By Wild Road Tripper
And just when you thought it couldn't get any worse...
It could have been too much time in SoCal. Maybe too many bad vibes coming from all those magnet schedules the Anaheim Ducks handed out to the 15,111 in attendance at Honda Center Wednesday night. Whatever it was, the Ducks managed to turn two incredible Minnesota Wild gaffes within the first 8: 29 of the game into a 3-2 Ducks victory, made worse by the post-game admission that Martin Havlat was diagnosed with a pulled groin which he suffered early in the third period after a long benching for ineffective play, his second such benching incident in as many games.
Wild Offense: What offense? There was none in the first period, and next to none in the third. The second period is where the Wild got on the Ducks. Too bad Jonas Hiller was there to stop all but one.
Wild Defense: Still looks like a Chinese Fire Drill. When will they learn someone has to stay back from the play in order to get a loose puck? Kim Johnsson looks horrible. The rest of them? Not much better.
Ducks Offense: Great night for Corey Perry. Two goals in 8:29. Can't get better than that, especially this early into the season.
Ducks Defense: Brendan Mikkelson? +3, assist on Anaheim's 3rd goal, takeaway. Beauchemin who?
Leader: Perry. Periods like that first one, you take into the warm California night.
Lagger: Johnsson. Nice way to support your goalie, be the 4th one to the bench, while the other team moves the puck up and scores. The rest of his night wasn't much better, either. How 'bout that -6 there, Kim?
Stud: Mikkelson. Another Duck find that fills a hole very nicely.
Dud: Brent Burns. Many more nights like this, Burnsie, and you may get fed to your petting zoo. Burns' -7 is currently the worst on the entire Wild roster.
The assembled multitude was seen sobbing along Katella Blvd., en route to Anaheim Stadium for cheap ALCS souvenirs:
Chicken Little: Are you lookin' up/ Are you lookin' down/ Are you lookin' all around? That iceberg dead ahead is the Wild season crashing into utter, hopeless failure...
Pollyanna: Wait a minute! This isn't 'Down Goes Brown'! It's not a Leafs' blog here!! This is only Game 5, and now the boys head north, where the ice is better, the competition more equal, and the Oilers and Canucks both have injury problems!
Bottom Line: If I knew what I would have gotten for my money last night, I might have asked for my money back. Every team has to play thru injuries. When are the Wild going to put 60 minutes of decent hockey together? The time for leaders to lead is when things aren't going the way the team wants them to. Like...now?
Next: At Edmonton, Friday, Oct. 16, 8;00 PM Central (7:00 PM Mountain) Time, Rexall Place. (TV: KSTC-45, Oilers PPV; XM Ch. 205)