Monday, December 15, 2008

Gm # 29: Ducks 4, Wild 2

El Segundo, Calif. -- When is a loss not a loss?

According to the Minnesota Wild, when it is considered a 'moral' victory. Unfortunately for the Wild and their fans, the only victories that count are the ones on the scoreboard, and the Anaheim Ducks won where it counts on Sunday night, 4-2 at Honda Center, before an announced crowd of 16,577 'quacky' patrons.

The captaincy of Kim Johnsson took a decided downward turn in this back-and-forth contest, as the soon-to-be UFA was a -3 and a personal favorite for LW Chris Kunitz, as he took Johnsson to task as the Ducks scored twice in the first 6:23 of the game, well before many in the late-arriving crowd had taken their seats. The Wild did get one back as Marc-Andre Bergeron scored on the power play, helped out by the freakish sight of Derek Boogaard in front of Anaheim goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere as MAB's shot sizzled past J.S.' s blocker to cut the Ducks' lead to 2-1.

The second period started like the first one ended, the Wild in control (for the first time on this 3-game Western swing) and it paid off as Eric Belanger took a pass from PMB and ripped it past Giguere at 2:32 of the second period. But, try as they might, the Wild were never to gain the lead as the Ducks put this one away with goals by both Brendan Morrison and Bobby Ryan, Morrison's comning on a nifty deflection of a Todd Marchant shot as Johnsson helplessly watched it go in.

The Wild set a franchise record for futility in this contest, as they lost their fifth consecutive game in regulation, and now stand only two points ahead of 13th-place Columbus in the NHL Western Conference. Their road record now stands at .500 (7-7), as the Wild come home for 5 of their remaining 7 games in December.

We caught the assembled multitude outside the arena hitching rides to LAX:

Chicken Little: They said it would be a cold day in hell when the Wild lost five in a row in regulation time. What's the temperature back home??

Pollyanna: Let's go home and get into the holiday roster freeze!!

Bottom Line: The Wild came out flat in the first six minutes. Take that away and you had a darn good hockey game, not to mention a 'Rock 'em, Sock em Robots' kind of fight between Eric Reitz and Anaheim's Travis Moen in the first period. Moral victory? Perhaps. but the Wild need real victories, not moral ones.

Stud: Benoit Pouliot, much maligned by Wild fans despite being only in his third pro season, with two assists on the evening. Benny, we hardly knew ye...

Dud: O Captain, my captain...Kim Johnsson, he of the -3 evening on the ice. Keep that up and we won't have to worry about him wearing anything other than a 'For Rent' sign come trade deadline time.

Next: vs. Calgary, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 7 PM Central Time (TV: FSNorth in HD, NHL Network-US, TSN in HD, XM Ch. 206)


1 comment:

Ms. Conduct said...

Glad to hear Benny did well. Always doing just enough at just the right time to hang on for a little while longer...