This was supposed to be a Slovak's night. But, when the Slovak du jour failed to show, a Czech stepped in and stole the show.
As Marian Gaborik re-introduced himself to the 'Martin Skoula press box popcorn machine' at Xcel Energy Center Friday night, Petr Sykora made sure that Minnesota Wild head coach Todd Richards did not sit him next to the oft-injured ex-countryman any more, as his goal and assist helped propel the Wild to a 3-2 win over Gaby's New York Rangers in front of 18,106 goalie mask recipients (fake ones, Ms. Conduct.)
Richards also singled out Antti Miettinen for praise, as his rebound score gave the Wild its' second two-goal lead of the season entering the third period, a period which saw the Wild somewhat sit back and wait for things to happen.
Looking back at a good night for the local six, we find...
Leader: Sykora. Goal, assist, +1 for the night, looked really good in his comeback effort.
Lagger: Chris Drury. Big players need to step up in big situations. Where was the Rangers' captain?
Stud: Mikko Koivu. 2 assists, one of 3 Wild players +2 for the night, played his heart out tonight.
Dud: Marek Zidlicky. Two giveaways, always an adventure with the puck for Zids.
Take off the masks, Assembled Multitude, and tell us what you thought:
Chicken Little: OK, they won at home. Now, how about on the road?
Pollyanna: Three players +2 tonight, a two-goal lead and they didn't blow it. Nice 'W'!
Bottom Line: This October has been depressing enough for Wild faithful. Nice to see the boys still have it in 'em to pull one out when the breaks go your way. Now, will that continue when they face the defending Stanley Cup champions?
Next: at Pittsburgh, Saturday (Hallowe'en), 6:30 PM Central (7:30 Eastern) Time, Mellon Arena. (TV: FSNorth, FSPittsburgh, both feeds in HD: XM Ch. 206)