Nick: I got this one. Thanks for filling in.
Someone should have filled in for Kim Johnsson Saturday night, as career third-pairing defenseman Niklas Grossman took advantage of Johnsson's bonehead move to screen his own goalie as Grossman fired the game-winner 2:23 into the OT as every Minnesotan's favorite team, the Dallas Stars, defeated the Minnesota Wild 3-2 at American Airlines Center.
Johnsson's evening was at best horrific, and at worst the death knell for an NHL season which, should the Wild fail to win in regulation this evening's 'Free Food Game' at Scottrade Center against the St. Louis Blues, will officially be on life support.
Steve Ott -- who is almost becoming as big of a Wild-killer as Jarome Iginla -- scored the first two goals of the contest, the first goal coming just 2:00 minutes into the game, before most of the 18,584 at the AAC had settled in for the night.
The Wild wake up Sunday morning in 10th place in the NHL's Western Conference, as both Nashville (shutting out Phoenix) and Edmonton (lost in OT to Colorado) also gained points late Saturday night, and as the games remaining dwindle, the question has to be asked: Is this the best this team can do?
The quotes coming out of the locker room after the game say they can do better. Well, then, guys? What are you waiting for? Time is indeed a-wastin', and you're running out of games to make up ground with. Every point is vital, and this club has given away three of them in the last three games with 3 OT/SO losses. In fact, the Wild currently have the worst record in their last 10 games (2-4-4) of any team in the Western Conference. With only 14 games left in the season, the Wild cannot afford to give away points.
Or do they really care anymore?
Chicken Little: Johnsson is embarrassing. Is he trying to out-Skoula Martin himself for the number of bonehead plays he makes? Johnsson should do gassers until he drops for what he did last night. My God that was awful...
Pollyanna: Niklas Backstrom was the only thing that held them in -- again. He hasn't given up on the season. Yet.
Stud: Andrew Brunette. Goal and an assist, and still playing on a bad wheel.
Dud: Johnsson. You really wonder who signs his paycheck sometimes.
Next: at St. Louis, Sunday (today), 5:00 PM Central Time, Scottrade Center. (TV: FSNorth (including FSWisconsin) in HD, KPLR-11; XM NHL Home Ice, Ch. 204)
Personal Note: My wife and I (and seven others in our group) will be in the stands (lower level, behind the Wild goal) at Scottrade Center this evening. Stop by and say 'Hello' if you are so inclined...