There were warnings about this before the season started. About games being close, tight affairs that the Wild would win...if they played defense properly.
So far this young season, the emphasis has been on the 'IF' part. Monday night, however, the 'IF' was good enough as the Wild won their 6th game of the season, 3-2 over the now-3-3-3 Chicago Blackhawks at the Xcel Energy Center.
The Hawks opened the scoring as Patrick Sharp, one of many young up-and-coming Hawks, caught the Wild asleep in front of their own net 13:35 into the contest.
The Wild peppered Hawks goalie Cristobal Huet with passes. Passes, no shots...why aren't they shooting?, we were asking ourselves, until Andrew Brunette finally shot one ON goal instead of ACROSS the crease to score with just over 2 minutes left in the first.
Although the Hawks outshot the Wild 18-4 (yes, that's right) in the 2nd, the Wild scored the only two goals of the period, as Antti 'Mittens' Miettinen and Brent Burns both tallied to give the Wild a 3-1 lead into the third period, when Jacques Lemaire decided it was time for his version of the 'Prevent' defense.
And we all know what THAT prevents you from doing, DON'T WE??
After Duncan Keith's stolen puck dribbled thru Niklas Backstrom's pads and into the net to make the score 3-2, the Wild held on, despite losing Burns for most of the 3rd period to a 'lower body injury'.
What made matters worse was Marek Zidlicky's late-period penalty, as the Wild were then down to 4 defensemen for most of the last 4 minutes of the contest. Not a time to engage a no-brain like Adam Burish.
But, as they say, sometimes it's better to be lucky than good...
Now, let's go to the group:
Chicken Little said: Why in God's name can't we have a strong 3rd period? Why? WHY?
Pollyanna said: Any win against Chicago is a good win. The Wild won. So there. Pffttt....
Bottom Line: Wild win their 6th game of the season, go to 6-0-1 overall, and head into the Wednesday-Thursday back-to-back against Dallas and Montreal confident and, hopefully, ready.
Stud:There were a few tonight, but Mikko Koivu's 3 assists topped 'em all. Honorable mention to 'Mittens', to Backstrom for his 34 saves, and to the 'Irish God of War', Owen Nolan for his assist. Two points for that warrior in his last two games...
Dud: Sorry, Skoula-haters, Marty is off the hook this time. Marek Zidlicky is the 'designated goat' this evening as his two penalties and lack of offensive effort from the blueline was glaringly apparent.
Next Game: at Dallas, Wednesday, October 29, 7:30 PM,
TV: FS North, FS Southwest
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