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 4-3 loss to the Dallas Stars.
Never give up. Isn’t that a lesson we’ve always been taught. As we know very well by now, the Minnesota Wild never gives up. Okay, we get it. That Chicago rally was fun, but it can’t become a habit for the simple fact that it’s nearly impossible to duplicate. Now would be a good time to pretend the first 10 minutes of a game is the last 10 minutes of a game. We might be able to avoid these situations of falling behind by four…again, and then rallying to within one…again.
Much like Saturday’s loss in Phoenix, tonight’s 4-3 loss to the Dallas Stars was as exciting as a trip to the DMV. They fell behind 4-0 just past the halfway mark. Then, like Saturday, a Wild player tried to take over the game and nearly did. This time, it was Antti Miettinen, who scored the first two Wild goals and assisted on the other. Not enough. And now, it could be time to worry. These two points against a team the Wild was previously tied with were crucial.
If the Wild is planning on spotting a team four goals, can they just get it over with in the first minute? That four-goal deficit seems to be the most delayed proverbial wake up call for this team. As soon as a team gets up by four, the guys in white quickly respond with a quick goal. Then, they start chugging and chugging until they can rap a couple quick ones. Niklas Backstrom
once again didn’t get any help on the four goals he allowed before being pulled in tonight’s game. But is he officially in a slump? And if so, might this be the first slump of his NHL career? Backstrom has now given up at least three goals in eight of his last 10 games. Prior to that skid, Backstrom had given up three goals just 14 times in his first 41 games.
Most alarmingly, he’s given up 10 goals in his last five periods. Again, there’s not a goal you can point to where you say, “He should have had that.” Still, these are unchartered waters for Backstrom, which goes to show how spoiled we’ve been over the last four years when it comes having the unflappable Finn in net.
On the flip side, Josh Harding
is turning into hockey’s version of Joe Nathan. The backup made his third relief appearance and was perfect once again. He has stopped 31 total shots in his three relief appearances.
Of course, Harding’s biggest highlight of the night was when he lost his mind on Steve Ott. During a scramble in the Wild crease, Ott landed on top of Harding’s chest, and took his sweet time moving his tush. Harding took exception to this, and as soon as he was able to move, he began unloading haymakers with the ever-potent blocker punch. Ott didn’t back away, and there was an all out altercation before Nick Schultz stepped in and took over.
That scrum actually seemed to provide the emotional spark the Wild needed, but I don’t think we’re going to see goalie fights every night to ignite a rally.
I don’t want to take a trip to negative town, because Rick Pitino is the mayor and he is a shady fellow. However, we’re going to pass through here in Takeaway #5. Hopefully, because it’s at the bottom, maybe you won’t even get down to it, because my first four takes were so bad.
Deep breath. Okay, here goes. This winless trip might have been worse than the five-game head shaker at the beginning of the season. Back then, the Wild players didn’t pick up the systems quickly. They didn’t know their coach. They didn’t know if they could compete.
Now, the team knows all of those things. Excuses have gone out the window, but the Wild still hasn’t learned to start out games strong, especially on the road. Every point is crucial when you’re battling for a playoff spot, and the Wild watched six of them slip away in a five-day stretch.