That, ladies and gentlemen, is why he's the captain.
With the Wild well into their typical 2nd period nadir funk, Koivu went on one of his Koivunator/Bionic Finn rampages, and the result was an emerge-from-the-blackout having scored two PPGs in 52 seconds, the lead re-taken, permanently, it would turn out. And the team, as well as the sellout crowd, all on his shoulders. A stunning bullrush of drive and desire drew a penalty, knocked home a sick pass from Cullen off a broken play (puck came up on its edge and rolled on Cullen) and then a crash-the-net rebound smashed home under a fallen Khabibulin one on top of the other so quickly that several (BP players') heads actually spun.
When the Joint Chiefs of Staff draw up a plan of attack to take Baghdad, it looks like what Koivu did to BP those couple of minutes. Sick, sick stuff.
The Wild's PPG prowess (as noted by KiPA below) is remarkable right now. The other two goals coming from Mittens and Cullen, four PPGs in one game, why it's something a - dare I say it - skilled team might pull off!
My buddy Mr. Bandgeek had the comment of the game to me. In the first period after a shift from Clutterbuck followed up with a shift from Latendresse et al where the Wild had BP hemmed in their own zone, hitting guys and cycling and snarling and spitting, Mr. Bandgeek remarked "Is this.....pressure?!" And yes, after we consulted the manual, yes, it was pressure.
In fact, the ten-minute lull to start the second period, compared to more or less the whole first period and certainly the second half of the second period, ighlighted, if nothing else, what the game looks like when the Wild is playing, assumingly, Coach Richards' system and when it's not. And - and I admit this feels a little strange to admit, admittedly - it looked pretty damn good.
Could the Wild really be a forechecking team? If I hadn't seen flashes of it with my own two eyes last night I would still scoff at the notion. But, I did.
But, for those of you (us) who still want to wear the hater suit for a while, it was just one game, against (another) bad team and one that we've enjoyed a thorough dominance over for a while now. So, if you want to chalk it up as a hiccup for now, do so with a clear conscience.
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