Following Wild games, Managing Editor Glen Andresen will give the five takeaways that he'll remember from each contest. Tonight, Digital Media Coordinator Carly Peters fills in to look back at a 7-4 loss against the Colorado Avalanche Saturday.
To start off, it's never fun to write a story like this after a loss like the Wild suffered tonight. But, there are certainly five things to take away from this loss even if we'd rather not think about tonight's game too much.
One of the positives from tonight was the Wild's first period. Minus a Colorado goal from a weird angle just over a minute into the game, the Wild was great in the stanza. Crisp passing, scoring chances and great overall play marked what Todd Richards said in his postgame comments was one of the best periods the Wild has played all season. Which brings us to...
If we had to pick a storyline for Minnesota's season so far, it might be the Wild's struggle in one of its three periods each game, nearly always coming in the second frame.
As Richards was describing the Wild's great first period in tonight's media scrum, he abruptly said, "And then we abandoned everything. It's from one extreme to the other." As frustrated as Wild fans are with the team's seemigly lack of ability to sustain a solid effort for a full 60 minutes, it's clear with each postgame press conference that Richards is even more frustrated that he hasn't figured out a magic elixir for the Wild.
When the Star Tribune's Michael Russo asked Richards tonight if it's a conincidence that the team's lapse almost always occurs in the middle frame, Richards responded with a frustrated laugh.
"There has to be something," Richards said shaking his head. "As a coach, I wonder, can I praise the guys about playing a good first? I don't know. I think they're professionals playing at the highest level, they're established guys; we should be able to handle that."
In a night where there weren't many, Kyle Brodziak
was one of the few positives for the Wild. Brodziak potted two goals and led the Wild with a plus-two rating in 13:56 TOI. Perhaps more impressive was Brodziak's willingness to fight Colorado's Chris Stewart in the second period.
Less than two minutes after his first goal cut the Wild deficit to 5-3, Brodziak's fight really got the Wild energized. After struggling for nearly the entire second period, the Wild finally started to pull it together after Brodziak's bout. His game might be gritty and tough, but Brodziak does not normally fill the role of enforcer on the ice.
Richards said of Brodziak's fight, "You have to give a lot of kudos to Kyle Brodziak
for doing what he did. That got the emotion on the team. And then you saw guys step up emotionally." Richards added that he wished he had seen that emotion from other players earlier in the period.
The Wild had one of the best goaltending duos in the NHL to start the season. Niklas Backstrom
was the unquestioned starter after he shot up the NHL stats sheets, ranking in the top five in nearly every goaltending category.
But now, as much as the Wild might not want to talk about it, it seems they will be surrounded with talk of a goaltending controversy. And Niklas Backstrom
's performance tonight didn't help.
Backs earned the start after posting great career numbers in Denver, but he allowed a career-high seven goals tonight. I'm certainly not trying to say they were all Backstrom's fault or that he hasn't been one of the team's top players for the majority of the season, what I'm getting at is he has given up 18 goals in his past three games for losses. And with Jose Theodore posting three wins in his last four starts, this goaltending topic is only going to become more prevalent.
Five takeaways are normally reserved for Wild players, but when a player has a game like Paul Stastny did tonight, it's hard not to mention him.
Stastny only totaled one goal and an assit in tonight's game, but he was absolutely flying around the ice and seemed to be a part of the majority of the Avalanche scoring chances. Head Coach Joe Sacco must have noticed too because Stastny ranked second among all Colorado players with 21:39 TOI. Anytime the Avs broke into the Wild zone, he was usually the player leading the charge and then banging into bodies to create some room for his teammates. The 24-year-old really showed tonight how he can be one of the NHL's young stars.