My streak is alive!
For those who don’t know, of all the Wild games I have ever attended I have never seen a loss excepting three games that I attended with one particular friend…who has never seen the Wild win in person. He wasn’t there last night, and I was, so this one was in the bag from the opening faceoff.
In all seriousness it really was in the bag for the Wild from moment one, because they executed a close-to-excellent hockey game for 60 straight minutes. The end result was beating the division leading Vancouver Canucks 2-0.
For a Wild / Canucks matchup, the violence was quite low. There was only one fight which came late in the first between Johnson and Bieksa. Mind you, it wasn’t for lack of the jumbotron trying to get something going with constant closeup shots of Matt Kassian every time the Canucks played dirty.
Burrows didn’t even dive as much as usual (although he did jam his stick into Stoner’s stones), but Kesler certainly played to his usual low standards by low-bridging Cal Clutterbuck. Kesler received two minutes for a blatant clip, and while I’d like to think that the league will bring supplemental discipline to bear, who am I kidding? It’s the Wild on the receiving end so Shanahan will make up an excuse to let it pass. Not that I’m still bitter about Bouchard or anything.
Erik Christensen scored his fourth goal in as many games with a beauty of a rebound shot late in the first.
The score would stay 1-0 until late in the game when Kyle Brodziak would fling the puck over 100 feet down ice into the empty Vancouver net to seal the shutout at 2-o.
Josh Harding’s glove belonged on Joe Mauer. He was almost perfect in net. Great positioning, aggressively defending his crease, and tracking pucks like they had landing lights on them. Solid, solid, solid. Not once did I fear that Harding had lost control of his net. To be fair, Cory Schneider was just as solid on the other end barring the one goal from Christensen. This really was a goaltender battle with both tenders getting over 30 saves, many of them on solid sniper shots.
After shutting down Wild killer Daniel Sedin, the Wild will face their other arch-nemesis in the scoring department, Jarome Iginla, when they host the Flames on Thursday evening.
Solid game all-around tonight. Forecheck was fast and aggressive, the Wild played two men (at least!) on all board scrums, and there always seemed to be a red sweater near the net.
Tom Gilbert stepped it up and played a very good game. He had a few defensive zone snafus, but overall as soon as he touched the puck he was headed north…and that’s what he’s good at doing.
Steven Kampfer continued to impress me. Solid play, good physicality, and great positioning to take away the center of the ice from Canucks’ shooters.
Clayton Stoner was a stick checking machine. It seemed that whenever his stick got near a Vancouver puck carrier that the Canuck ended up looking down saying, “Uh, I had it a second ago…”
Setoguchi stepped up his forecheck. That’s been a source of frustration for me this season, as Seto just doesn’t seem to haul you-know-what when he’s chasing. Not the case in this game. He was fast, aggressive, and often came away with the puck.