By Wild Road Tripper
Ms. Conduct, HTP's budding goalie and resident Southern belle, would have been proud of the way her ex-Houston Aeros players managed to pull the Minnesota Wild thru the end of their second longest road trip of the 2009-2010 campaign Sunday afternoon before losing to the Carolina Hurricanes 5-4 in a shootout, in front of 12,194 at Raleigh's RBC Center. Considering the Wild were down by three goals twice in the first 30 minutes of the game, that they received even the 'loser point' in the shootout was quite the accomplishment.
The final score was certainly not indicative of how the game was played. For the first 28 minutes, it looked like the Wild were certainly headed for a blowout, as the 'Canes took a 3-0 lead at the five-minute mark of the second. But, Antti Miettinen's redirect of a Brent Burns shot cut the lead to 3-1. After the 'Canes Brandon Sutter scored to make it 4-1, it was time for 'team Houston' to step in and save the day.
Robbie Earl -- playing in only his 11th NHL game -- scored twice, his first two NHL goals, and 'Big John' Scott got his first NHL goal, all in a 9-minute stretch spanning the end of the second and start of the third periods. After that, the game went back-and-forth, with lots of neutral-zone action, but except for the last minute of regulation, not a lot of excitement.
The overtime was uneventful as well, but Jussi Jokinen scored the only goal of the shootout to break the 14-game losing streak of the 'Canes, who are in the midst of an 11-game-in-20-night scenario.
Wild Offense: Well. for the first 28 minutes, you'd thought that they'd went to church. (Or, to a NASCAR race.)
Wild Defense: Niklas Backstrom wasn't getting a lot of help the first half of the game. They finally picked him up in the second half.
Carolina Offense: Ray Whitney still shows he's the best thing the 'Canes have. Goal, 2 assists, plus 3 for the day. Pretty darn good.
Carolina Defense: When they weren't turning the puck over the second half of the game, they were slow in changing, allowing the Wild easy access to the puck.
Leader: Earl. Kid steps in and gets the job done.
Lagger: Tim Gleason, Carolina. -3 as the Wild picked on him late in the second.
Stud: Burns. A +4 on the afternoon, Burnsie showed the way for the comeback. Wish he'd do it more often!
Dud: Joe Corvo, Carolina. He was on the ice for a whopping 31:52. Too much TOI. Yes, he's a top-4 defenseman, but Coach Paul Maurice had other guys to choose from.
(The assembled multitude missed the last non-stop flight back to MSP, so they're still at a B-B-Q pit somewhere in the Triangle. We'll catch up to them later.)
Next: vs. Phoenix, Wednesday, Nov. 19, 7:00 PM Central (6 PM Mountain), Xcel Energy Center. (TV: KSTC-45, FSArizona (in HD); XM Ch. 208)