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Glen Andresen's Five Takeaways at Winnipeg

by Glen Andresen / Minnesota Wild

Dec. 8: at Los Angeles

Dec. 6:
at San Jose

Dec. 4:
at Anaheim

Dec. 2:
vs New Jersey

Nov. 30:
at Edmonton
Following Wild games, Managing Editor Glen Andresen will give the five takeaways that he'll remember from each contest. Tonight,he shares his five takeaways from a 2-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets:

If the Atlanta Thrashers played games like this every night, maybe the team would still be playing in the Deep South. Maybe not. Perhaps the Winnipeg Jets and Minnesota Wild played tonight’s thriller because they were in Winnipeg. The fact that the Jets won this game, 2-1 and snapped the Wild’s seven-game win streak seemed irrelevant as the Wild departed MTS Centre.

There was so much action in this one. An abundance of drama. Ridiculous saves at both ends. Scoring chances seemingly every minute.

Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo wasn’t overly excited with his team’s play. But hockey fans that saw this game were thrilled with what they saw. These kinds of games are what make hockey so fun to watch. And this was a game in mid-December between two teams that aren’t even in the same conference…yet.

“You could see the two teams don’t like each other," said Head Coach Mike Yeo. "I’m sure the next one (Feb. 16) will be very interesting as well. They seem to want to get involved in a lot of scrums after the whistle, so the next time we play against them, I’m anticipating a pretty exciting game as well.”

How often do you hear from everybody you know about how great a movie is that you haven’t seen? Everyone tells you to go see it. It wins all kinds of awards. The cast is star-studded. Then you watch The King’s Speech and you wonder what all the fuss is about.

I had the same expectation as people kept telling me how great the crowd would be inside They lived up to the billing. MTS.

The building is small. The fans were hockey-starved. They’re Canadian, so they know the game.

I get all that, but I was still blown away. The atmosphere from start to finish was electric. The fans instinctively knew the right reaction to every play (with the exception of one which I will mention later). Even when they were furious about a Dustin Byfuglien goal being waved off due to interference, they seemed to calm down when they were shown the replay that seemed to verify the refs made the correct call.

Yes, this game gave fans a lot to cheer about, but I have a feeling that most games in Winnipeg are like this. When the schedule comes out, you’ll have three chances to see the Wild play in Manitoba. Do yourselves a favor and book a road trip. The atmosphere inside will more than make up for the temperature outside. 

That one play that the fans reacted poorly too happened in the closing minutes of the game. Zach Bogosian drove Pierre-Marc Bouchard face first into the boards, drawing a five-minute major. The fans booed the call relentlessly. They should have been booing their own player.

This play was ugly, as was the result. Bouchard was bleeding profusely from his face. And we all know about his concussion issues in the past. It was an awful scene to witness, and the only blemish in an otherwise fantastically played game.

Side note: Bouchard was brilliant all game long.

Niklas Backstrom was jaw dropping in his performance tonight. Ondrej Pavelec was nearly, if not equally fantastic. The only reason this game wasn’t 9-8 was because of the two men in their respective creases.

In the wild second period, every time one team gained the zone, there was a scoring chance. There were so many saves made that would have made one say “he didn’t have a chance on that” had the puck gone in the net.

That said, of the three goals that were scored, they didn’t have a chance.

The lone Wild goal scorer was the guy that nobody expected to see in the lineup tonight, including Guillaume Latendresse himself. The Wild brought the minimum number of healthy forwards to Winnipeg, but they brought Latendresse so he could practice with the team during the morning skate.

Matt Cullen fell ill and the Wild wasn’t going to be able to get a player in from Houston in time. That meant Latendresse’s return was expedited.

Yeo said his power forward would be “eased” into the lineup, but might see increased time as the game went on. That came true, and Latendresse earned that time.

Not only did he punch in a loose puck on a second period power play, but he was a force down low on several shifts.

The Wild is expected to call up a player tomorrow. Whether that’s to give Latendresse a night off remains to be seen. He didn’t look like he needed a night off by the way he played tonight.
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