“You ever get punched in the stomach really hard?”
So said Minnesota Wild head coach Mike Yeo after the Wild jumped off a cliff to blow a 3 goal lead against the Nashville Predators to lose 5-4 in regulation.
How did the Wild lose? Simple: they played 55 minutes of excellent hockey.
3 goals in the final 3:21 changed the Wild’s loot from 2 points to a big fat painful goose egg. I’ll be blunt…the defense and goaltending fell apart. Josh Harding and the blueliners took a nap and cost the team the game.
There were lots of positives. Dany Heatley put two goals in against Pekka Rinne in the first period and continued to threaten throughout the night. Cal Clutterbuck scored a great goal, as did Kyle Brodziak. Until the final 5 minutes, the Wild defense and Harding were almost impenetrable. They pressured all through the zone, kept shooters to the outside, and the forecheck was as aggressive as it was back in November.
I’ll give the benefit of the doubt to Harding on the Predator’s third goal of the evening. I’m not convinced that shouldn’t have been whistled dead. It looked like it was covered. It doesn’t change the fact that two more went in almost immediately.
How do the Wild bounce back? Easy. They need to beat the Avs on Thursday. Yeo said that this week is all about the two goalies battling for top billing, and if Backstrom is his usual self against Colorado, Harding just gave it to him on a silver platter.
Ugh. I need a drink. Between this and the Zidlicky nonsense, it could be a long week.