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 shootout loss to the Boston Bruins.
With an ill Antti Miettinen joining Brent Burns, Petr Sykora and Pierre-Marc Bouchard
on the unavailable list, you would have thought that it would be the Minnesota Wild playing “rope-a-dope,” hoping for a 1-0 win over the Boston Bruins. In fact, it was the Wild, playing with only 11 forwards and six defensemen that completely limited the Bruins after Boston scored on its first shot of the game. Unfortunately, the Wild just couldn’t solve the red-hot Tuukka Rask, who earned his fourth straight win. Eventually, the B’s skated to a 2-1 shootout victory, but not before the Wild limited them to seven shots through two periods and 14 in regulation.
It was quite a debut for Andrew Ebbett, who scored the lone Wild goal tonight by perfectly redirecting an Owen Nolan pass on the power play. Ebbett was very noticeable with his speed and shiftiness out there. He reminded yours truly of a Richard Park, who was no slouch in a Wild uniform. Ebbett wore number 16 in his debut, putting him in a distinguished class of former Wild legends that wore that number: Steve McKenna, Roman Simicek, Bill Muckalt and Steve Kelly.
Predictably, the Xcel Energy Center crowd worked itself into a lather at the sight of the M & M boys tonight. American League MVP Joe Mauer got a standing ovation when he dropped the opening faceoff for Mikko Koivu
and Robbinsdale native, Blake Wheeler, who no doubt lobbied to take the draw, which is normally performed by team captains. It was then Morneau’s turn to get his due as he belted out the “Let’s Play Hockey” declaration.
Shootouts have definitely been a weak link for the Wild this season. In fact, in four shootouts, Mikko Koivu
is the only Wild player to light the lamp. Koivu scored tonight, but the rest of the team is 0-for-10, and the Wild is now 1-3 in shootouts on the year. The Wild’s other shooters tonight: Eric Belanger, Marek Zidlicky and Chuck Kobasew are now a combined 4-for-25, and all four of those were scored by Zidlicky. It would have helped to have Burns (3-for-8), Sykora (11-27) or Miettinen (6-for-25).
It’s funny how things even out in hockey. The Wild had to kill a penalty for the last 1:41 of regulation, and the first 19 seconds of overtime. The Bruins had two golden chances to win it on that power play, including 48-year (or something near there) NHL veteran Mark Recchi fanned on a wide open net with one second left in regulation. The Wild was paid back with a power play for the final 1:48 and Andrew Brunette swung and missed at a bouncing puck with nothing but a vacated net staring at him.
With that, have a spectacular Thanksgiving tomorrow, and if I can make one suggestion, try at least one “Fork-full Supreme” which is a fork holding a chunk of turkey, dipped in mashed potatoes and gravy with an outer coating of corn attached to the taters. It’s like a Stanley Cup celebration in your mouth.