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 2-1 overtime win over the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday.
Todd Richards said there “were a lot of different emotions and extremes” in the Minnesota Wild’s 2-1 overtime victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday night. He talked about the Wild’s great first period, and a so-so second and a third in which the Ducks took the play to the home team. But you could see on his relieved face that the prevailing emotion was elation after Antti Miettinen converted in overtime for his first career game-winner.
Richards is still looking for more complete efforts from his players, saying his team played “30 minutes” of good hockey. But here at Five Takeaways, we take the Stanley Cup is half full of champagne approach, and say that if this team can dominate for 30 minutes, there’s proof that they can do it for a full 60. And once this team does it every night, the wins won’t be in overtime, but over before the second period!
So who gets the game puck tonight? Miettinen, who delivered his first career overtime game-winner to vault the Wild into a tie for sixth place in the Western Conference with Chicago and San Jose? Or Marco Scandella
, who registered his first career NHL point by beautifully leading a rush, going deep into the Anaheim zone and putting a perfect centering feed to Mittens for the set up?
I’m going with Scandella, for the reasoning that him just being on the ice in overtime shows how good he’s been in his three-game NHL career. After a shaky first game, he was excellent in a win over Tampa, and was again ultra solid tonight. Richards said he was one of the team’s best defensemen in another solid effort by the blueline corps.
Now, Richards and staff have a decision to make. Brent Burns comes off his two-game suspension now, and the Wild suddenly has eight eligible d-men. Scandella and Justin Falk
both played well tonight. Who comes out? Some may call for Cam Barker, but I didn’t see many holes in his game tonight, either.
I’m getting bored with writing about how good Niklas Backstrom
has been, and all you need to do is look at his numbers for evidence, rather than read my drivel: 8-4-2, 1.90 GAA and a .938 SV%. At home: 6-2-1 with a 1.53 GAA and a .950 SV%. Those are some stupid numbers. Vezina numbers!
But Backstrom is a modest fellow, and he’ll be the first to say that he is able to see a lot more shots this year due to a concerted effort of defensemen to clear traffic. It helps to have some big boys doing the lifting like Falk, Scandella and Burns. Even Randy Carlyle, who I imagine would have a hard time complimenting Michelangelo’s work on the Sistine Chapel, took notice.
“If you look at some of the chances we had, we didn’t have a second chance where we didn’t have traffic,” he said. “He got to see a lot. Most goaltenders in this league, they say ‘give me a chance to see it, and I like my chances of stopping it.’ We didn’t have enough traffic, and didn’t get enough second and third opportunities.”
I thoroughly enjoy a victory over the Ducks. I don’t know if it dates back to how chippy and arrogant they were during the 2006 playoffs. I don’t know if it’s because Carlyle always looks like he wants to give the finger to a litter of puppies. I don’t know what it is. In my mind, a Wild win over the Ducks ranks just behind a Wild victory over the Canucks and just in front of the UMD Bulldogs winning the 2011 Men’s National Hockey championship (these rankings are subject to change).
There is a rule in the Al Shaver Press Box where I sit during games, that says, “no cheering.” When that puck bounced in off of Miettinen, I gave a Guillaume Latendresse
-style fist pump that would have knocked out Pacquiao.
Finally, are we witnessing another Martin Havlat November resurgence? Marty picked up his second goal of the season, giving him eight points (2-6=8) in his last seven games. Last year, the goals took a long time to come as well. He didn’t score his second goal at home until January 11. He’s got two this year, and there seems to be a jump in his step that we saw for the better part of the season’s second half last year.