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 5-1 loss to the Nashville Predators
Apparently there’s a reason the Nashville Predators are fourth in the Western Conference and leading that massive pack of teams that have been battling for positioning over the past month. The Predators are good. In fact, it seems like you could dress up 20 guys from Argentina's Olympic hockey team and Barry Trotz would still find a way for his team to win games.
Look at the guys that scored goals for the Preds tonight: David Legwand (4th), Joel Ward (5th), Nick Spaling (3rd and 4th) and Marcel Goc (8th). Shockingly, none of those household names were selected for the NHL All-Star Game at the end of the month. Doesn’t matter. The Predators must get brutally punished for making mistakes because it’s tough to think of one gaffe by a player with a prehistoric cat on his chest tonight.
After a very solid first period, the Wild gave up one of those goals that haunt. Jose Theodore, who carried the Wild during a four-game win streak, made a pad save on a long shot by Kevin Klein (not the actor who played Luc Tessyier in “French Kiss). Theodore appeared to have things under control, but he swatted the rebound right onto the stick of former Wild Joel Ward.
It didn’t seem like that would matter, because the Wild dominated the remaining 19 minutes of the period. Unfortunately, when facing the Predators, teams must take advantage of spells when they control, because the Preds don’t make many mistakes. They wait for the opponent to do that, and that’s eventually what did the Wild in during the final stanza.
The Wild’s only goal came in the first period, and was dwarfed by the end when the Predators pulled away. But it was one of those goals that make you hit the rewind button on your DVR, even though the replay will be coming shortly. At the end of a penalty kill, John Madden rushed up the ice before losing control of the puck inside the Nashville blue line. That’s were Mikko Koivu
picked up the puck, swooped low in the zone and then make a quick deke before flipping a backhand just inside the far post. One goal in the week so far, but already we’ve got us a Top Play of the Week nominee.
Theodore was pulled after allowing a fourth goal, which came off a scramble in the crease. The end of his night meant the beginning of Anton Khudobin’s 2010-2011 NHL season. Khudobin came in to stop four out of five shots.
While it’s always nice to have the bubbly Khudobin around, it sounds as though Niklas Backstrom
won’t miss too much time. Backstrom met with a specialist in Vail, Colorado yesterday and the diagnosis is a hip flexor strain, which is more an irritation than anything. The hip flexor is still in tact, which was the big concern. Backstrom has been ordered to rest for the next four to five days and then see how the symptoms are.
And finally, despite the day ending with a thud, it was a memorable one for Brent Burns who was selected to play in the 2011 NHL All-Star Game. Seeing the progression of Burns from fun-loving, raw and gangly 18-year-old to a fun-loving, polished and dominant defenseman has been a pleasure. In addition to his goals, Burns has provided so many memorable moments, such as his fight in the 2007 playoffs when he pummeled Corey Perry. Or, his destruction of the Rangers when he flattened two players that tried to drill him against the boards. And, there are his many quotes, including the answer last year to a question about whether or not he was in game shape after coming back from injury. “I could wash your shirt on my abs,” he said with a straight face.