The Wild was the beneficiary of some fortuitous calls early in the first period, turned them into five power play goals and more or less cruised to an easy win as the wheels came off the Preds' wagon. One suspects that having to battle the Wild AND the refs would do that to the best of teams.
But don't blame the Wild. Other than Weller's icing-call hit on Ryan Suter, the only thing the Wild could have been called last night was "opportunistic" as they just took what they were given and ran with it. The Preds would have done the same thing.
Embattled Pierre-Marc Bouchard shot the puck - and voila! - a 1-1-2 game. Weller got his first of the season. Mikko Koivu had a pair. And this was all without the services of Eric Belanger who missed the game with a leg injury (got nailed in the Bolts game.)
Jordin Tootoo was up to his usual tricks, running into Josh Harding (who played very well considering the rust you know he was fighting), an really doing more than any other Pred player to persevere despite the obstacles.
This game turned into a fight fest (at one point, back-to-back-to-back bouts in the second period) and there was definitely some acrimony there which sets up an exciting re-match next Saturday night, back in Nashville. After trying to force toughness into the roster (Boogey, Fridge and Simon, anyone?) it's nice to see the whole team man-up and stick up for each other, well, the whole team other than Johnsson, that is.*
Chicken Little says: Can't rely on the PP for a whole season. Still need to address inability to score 5:5.
Pollyanna says: Offense is offense - regardless of when it comes. They said the 3rd period against the Bolts was inspiration and then went out an proved it.
Bottom Line: Solid 2 points on the road - and without one of their better two-way players to boot (settle down, Marian, I'm not talking about you.)
Stud: Mikko was a force to be reckoned with all night. His sliding-on-the-stomach goal had touches of Ovechkin, and he was his usual rock-solid on defense too.
Dud: I know this isn't his game, but *Johnsson hopefully took some grief on the plane ride home for making Harding take care of his own business after Tootoo ran him.