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 5-3 win over the Nashville Predators.
Since this is called “Five Takeaways” let’s stick with that theme. The Minnesota Wild scored five goals for their fifth straight win to start a five-game road trip and move above the .500 mark for the first time this season. Of course, Star Tribune columnist Patrick Reusse would complain about calling a team .500 because of overtime and shootout losses, but the earth might stop spinning if the big man didn’t have something to complain about.
But how about all the guys with five in their number? Number 5
Kim Johnsson plays in his 700th game. Number 15
Andrew Brunette picks up a goal and assist. Number 25
Eric Belanger picks up an unassisted goal. Number 5
1 James Sheppard notches his first goal of the year. And number 55
Nick Schultz posts an assist on Sheppard's goal.
The bottom line is this is fun. Sure, there are times when the Wild struggles a bit, but right now you get the sense this team can’t do anything wrong, other than give up the first goal every night. But this team really just steamrolled the Predators tonight, and it was nice to see the team pile onto a team and not give them any life.
Last night, the Wild was carried by the Andrew Brunette-Mikko Koivu-Antti Miettinen line, which accounted for all four goals in regulation. Those guys were outstanding again tonight with Bruno and Miettinen both scoring. But other guys really looked good. Martin Havlat was outstanding in picking up a pair of assists. He really seems to be a solid addition to the point on the Wild power play. Sure, the goals aren’t there yet, but it doesn’t matter who is putting the puck in, so long as someone is doing it. James Sheppard was another standout. The guy wasn’t even supposed to play, but Cal Clutterbuck
had to be scratched due to illness and Sheppard was a late addition. He scored his first goal of the season, and crashed the net and used his big body effectively all game long.
I feel like I’m beginning to sound like NFL football announcers talking about Brett Favre whenever I mention Andrew Ebbett, but I love watching this guy play. In addition to his goals, the guy is just a water bug out there on the ice. When a Wild player dumps the puck into the zone, it used to seem like an opposing defenseman was always grabbing it and starting a breakout the other way. Now, that puck hits the backboards and Ebbett always seems to be the guy winning the race to the puck and starting something deep in the offensive zone. I’d just like to acknowledge the Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks for giving up on a speedy center, with good hands, a great work ethic and a good attitude. Those types of players are so overrated.
The Predators were wearing their new third jerseys tonight. They are a deep blue with white trim and that’s it. According to their website, the Predators took an element from each of the Original Six teams. I thought they looked pretty good, but quite frankly, it wouldn’t take much to top their previous third jerseys which were pea soup colored and the laughingstock of all NHL jerseys alongside the Dallas Stars monstrosity from a few years back.
|Yes, these jerseys were worn in NHL games that counted in the standings. |
Derek Boogaard picked up an assist on Ebbett’s goal, which evened the score at 1-1 early in the first period. That’s Boogey’s second assist, which puts him one off his total of three from last season. Of course, what fans want to see is a Boogey goal, and apparently, so does Todd Richards. With the game in hand in the third, Richards had the behemoth out there on the power play. Still no dice, but it is coming. Oh yes, it is coming.