The Minnesota Wild are really going to miss Mellon Arena, after the defending Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins move across the street to Consol Energy Center after this season.
They obviously love the Igloo, as the Wild's win streak in Pittsburgh extended to three straight as Eric Belanger's goal with :00.6 remaining in the first period stood up, thanks to a Herculean effort by Niklas Backstrom with 34 saves as the Wild beat the Pens 2-1 Saturday night for their second straight win in as many nights. The Wild are now 3-0 versus the Eastern Conference in 2009-10.
Belanger also did his best vampire victim imitation, after ex-Gopher Alex Goligoski slashed Belanger with less than two minutes remaining, which sent Belanger to the locker room bleeding profusely from the proboscis.
The Wild are now off until Thursday, Nov. 5th after a 4-3 record while playing 7 games in 11 nights.
Leader: Backstrom, no question. Tonight, he was spot on his game. He had to be. During the last 10 minutes, while the rest of the Wild were scrambling, he was steady. Tonight, he was money.
Lagger: Sidney Crosby. Lost his cool (with Marek Zidlicky, none the less!) and was assessed 9 minutes in penalties, on a Penguins team who was already playing three men short due to injuries. Not smart.
Stud: Martin Havlat. Assisted on Belanger's game winner, but what made him stand out was his game-saving hand-clear of a sure goal in the final minutes, as the Pens were buzzing around the Minnesota goal. Who says he's a one-dimensional player?
Dud: Really, no one on either side deserved dud-ism. It was a good game by both teams.
OK, Assembled Multitude, put down the candy and tell us what you're thinking...
Chicken Little: How can this Wild team stay so lucky? How??
Pollyanna: Two good games back-to-back by 'da boys.' When these guys really want to put in an effort, they can win, even against good teams.
Bottom Line: A nice way to get the proverbial 'Monkey off your back' by beating the defending champions in their house. Did anyone think a week ago we would be sitting here saying 'Wild winning streak'? (I didn't think so...)
Next: vs. Vancouver, Thursday, Nov. 5, 7:00 PM Central (5:00 PM Pacific) Standard Time, Xcel Energy Center. (TV: FSNorth (includes FSWisconsin) in HD, CityTV (Vancouver); XM Ch. TBA)