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 2-1 shootout win over the Calgary Flames.
Since I watched the Minnesota Wild’s 2-1 shootout victory over the Calgary Flames from the coziness of my living room, it’s easy for me to say this game seemed to lack a little intensity. But at least that’s how it felt with two teams playing for pride rather than playoffs in a building that sounded eerily quiet.
While there was not a ton of action, there was still the usual sign of gutsy play from the Wild that has been there all season. Playing without a large chunk of offense from Martin Havlat, Guillaume Latendresse
and Owen Nolan, the Wild mustered all it could and never stopped skating. More guys got hurt; yet nobody gave up and eventually, the Wild secured a third win of the season in Calgary – something that has never been typed before.
The most serious injury was dealt to goaltender Niklas Backstrom
, who again was brilliant tonight. No matter the situation, we’ve seen Backstrom bring his best his entire career. The guy is a competitor and never takes a night off (except when he’s given one). But early in the third period, Backstrom took a wicked shot from David Moss off the throat area. He immediately went down and had to leave the game.
As of now, I don’t have an update on Backstrom’s status.
Of course Backstrom’s exit meant someone had to man the Wild crease, and that someone was Wade Dubielewicz. Of course, we all remember Dubie’s only start this season, which was a loss in Dallas after stopping 14 of 18 shots. Tonight was his shot for redemption, and he came through.
It wasn’t easy. Dubie came into the game with the Flames on the power play, and not long after, the Flames had a 5-on-3. He held is ground, and finished the night with five saves, and was perfect in making two stops in the shootout. It was a feel-good moment at the end of the year, and it had to be a nice feeling for the guy who was only here because of passport issues to be congratulated on the ice by his teammates.
Maxim Noreau became the eighth Wild player to make his NHL debut this season, and the 40th overall player to pull on the sweater this year. Noreau played 7:01 as the Wild used a total of seven defenseman. But one young defenseman has clearly earned the early confidence of Head Coach Todd Richards. After earning an assist and playing 19:31 in his debut on Monday, Nate Prosser
played 21 minutes tonight, and was solid once again.
There’s no doubt that the reason Minnesota will not be in the playoffs this year was the inability to win on the road – except the Pengrowth Saddledome. The Wild won 13 games on the road all season, and three of them came in Calgary. Coming into the year, the Wild had three total wins at the Saddledome in eight previous seasons.