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 4-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers. Five Takeaways will be on a brief hiatus over the next two games, but will return after Sunday's home game against Calgary.
The Minnesota Wild players and coaches probably won’t admit to watching the out-of-town scoreboard, but nothing is stopping us from doing so. That’s especially true after a 4-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers that puts Minnesota into 10th place thanks to a St. Louis loss in Colorado. There was a bit of bad news as the seventh place Nashville Predators lost a two-goal lead in the third period, but used a shootout to pull two points out their game with Philadelphia. And, the Dallas Stars remained one point behind the Wild after thumping the Western Conference-leading San Jose Sharks.
But this continues to get interesting. The Wild refuses to go away, and now sights are set squarely on Detroit, sitting six points ahead in the eighth and final playoff spot. There is still a climb, but Minnesota has one more matchup with Detroit next week, and a handful of winnable games prior to that. That starts with a matchup with the Preds in Nashville on Thursday night.
I said after Sunday’s game that if the Wild is going to continue to make noise, Mikko Koivu
, Guilluame Latendresse, Andrew Brunette, Antti Miettinen will have to lead the charge. Like Sunday, all five of those players registered at least one point, including goals by Havlat and Miettinen.
Contributions from others certainly can’t hurt, and Andrew Ebbett was huge tonight in scoring a goal and an assist, and generally being all over the place with his speed. His line was a force, especially on a beautiful passing play that led to his goal that broke a scoreless tie in the first. If Chuck Kobasew can build off his first goal scored since posting a hat trick back on November 27, that would be chunky gravy.
After a whirlwind 48 hours that included playing his final college game, listening to 22 NHL suitors, signing with the Wild, flying to Minnesota early this morning and shopping for clothes in the afternoon after the airline lost his luggage, it was probably a good thing that Casey Wellman’s NHL debut will wait at least one more game.
But Tuesday night will definitely be a memorable night for newly-signed college free agent from UMass, and not because he participated in pregame warmups. During the second period Kiss Cam, a woman was shown on the big screen, next to a man she was not at the game with. So she leaned over the opposite way and stretched across a young man in a suit to kiss a different gentleman two seats down. That young man in the suit was Wellman, and the kissing culprits were his parents, Brad and Jodi. Click here
to see the priceless moment.
For right now, that has to be his most memorable NHL moment of Wellman's career. Let’s hope he scores that first NHL goal right quick.
The Oilers took down the Wild in a shootout just two weeks back, and their roster includes Zack Stortini and Theo Peckham. That means we don’t have to feel bad that they wallow in last place. And we certainly don’t have to enjoy the fact that they are now tied for the longest active losing streak in a road building after a 13th straight defeat at Xcel Energy Center. It’s especially comforting considering that the Wild has dropped 12 straight at American Airlines Center.
And while you’re enjoying that nugget of information, digest this as well: Minnesota has trailed in just two of those 13 games and has outscored Edmonton 42-14 during the streak.
Last but not least, there’s Josh Harding
, who once again delivered a sterling performance. Harding stopped 34 shots, which is the fewest during his three-game win streak. He will most likely make his fifth straight start against Nashville, and he’ll be looking for his second-ever four-game win streak.