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Wilderness Walk: Two-Goal Lead Edition

Minnesota escaped a second two-goal collapse in as many games last night.  Why are those things so darn hard to keep?

NHL: Arizona Coyotes at Minnesota Wild Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports

Bruce Boudreau’s head may have exploded if the Wild had somehow lost to the Coyotes last night. You know that old adage that the two-goal lead is the worst one in hockey? It's totally true, and the Wild almost fell victim to its curse for the second game in a row last night, against another downright bad opponent. So what's the deal with the two-goal lead? Why are those things more slippery than banana peels on icy roads? Well, you know how when you're watching a game and your team is ahead by a goal, but the other team is threatening, and you're all up tight because you know the tying goal can come at any second? And then your team counters and scores and you think "Phew, now we can relax a little!" Well, guess what? Your team thinks the same thing!

Your team, whether it is trying to do so or not, instinctively lets its foot off the pedal ever so slightly when it gets a two-goal lead. When your team stops attacking, it can only get attacked. Often, by the time your team realizes that it has taken its foot off the gas, the opposing team has already scored a goal and taken over the momentum. The three-goal lead is usually safe (although no lead is truly safe, as the Wild demonstrated against the Stars over the weekend), because there's still time to recover and regain the momentum when the opponent gets the next goal. On the other end of the spectrum, the one-goal lead is almost easier to maintain than the two-goal lead, because your team still plays with the same heartiness in that situation as if it were tied.

And so, there you have it... The two-goal lead explained. Minnesota was very fortunate to escape last night, and it will need to bring a much better effort as a team when the Ducks visit on Hockey Day.

Has there ever been a more appropriate song to take you on your Wilderness Walk than the one I’ve included for you today?

Wild News

Niederreiter, Wild dodge letdown with 4-3 win over Coyotes
The AP recap.

Late Niederreiter goal lifts Wild over Coyotes -
Russo's Recap.

Wild's Boudreau does what he must to win — egos be darned -
Great, pointed story by Souhan. The move of Parise to the third line actually gives him more opportunities to score, and the team more balance. Love it.

Watch your favorite NHL players in this 'Friends' intro montage (Video)
Pretty funny, actually... Dubnyk represented in the Oilers sweater at the end.

On Frozen Pond

Gophers hockey preps for Badgers without Tommy Novak
Tough break for Novak and the Gophers, but also a nice preview for this weekend's Border Battle series.

EP's Mittelstadt, Lakeville's Oettinger Make Top-5 in NHL Draft Midseason Rankings |
The State of Hockey is well represented in the latest Draft Rankings.

Bus carrying Georgia hockey team wrecks
Just a terrifying story... Thank goodness there are no life threatening injuries. HW's thoughts are with the Cottonmouths.

College Sports: With hockey increasing in popularity in Texas, does it have a future as an NCAA sport?  | SportsDay
An interesting notion. Probably not in the near future, but one day...

Off The Trail

NHL goaltenders begin to get acquainted with new, tighter pants - Chicago Tribune
Skinny jeans coming soon to a goal crease near you!

Brent Burns makes case as NHL's best player
The one that got away [sigh].

San Diego Gulls hope to give Chargers fans local sports fix
"Umm, hey guys, we have punch and pie over here."

Coyotes demote Duclair to AHL so he can ‘regain his scoring touch’ | ProHockeyTalk
I just thought he was having a really bad game against the Wild.

Yes, Claude Julien’s job is in some danger with Bruins | ProHockeyTalk
Did you see him punch that monitor the other night though? This guy's got some fire left...