Last night the Minnesota Wild ended their 5 game losing streak whilst, and at the same time, picking up a point in their 3rd consecutive game. On to my thoughts:
1. For the most part I listened to the FSN Arizona announcers for this game. Throughout the game they talked about Phoenix dominating but the Wild getting the goals. While I have a lot of respect for Dave Strader it really didn’t feel that way to me. The Wild were able to create plays and move the puck well. However they were also guilty of some bad turnovers. It was those turnovers that seemed to lead to most of the “good shifts” for the Coyotes.
2. Backs is back? He certainly is (if he was ever gone) but despite being named 1st star I don’t think this was one of Backstrom’s more dominate performances. Not that he was bad, he certainly wasn’t. And neither of the goals he let in were soft. But tonight puck luck was on his side. A couple bounces going a different way here or there and we are talking about a different game. But that’s hockey and puck luck will get you both ways, tonight it was in his favor. But this will no doubt be a confidence building game for him and help him return to being the dominate goalie he has been this season.
3. Martin Havlat, who has been the best player not named Sidney Crosby as of late, had a quiet game. But I don’t expect that to last. He has stepped up big time lately and if this Wild team could get all 8 cylinders working at the same time they may surprise some people.
4. Todd Richards had a good road game. The line matching worked in his favor and he used his timeout wisely.
5. Mikko, Bruno, and Mittens were amazing. This line looked great last night and we suddenly got the Mikko of old we have been clamoring for. He worked hard to get pucks, keep pucks in, and create chances. He was directly involved in creating the first two goals, then joined Andrew Brunette on the screen to help create the 3rd goal. With this line going and the Havlat-Bouchard line clicking the Wild finally have two legitimate scoring lines. Not to mention that you still have the Cullen line as a 3rd option. Things are looking good for the Wild.
Tags: Andrew Brunette Antti Miettinen Brent Burns Cal Clutterbuck Chuck Fletcher Chuck Kobasew Eric Belanger Eric Nystrom Greg Zanon John Madden Kyle Brodziak Marek Zidlicky Martin Havlat Matt Cullen Mikko Koivu Minnesota Wild Nick Schultz Niklas Backstrom Patrick O'Sullivan Phoenix Coyotes Pierre-Marc Bouchard Todd Richards