By Wild Road Tripper
Bewitched, bothered and bewildered, the Wild's October Road Odyssey is finally, and mercifully, over.
The boys just didn't have it in 'em when it counted, as the Vancouver Canucks defeated the Minnesota Wild late Saturday night 2-1, in front of 18,630 at GM Place in Vancouver. Two late Canuck penalties failed to produce an equalizer, as the Wild fall to 1-6 for the 2009-10 season. The loss by the Wild marks the fourth straight defeat on CBC's 'Hockey Night in Canada', long considered the NHL's primary national telecast.
Wild Offense: Again, another night of fits and spurts. At times, the Wild forgot the new theme was 'dump and chase'. Lots of dumping in, but not much chasing. Having three of your top 10 forwards out of the line-up didn't help.
Wild Defense: Except for the play which led to the second Vancouver goal, the play was markedly better than Friday night's third period in Edmonton.
Canucks Offense: One-half of 'the Sisters' were missing, but Vancouver made a lucky break and a fortutious pass both count.
Canucks Defense: Shut down the Wild offense (what little there was of it) most of the night. All Roberto Luongo had to do was lean back and collect the game check.
Leader: When all else fails in Vancouver, you always turn to Luongo.
Lagger: Was there one tonight? Maybe James Sheppard, but then, some say we're too hard on the kid.
Stud: Niklas Backstrom. Stopped 37 of 39 shots, many close-in rebounds and/or weird mis-direction plays.
Dud: Marek Zidlicky. Took dumb penalty in 3rd period. Was a -2 for the night. The worst of the worst this evening.
The assembled multitude was seen just south of GM Place, hailing taxis on the street to get to the Airport:
Chicken Little: Glad this trip's over! A disappointing end for a disappointing team on a very disappointing trip.
Pollyanna: Me too! Now the boys can get back home to some positivity, home cooking and away from you, CL!
Bottom Line: The Wild played with 1/3rd of their offense injured and out of action. They still made a game of it, however. You can't take moral victories into account in the standings, but if you could, you just might take something away from this one.
Next: vs. Colorado, Wednesday, Oct. 21, 7:00 PM Central (6:00 PM Mountain), Xcel Energy Center. (TV: FSNorth (includes FSWisconsin), Altitude, all feeds in HD; XM Ch. 207)
If you go Wednesday: Wear green. The Wild's new third jersey will debut Wednesday night.
Backstrom definitely deserved his first star tonight.
No doubt about that, Backstrom held them in when they weren't all that into it, especially in the latter stages of the second period, when they lost their skating will.
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