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Glen Andresen's Five Takeaways at Los Angeles

by Glen Andresen / Minnesota Wild

vs. Edmonton: February 22

vs. Detroit: February 20

vs. Anaheim: February 18

at Chicago: February 16

vs. Vancouver: February 15
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 loss in Los Angeles

With the Minnesota Wild and Los Angeles Kings entering Thursday’s game in a dead heat in the Western Conference standings, you knew things would be a little different. Nobody was going to be skating in on a breakaway and pulling off a spin-o-rama. In fact, if they did, they probably would have dislocated an ankle with how slushy the STAPLES Center ice appeared to be.

With Mikko Koivu and Kyle Brodziak both out of this game, the Wild was going to have to muck and grind to have a chance, and it almost worked out. Both teams took to be playing a physical, grinding game, but ultimately it was the Kings that ended up with a 4-2 victory, giving them sole possession of fifth place in the West. The Wild now finds itself in a five-way tie for the sixth position.

It was another one of those games where Head Coach Todd Richards couldn’t fault the effort. And really, he hasn’t had the chance to be angry with a Wild performance since maybe the 1-0 loss in Phoenix back on February 5.

“Guys played hard all the way to the end,” said Richards. “I’m proud of the way the guys battled. We stuck with it to the end, but we just came up a little short.”

You lose Koivu to a hand injury and you lose Brodziak for the first time in his Wild career. Someone would have to step up in this game, and tonight it was Brent Burns. Without looking at the stats, I think he might have played 40 minutes and put 10 shots on goal.

Hold on, let me do some fact checking…okay, he actually played 21:58 with three shots on goal, but he was all over the place tonight. Half the time you saw him, he was at or beneath the hash marks looking to create something, which he did often.

In the waning seconds of the middle period, Burns ended a 13-game skid without a goal by sniping a wrist shot off a Matt Cullen faceoff win on the power play. The goal was Burns’ 15th of the season, which tied his career-high, which is also the team record for tallies by a defenseman.

Eric Nystrom, who scored the other Wild goal tonight, doesn’t do things the easy way. He’s a gritty guy that likes to do things the hard way, because as the sign that hangs over the player tunnel to the Xcel Energy Center ice says, “It’s the hard that makes it great.”

After all, the guy scored his first goal in a Wild uniform with an empty net, but made sure to put his shot off the post just to make things interesting. Tonight, he scored his third goal of the season, and once again, he had to make it difficult. From the corner, he battled his way to the front of the net using one hand on his stick. When he got to the crease, he offered one more diving, one-armed pokecheck that flipped the puck between the legs of Jonathan Bernier.

Fool Nik Backstrom once, shame on you. Fool him twice…well, that almost never happens. But Wayne Simmonds found a way. The big winger scored the first two Los Angeles goals from almost the same spot on the ice to almost the same spot in the net. Both wicked wrist shots came from the high slot between the two circles and both beat Backstrom on the blocker side, ringing off the post and in.

And finally, O-M-G! Did you see Taylor Swift was at the Wild game tonight? And did you see who she was with? It was Chord Overstreet from Glee! I didn’t even know they were together! I think she could do so much better. She’s so much more famous than him! Can you imagine what Jake Gyllenhaal is thinking right now? Do you think they both love the Wild? I’m totally freaking out! ROTFL!
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