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 4-0 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.
Hmm...Five things. I have to think of five things. Can I talk about how nice the weather was today? Maybe I could use one of my takeaways to let you know that if you are missing a husky puppy, my wife spotted it walking through the yard of our Como Park house. Email
me if you want more details.
But for now, we have to stick to hockey, and I’m reminded of a quote my friend Ben always says, “Sometimes the dragon wins.” On this night, I’m not sure if the Wild put Team Canada out on the ice, it just seemed like the Blackhawks were going to snap their three-game skid no matter what. There would be no rally from four goals down in this one. The fifth-largest crowd of the season (18.933) sent down some boos in frustration, but let’s not forget that there was another team playing tonight, and a very good one at that.
A lot of those boos came after the Wild was kept off the scoreboard despite a 5-on-3 power play for 1:37 in the second period. But this wasn’t a case of the power play coming unglued and just aimlessly passing the puck around. Hawks goaltender Antti Niemi was the only reason the Wild couldn’t score. Twice, he made sliding pad saves on Mikko Koivu
, and then he make a spectacular stop on a point blank try from Antti Miettinen.
Niemi only made 21 saves, but a large amount of the saves were on golden scoring chances. Many experts are saying goaltending will be the weakness of this Hawks team in the playoffs. That won’t be the case if Niemi, who has seven shutouts in just 33 contests, is on his game like he was tonight.
A very scary moment happened early in the game after Shane Hnidy, who returned after missing 11 games with a leg injury, belted Colin Fraser against the end boards. Fraser hobbled back to his bench, which is something we see Greg Zanon do every game. But suddenly, the entire bench started yelling at the refs to stop the game. Fraser looked like he may have collapsed on the bench.
Trainers rushed to his attention, and a stretcher was wheeled onto the ice. Fortunately, Fraser walked to the locker room under his own power and eventually returned in the second period. The official word from the Blackhawks was that “he got the wind knocked out of him.”
The much-anticipated showdown between the two defenseman that were traded for each other on February 12th never came to pass. Cam Barker and Kim Johnsson were both sidelined with injuries, and didn’t play in tonight’s game. In case you’re wondering, Johnsson has one goal and two assists in eight games, but has missed the last nine games. Barker has a goal and four assists in 14 games and has missed the last three games.
And you’re not allowed to give up hope yet. Yes, the Wild is done if the Colorado Avalanche wins one more game. But it doesn’t look like they will tonight. As I write this, the Avs trail the Anaheim Ducks by a 4-1 score in the third.
Okay, is that five yet?