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 Edmonton Oilers.
In the words of Ricky Bobby, “Does that blow your mind? That! Just! Happened!”
It’s hard to believe a game in October against the Edmonton Oilers can produce the kind of reaction that Thursday’s 2-1 Minnesota Wild victory did. But when a team has been frustrated on offense and a looming loss suddenly turns to an unexpected victory, you do a few extra fist pumps.
The Wild was on its way to being shut out in Edmonton for the first time since the team’s very first visit to Rexall Place. It was on its way to a third straight road loss. It was on its way to another day of questioning from the media of “what’s wrong with the Wild’s top line?”
Then, with 1.2 seconds remaining, Dany Heatley
finds a space the width of a puck between Nikolai Khabibulin’s arm and body from a terrible angle. Shortly, zero points would become two enormous points.
“I was happy to see Dany Heatley
get that goal,” said Head Coach Mike Yeo. “He was one of those guys in the forefront. It was like he was refusing to lose that game tonight.”
Heatley’s goal was so big, it deserves another takeaway. When the red light came on, the clock stopped with 0:00.5 seconds remaining on the clock. Officially, the clock was reset to 0:01.2, but that’s still the latest goal the Wild has ever scored to tie a game in regulation according to Elias Sports Bureau. On January 23, 2002, the Wild scored with three seconds remaining to tie Anaheim.
It was pretty sweet for Heatley, who was booed all game by fans who didn’t take kindly to him rejecting a trade there from Ottawa three years ago.
The goal was also nice redemption for Heatley because it was his skate that came up and caught Mikko Koivu
in the neck and chin area midway through the third period. Koivu left the ice and was visibly bleeding. He did not return to the game, but after receiving stitches, he is “okay” according to team spokesman, Ryan Stanzel. They don’t call Stanzel the best PR guy in the League for nothin’ folks!
It was Matt Cullen
putting home the only goal in tonight’s shootout, which means he’s now three for three this season. And Cullen is making it look easy. It was the second time this season that he’s beaten Khabibulin, and tonight’s was a thing of beauty.
Khabibulin, who was dominant all game long, was completely fooled by Cullen, who juked him to the ice and then put a backhand off the water bottle. Chicks dig shots that pop the water bottle.
Tonight marked the 400th NHL game for Greg Zanon. He’ll probably remember it for that reason, but that’s all he’ll want to remember it for. In the first period, he lost his balance during a breakout attempt and put the puck on the stick of Ryan Smyth, who quickly set up Ryan Jones for the first goal of the game.
Later, Zanon had to leave the game, apparently due to the groin issue that has bothered him recently.
Few players hate sitting out games like Zanon does, so it will be interesting to see how he recovers tomorrow. If he’s not ready to go, Justin Falk
could crack the lineup for the first time in Vancouver on Saturday.