Heh heh heh. An interesting night at the Xcel on Thursday. Well, actually the interesting part was that for about 50 minutes there wasn’t anything interesting about it. You’d think a game pitting Backstrom against Theodore would hold interest…but not really.
Slow, slow, slow game through the first two periods. The energy just wasn’t there from either team. The refs blew calls for both sides (except for a high stick to Gilbert where the stick got caught in his helmet…even the blindest of zebras had to call that one), and both teams looked lost.
As the game came down to the wire and the definitely-not-a-sellout crowd started to head toward the exits, Niklas Backstrom went off the ice and head coach Mike Yeo put Erik Christensen on as the extra attacker on a “hunch”, as he later called it. With 30 seconds left, BAM, a tying goal (the Wild’s earlier goal came from Kyle Brodziak, who is now tied with Dany Heatley as the Wild’s top scorer this season).
No sooner did I have a chance to explain how overtime worked to my friend who was sitting next to me than Mikko Koivu set off the goal horn to win the game less than 15 seconds into OT.
The big news, other than a good number of former North Stars players being in attendance, was Jason Zucker playing his first NHL game. My thoughts? His first period was definitely not solid, but I’m not going to beat the kid up. He’s 20 and less than a week ago was playing college hockey in Denver. By the end of the game, he was skating faster than most of the guys on the ice, chasing the puck, causing a few turnovers, and diving right into the corners to battle. He’ll be fine.
Last Wild-related thought for the evening, and it’s in reaction to the question I’m tired of getting: no, the Wild haven’t signed Granlund yet. They can’t do it until after the world championships, otherwise he can’t play in those. He’ll sign, folks. It’s ok.
Lest some of you think I’m being inconsistent as of late…you’re right. My apologies. I’m in the middle of a move from suburb to suburb here in the Twin Cities metro, and my time (and connection) isn’t always available as of late. All will be calm before playoffs are over, not that there will be a lot of Wild news…but I have to spend at least some time cheering against Vancouver.