Sid and Geno were as good as advertised, and the Pens doubled up the Wild 4-2 at the X. It was the Wild's first loss at home in five games this season. And here I was all psyched up to go 41-0.
The Wild simply aren't deep enough offensively too offset the loss of Demo and Gaby. This is somewhat perplexing since Gaby only has the one goal, but offense is more than goals, I guess.
There were some positives, though.
The "Deuces Wild" line of Boogaard (#24), Clutterbuck (#22) and Parrish (#21) was terrific all night. They banged bodies, they created chances, they brought energy. JL had them out after at least one of the Pens' goals - and that's an indication that he liked what he saw from them as well.
Shep got into his first NHL scrap after he won a draw against former Wild-hand Adam Hall and in the process knocked Hall in the helmet with his stick (Hall's head was at thigh height for the draw so it wasn't high sticking). Hall proceeded to act as though Shep had just shoved a red-hot fire poker in his eye but did not receive solace from the officials in the form of a penalty against Shep (as none was warranted). The play proceeded. Eventually Shep busted out of the Pens' zone on the backcheck and freight trained Hall who was standing around the face off dot just to the neutral zone side of the Pens' zone still dazed from the sight-threatening spear by Shep. Well young Master Sheppard put big, bad Adam Hall right on his keister. At this point, one presumes Hall's pride was sufficiently impugned that he felt he had to right matters by engaging in fisticuffs with Shep. This he did, though at worst I'd have to say it was a draw. Atta boy Shep!
Kimmy J took a leg contusion, and missed about half the game, but it's not thought to be groin-threatening so he should be back soon.
Koivu has become the best all-around player on the team. He makes scoring chances every time he's in the offensive zone, and he's busting his butt to get back on defense too. He's also starting to show creativity and vision in the offensive zone and is even starting to fake his own team mates out (on one play he suddenly went into reverse and got rear-ended by a surprised Rolston). Saku who?
Stevie Ray Veilleux's tireless work ethic finally saw him rewarded with a goal.
But, in the end, the Pens' top line was able to put up more points than the Wild's lineup-sans Slovaks (other than Radio).
Burns continues to try to do too much. I don't know if it's the pressure of the big contract or protracted growing pains. It could also be inevitable separation anxiety with JL scratching his Yoda (Mr. Carney). But he's making dumb decisions and taking penalties at bad times.
Blues in town on Thursday.
CHICKEN LITTLE SAYS: The hot start is gone. 0-3-1 in the last four - regardless of injury - back to the drawing board, boys.
POLLYANNA SAYS: The kids are being forced to contribute and are doing an okay job so far.
BOTTOM LINE: At least we didn't give the points to a conference/division foe.
STUD: Koivu has been our best, most consistent player through the first month of the season. Where's the ceiling on this kid?
DUD: Burns struggled again. He's still young, and I think he'll turn it around. But it's been a few games now, Brent....