The House of Horrors that is home ice for the Detroit Red Wings claimed another victim Friday night. The Minnesota Wild lost 5-3 in their first road game of the year. The first period theme was penalties not goals. The two teams each had three chances on the power play, failing to score on any of them. The Wild’s #1 penalty kill unit was flawless in the first, killing off all Red Wing chances including a lengthy 5 on 3. Offensively, the Wild came out skating fast, putting 11 shots on Detroit Goalie Jimmy Howard. He was up to the task, making some spectacular saves. The Wild end of the ice saw netminder Josh Harding stopping all 6 shots he faced.
The Red Wings broke the ice early in the second period with a pair of goals before the period was a minute old. Damien Brunner opened the scoring at the 13 second mark. That was followed by a goal from every Minnesotan’s favorite guy, Todd Bertuzzi. Ugh! Down 2 goals, the Wild fought back with a flurry of activity culminating with a 5 on 3 power play. Zach Parise potted a goal to extend his scoring streak to 4 games. Ryan Suter picked up an assist, his first point as a member of the Wild. Five minutes later, Tom Gilbert took a slick pass from Mikael Granlund and scored his first of the year, evening the game at 2 goals apiece; rookie defenseman Jonas Brodin collected the second assist on Gilbert’s goal, his first career NHL point. The Red Wings may be having some struggles on defense, but their offense was not struggling tonight. Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsuk scored to regain a two goal advantage heading into the third stanza. After two periods of play, shots on goal favored the Wild 21 to 17.
The third period saw the Red Wings score once again. Bertuzzi scored his second goal of the game. Double ugh, gag, puke, choke! The Wild had several good chances to close the gap but managed just a single goal. Zach Parise scored his second of the game. From behind the goal, he flipped the puck over the net off the leg of Zetterberg and in for the score. After the game Parise said, “We did some good things in the offensive zone tonight.” Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo says the team took too many penalties and missed too many opportunities to be successful against top teams. Next up for the Wild are the Blues on their home ice in St. Louis. The Wild have a day to practice before they suit up to face one of the hottest teams in the league on Sunday night. The continued production on the power play bodes well for the Wild. The number one unit of Parise, Koivu, Heatley, Suter and Bouchard is continuing to show they are one of the NHL’s best. The Wild’s 5 on 5 scoring continues to be somewhat elusive and that will have to improve for the Wild to climb the Western Conference Standings. Goaltending looks to be solid with a true pair of starting goalies in Harding and Backstrom. Hopefully, the injury to Jared Spurgeon is just a single game setback. The Wild missed his pairing with Suter tonight, but Brodin looked good and has a very bright future with Minnesota this season. The Wild will have to stay healthy through-out this shortened and compressed season to have a realistic shot at making the playoffs. The next step comes Sunday in St. Louis. GonePuckWild.com will have pre and post game coverage all season long. GO Wild!!