Following Wild games, Managing Editor Glen Andresen will give the five takeaways that he'll remember from each contest. Tonight, he looks back at a 4-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers.
You never want to use excuses for a loss, and you especially don’t want to use injuries as that excuse. But I will. The Wild lost to the Edmonton Oilers, 4-1, because of injuries. Let’s face it, the Wild aren’t going to win many games with Marek Zidlicky, Nick Schultz, Owen Nolan, Martin Havlat and Guillaume Latendresse
out of the lineup. The first three didn’t start the game, the latter two left after one period. On the second of back-to-back games and less than 24 hours after an emotionally draining overtime loss in Vancouver, a win just wasn’t going to happen considering the situation. And Dustin Penner and Ethan Moreau made sure of it.
The absences of Zidlicky and Schultz opened the door for Nate Prosser
to make his NHL debut. There was no doubt the kid was nervous…for his intermission TV interview.
As far as hockey, he looked as cool as a puck freezer. In my opinion, Prosser may have been one of the best Wild players all night. Certainly, he was the freshest, but you could see his hockey smarts and his solid passing skills.. Todd Richards used him on the power play (most likely due to injuries), and he was solid in all areas. He started the play that led to the Wild’s only goal by Andrew Brunette, giving him his first NHL point. He wasn’t on the ice for an opponent goal and was a +1 in 19:31 of ice time.
The only blemish on Prosser’s night was a four-minute highsticking penalty that led to Edmonton’s fourth goal. At least, that’s how the box score will show it. But replays show that the blemish should belong to the officials, again.
For the second straight night, an opponent drew a bogus highsticking call, and this one was even more ridiculous. Ryan Potulny collided with Prosser as he entered the slot, and his own stick came up and hit him in the face. Prosser’s stick did come up, but never appeared to make contact with Potulny. It was frustrating that it happened last night. It’s bizarre that it happened two nights in a row.
Brunette’s goal was his 25th of the season, which is two off his career high set in 2006-2007 while with the Colorado Avalanche. He joined Marian Gaborik, Brian Rolston, Pavol Demitra, Nolan and Latendresse as the only players to reach that mark in a season.
There’s a franchise record that the Wild is closing in on that everybody would just assume doesn’t happen. For the second straight night, Minnesota gave up a shorthanded goal, bringing the season total to a whopping 13 shorties against. That leads the NHL and is one off the team record set in the inaugural season of 2000-2001.