By Wild Road Tripper
You know you've had a great night when the head coach can't stop talking about you in the post-game presser.
Well, fans, welcome to Marek Zidlicky's world.
Zidlicky and his Minnesota Wild teammates ran their home record to 5-2 as the Wild defeated the Dallas Stars by a 3-2 score before 18,558 Saturday night at Xcel Energy Center. Zids' night included 24:05 TOI, the game winning goal (it actually went into the net off of Dallas defenseman Nicklas Grossman, but Zidlicky was the last Minnesota player with the puck) and an assist, a +2, four hits (more than Cal Clutterbuck had) and generally, he was where and when he needed to be.
So, then, let's break it down:
Wild Offense: Consistent in that the Dallas defense never could stop the rushes, except in the second period, when most everything came off.
Wild Defense: Very good to excellent, except Nick Schultz, who was really struggling in the third period as the game dragged on and the minutes mounted up.
Dallas Offense: Was better known as the 'Loui Ericksson Show' as he came up with two goals. Too bad he was also on the ice for two goals by the Wild.
Dallas Defense: Should have done better. Should have. Didn't, though.
Leader: Clutterbuck. Great individual effort led to scoring a short-handed goal. Good for Cal.
Lagger: Steve Ott. The Stars' resident pest wound up a -2 for the night.
Stud: Mikko Koivu. El Capitain with his 4th goal of the season. Nice going. Wild need more of this.
Dud: Trevor Daley. On the ice for all three Wild goals, just wasn't his evening.
The Assembled Multitude woke up Sunday morning and let us in on it...
Chicken Little: Nick Schultz was the best offense Dallas had, late.
Pollyanna: Nearly 60 minutes of effort tonight paid off in a win. Keep it up on the road, boys!
Bottom Line: The Wild actually played with some emotion tonight, not like Thursday's sleepwalk vs. Vancouver. Now, they start on their only road trip of the month, against 3 of the worst teams in the Eastern Conference (Toronto, Tampa Bay, Carolina) and a team whose best player is out injured (Washington, as Alexander Ovechkin recovers from the dreaded 'upper-body injury'). Is it too much to ask the Wild to aim for winning 3 out of the next 4?
Next: at Toronto, Tuesday, Nov. 10, 6:00 PM Central (7:00 PM Eastern) Time, Air Canada Centre. (TV: Rogers Sportsnet-Ontario, no local TV in Minnesota; XM Ch. 205)
Personal: I will be blogging from the road as my wife and I follow 'da boys' thru three of the four games (we are not going to Tampa) on next week's road trip. Hopefully you'll follow along...