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 4-1 loss against the New York Islanders.
Whether the Minnesota Wild took the 28th ranked NHL team too lightly, or came out flat or was missing too many key players does not matter. What’s important is the final result, which was a 4-1 loss to the New York Islanders. It was a loss that can be overcome, but also one that came at a terrible time. It also marked the second straight game that the Wild came out flat and really didn’t generate much until the third period when it was too late.
With 18 games left, the Wild has to rebound tomorrow night against the New York Rangers. A win at Madison Square Garden puts the Wild in position to control its own destiny. But it must be able to stop a skid quickly, and thus far this season, the Wild has been able to do that.
This game was ugly from a performance standpoint, but the ugliness that people will talk about after this one came from an Islander “player.” Trevor Gillies, who just came off a nine-game suspension for his ridiculous antics in a game last month against the Pittsburgh Penguins. In that game, he blindsided a player into the boards, then sucker punched him on the ice and then trash talked him as he lay on the ice getting medical attention.
Gillies’ display tonight wasn’t much better. After Cal Clutterbuck
hit John Tavares into the boards from behind (a definite boarding penalty), Gillies sprung to action. By action, of course I mean delivering a forearm to Clutterbuck’s head and driving it into the glass.
I’m starting to think nine-game suspensions don’t do much to deliver a message to players that can’t do anything but goon it up.
Tonight’s game was a homecoming of sorts for Eric Nystrom, whose dad, Bob, was an Islander legend and has his number 23 hanging from the Nassau Coliseum rafters. Eric had only made one other visit to Long Island as an NHL player, so his in-season visits to see his family are rare.
Tonight, Eric got the chance to play in front of his dad, who stopped by the Islander TV booth during the first intermission. You can see that interview in which he talks about watching his son right here
There were few bright spots in that dingy building for the Wild tonight. Niklas Backstrom
was chased after allowing three goals. The defense struggled to contain New York’s speedy youngsters. And the offense sputtered for the majority of the first two periods.
The one player that seemed to provide plenty of sparks was Pierre-Marc Bouchard
. He made a pretty pass to set up John Madden’s goal, and he set up several other chances that were snuffed out by goaltender Al Montoya. He and Martin Havlat continue to find each other, which bodes well for a team that needs a couple offensive players to catch fire.
The injury bug is ripping through the Wild at a terrible time. Already without Mikko Koivu
, Guillame Latendresse, Cam Barker and Chuck Kobasew, the Wild got a couple scares tonight. Clutterbuck was down on the ice for an extended period after the Gillies cheap shot. And Andrew Brunette didn’t come out to the ice for the start of the third period due to a facial injury. He eventually would return late in the game, which is good news. The Wild can’t afford to lose anymore key contributors.