Jan 20, 2013; St. Paul, MN, USA; Minnesota Wild goalie Josh Harding (37) makes a save during the second period against the Dallas Stars at the Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Wild Shut Out Dallas Stars


Your Minnesota Wild are an undefeated 2-0-0 so far in this sprint of an NHL season.  Sunday night the Dallas Stars came to town with their new hired gun, Jaromir Jagr, and failed to score.  Yes, the Wild led by Goaltender Josh Harding picked up the victory by the slimmest of margins, 1-0.  Many people wondered how Josh  would perform after he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) this past summer.  Sunday night’s performance should take care of those questions.  Harding faced 24 Dallas shots, stopping them all.  After the game, Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo talked about Harding’s performance saying, “This is something that most of us cannot understand what he’s going through. He’s just had an amazing attitude.” Harding talking about the victory said, “I can’t thank the team enough for having my back, they made some great plays and played great out there, It was a long time coming. It’s been a tough couple months here, but this made it all worth it.”

A shutout alone doesn’t win the game.  You’ve got to score.  The sold out Xcel Energy Center crowd roared as Zach Parise scored his first goal as a member of the Minnesota Wild at the 8:11 mark of the first period.  He now has 1 goal and 2 assists on the season.  Parise scored on a beautiful slap shot from outside the circles. He was the recipient of a pass from Pierre-Marc Bouchard, who was fed by Dany Heatley.  The goal came during a four on four situation with Ryan Suter and Jaromir Jagr in the penalty box. Bouchard now has a point in both games (a goal and an assist), while Heatley’s point total stands at 3 (2 goals, 1 assists).  That wrapped up scoring for the night.  Dallas Stars rookie goalie Cristopher Nilstorp took the loss in his NHL debut stopping 31 of 32 shots.  Tough night for a rookie when the Wild are playing tight defensively.

 After the win Wild head coach Yeo said, “That’s what good teams do,” “Good teams find a way to win. Sometimes you gotta win 1-0 sometimes you gotta score four goals. Every night is unique but guys did what they had to do tonight.”

Coach Yeo also singled out defenseman Clayton Stoner for his play against the best the Dallas Stars had to offer.  Dallas coach Glen Gulutzan said he was not pleased with his team’s effort in the opening period.  Just 9 minutes into the game the Wild held a 9 to 1 shot advantage.  For the second game in a row Minnesota topped the 30 shot mark. Last year, they averaged below 26 shots per game.  Cal Clutterbuck and Dany Heatley led the way in the shot department with 5 each.  Dallas totaled 24 shots–many of them the harmless variety quickly gobbled up by the Wild goalie.  Perhaps Dallas’ best chance came with netminder Nilstrop pulled and Trevor Daley in the box for high sticking late in the third period.  Ray Whitney picked up the puck and unloaded on Harding who stoned him to remain perfect on the night.

The Wild are now 2-0-0, their best start since the 2008-09 season when they started 4-0-0. Next up for Minnesota is the Nashville Predators.  Free agent signee Ryan Suter goes up against the only other team he’s played for in his NHL career.  The future looks bright for the Minnesota squad. The Xcel Energy Center is selling out again, the fans are smiling, the home team is winning and player confidence is running high. What more could a Wild fan ask for? Right now, Minnesota is at the top of the Western Conference.  The cream will rise to the top over the next 46 games over 97 days.  Saturday and Sunday was just the first of 9 back to backs the Wild have in this lockout shortened 48 game campaign. Time will tell, but right now it’s fun to be a fan of the Minnesota Wild.  Gone Puck Wild will be with you every step of the way with all the Wild news and information you need. The season is young and there is a lot of blood, sweat and hard work ahead but, right now, things look pretty darn good in The State Of Hockey!

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