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 4-3 overtime win over the Philadelphia Flyers.
Count the Minnesota Wild’s 4-3 overtime victory over the Philadelphia Flyers as one of the weirdest games of the season. There was an abysmal start for the Wild, some crazy goals and of course, some ridiculous non-calls from the zebras. But when all was said and done, the Wild scored an improbable two points by rallying from a 3-1 third period deficit. It was the first time that Minnesota came from two goals down to win a road game since trailing the Colorado Avalanche 2-0 back on November 28. The Wild won that one in a shootout, 3-2.
Tonight’s win was the Wild’s fifth after trailing by two goals, and it now has seven wins when trailing after two periods.
“A lateral back-pressure or blind-side hit to an opponent where the head is targeted and/or the principal point of contact.”
That is the exact wording of the new rule that was implemented today by the NHL and the NHLPA in an effort to curb headshots. So, on a night that was tabbed as “Brain Injury Awareness Night” at Wachovia Center and that started with the Jumbotron showing a pregame video that led off with Mike Richards’ hit on Florida’s David Booth (which would now be considered illegal), it had to happen that there would be a hit that would match the new rule, word for word.
That hit was delivered in the third period by Ian Laperriere on Kyle Brodziak
, well after the Wild center had flipped the puck out of his own zone. Laperriere hit Brodzy at full speed drilling Brodziak from the blindside and making direct contact with the side of his head. It should go without saying that there was no call on the play. It was the same story two minutes later when Daniel Carcillo blatantly drilled Guillaume Latendresse
from behind sending him headfirst into the boards.
The only bright side to Carcillo’s hit was seeing the reaction of Casey Wellman. The brand new rookie wasted no time and went after Carcillo without hesitation. It was the latest impressive showing by Wellman, who was the most noticeable Wild player for the first two periods.
Part of it may be the energy of a youngster looking to impress, but Wellman is utilizes his speed all over the rink, and he never backs down from contact. One play that really sticks out was at the end of a second period shift. The Wild turned the puck over in the Philly zone. Wellman was somewhat close to his bench, but rather than go off for a change, he put his head down and sprinted back to the defensive zone. When Niklas Backstrom
gloved a shot, Wellman could be seen looking up at the ceiling in exhaustion. The look on his face was priceless when he saw Backstrom play the puck, but Wellman did have enough time to get to the bench for a change.
For the first time this season, Minnesota was without the services of Mikko Koivu
, who is dealing with an arm injury and won’t play tomorrow in Detroit. Despite the win, Koivu’s absence was noticeable. All of the things he does – win faceoffs, kill penalties, control the power play – were noticeably absent. But the Wild was able to overcome that with a concerted effort from everybody in the third period.
I’m not sure if Laperriere is the biggest villain in Wild history, but he has to be up there in the top five, correct? You’ve got Matt Cooke, Jarkko Ruutu, Brad May, Todd Bertuzzi, Sheldon Souray, Tyson Nash and a few others that are in contention. But I’m not sure any of those players tried to drag Marian Gaborik into a fight in the final game of the regular season, and I’m fairly certain none of them drilled anyone in the head from the blind-side the day the new rule against such actions was enacted. I think that needs to be an upcoming feature on Wild.com - top five villains.