild, but was a dominating possession player. With Fontaine on the ice, the Wild controlled 62% of the shots (64% at even strength), and he was a +23% CF%Rel player. He did this with a lower offensive zone start % than Parise and Granlund, who also played very well from a possession standpoint.
This goes to Matt Dumba. Dumb had a solid game, making few mistakes, scoring a SNIPE goal, and making some GREAT defensive plays. He was a 50% CF% player (just over 50% at even strength) and was a heavily positive CF%Rel player. What's more, he did it all with only 38% offensive zone starts, the 2nd-lowest of the Blue Liners (surpassed only by Scandella's 25%). Dumba gets the 2nd-star nod over Fonzie because his goal was more impressive, his defensive plays were key, and his zone starts were not easy.
Devan Dubnyk saved the Wild's bacon yet again tonight. The net minder posted a Sv% of .943, bringing up is average with the Wild (which currently sits at just over .93). Make sure to check out my article tomorrow for a look at just how historically good Doobie Doo has been with the Wild.
The Wild will continue this road trip on Friday against the terribad Oilers, with the chance to get 2 more important points.
Keep an eye open for updates on Spurgeon, who played fewer than 90 seconds before being injured in the first. Hopefully he'll be back for Friday, but if not then look for Blum, Bickel, or Folin to be in the lineup against Edmonton.