The Minnesota Wild wrapped up their first road trip of the season by earning one of four possible points on the trip in an OT loss to the St. Louis Blues. The game was a story of the old and the new. Wade Redden scored his second goal in two games and rookie Vladimir Tarasenko had an assist with four shots on goal. Wade Redden last played in the NHL 3 seasons ago and is trying to resurrect his career, after signing with the Blues. He scored on a shot from the top of the left circle midway through the first period. The puck was fed to him by way of passes from David Backes and Alex Pietrangelo. Sloppy play on the power play cost Minnesota momentum in the opening stanza. They did have several quality chances though, mainly from the new minted Matt Cullen, Kyle Brodziak, and Cal Clutterbuck line. The best chance of the period came when Jonas Brodin tipped a shot by Cullen, that rang off the post and fell harmlessly out of reach for the Wild. Minnesota outshot the Blues 8-7 in that first period and started cashing in during the second.
The Wild earned a power play chance :27 into the second period, as Alex Pietrangelo held Zach Parise. Parise tied the game as he tucked one in near side on Elliot, who was caught leaning just a bit to his right. Heatley and Gilbert got the assists. That was the first goal of the season the Blues have given up on home ice. Mikko Koivu took an uncharacteristic unsportsmanlike penalty at 4:16 mark. The Wild Captain kept chirping at Referee Don VanMassenhoven, the veteran ref had had enough and sent Mikko to the box, as a frowning Head Coach Mike Yeo looked on. Luckily, St. Louis failed to convert. The Blues gave another power play to the Wild as Kris Russell picked up 2 minutes for interference as Mikko entered the zone. A few seconds later, it’s Heatley to Koivu to Parise = GOAL! Score is now 2-1 on a pair of power play markers by Zach Parise. Later in the 2nd we see, 4-on-4 action as Marco Scandella and David Backes take roughing minors. Mikko makes it 3-1, as his snap shot finds the twine. Not immediately called a goal, the review clearly showed the puck hitting the padded bar at the rear of the net. The assists go to Parise and Tom Gilbert. St. Louis makes it 3-2 on a Berglund goal assisted by Deavid Perron and Pietrangelo. One goal in the first, four goals in the second as chances started becoming goals for both teams.
At the start of the third period, St. Louis came out hard, spending extended time in the offensive zone. The Blues earned their third power play of the game when the Wild were caught with too many men on the ice. That was served by Pierre-Marc Bouchard and he went right back to the box with a delay of game penalty. “Bouch” flipped the puck out of the defensive end and out over the glass by player benches. Not the guy you’d expect to take back-to-back minors. Tight play by both teams spanned the next several minutes, with neither squad giving the other much room to operate. The Blues went on power play number five when Scandella was called for interference. Kris Stewart redireced a shot from Pietrangelo past Niklas Backstrom to even things up with 8:31 to play. It got worse just 2:14 later when Barret Jackman scored during a bad Wild line change and the Blues were up by a 4-3 score. At this point, the Blues had fired 28 shots at Backstrom, while the Wild had managed just 14 at Elliot. The shot totals for the game were equally lopsided with a 34 to 16 edge for St. Louis. Dany Heatley managed to even things up with a beautiful tap of the puck just below the crossbar, with only 4:08 to play in regulation. He had to wait for the puck to drop to crossbar level before he smacked it home past Elliot. A smart play by the veteran, it was confirmed to be a good goal by the war room in Toronto. That made a pair of goals confirmed after reviews for the Wild in this game. That wrapped up the scoring in regulation. This was the first overtime action of the year for Minnesota and it ended just 2:16 later with Vladimir Sobotka scoring after a nifty pass from Andy McDonald. With nothing but conference games being played this season every point is critical. Single points are more crucial than ever. Those single points will be the difference come the end of April.
Minnesota Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo summarized tonight’s penalty and mistake filled game by saying,
“Bottom line, Winners do things that it takes to win and tonight we didn’t.”
After the game Coach Yeo also said he was “very disappointed” and that the team made “more than several mistakes.” He characterized the penalties and mistakes as “a recipe for losing a game.” Once again, the Wild got scoring from the top line and close but no cigar from lines 2,3 and 4. After five games, 10 of the 13 Wild goals have come from Parise (5), Heatley (4) and Koivu (1). That trio also accounts for 11 total assists. The loss is the third in a row for Minnesota. The season is still young, but more production is critically needed from the 2, 3 and 4 lines. Coach Yeo said of the of the 2 through 4 lines ” Those guys need help.” “We can’t expect Parise, Heatley and Koivu line to score all the goals for us.” Parise has set a Wild record with 10 points in his first 5-games in a Wild sweater.
Minnesota returns home, capturing just one point on their two-game road trip. Next up for the Wild will be an intense day of practice on Monday. Starting Tuesday, they have back to back games against The Columbus Blue Jackets–led by former Wild coach Todd Richards–and against the undefeated Chicago Blackhawks. There’s no time to rest for the Wild squad and GonePuckWild.com will have all news and information you need as we head into another busy week in The State Of Hockey!