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 3-2 shootout loss to the Calgary Flames on Friday night.
It’s tough to imagine the Minnesota Wild playing a better or a more entertaining game than they did on Friday night. Alas, the result goes in one of the “L” columns. At least it’s the one where the team still gets a point as the Wild fell to the Calgary Flames in a 3-2 shootout.
When Rene Bourque’s shootout winner zipped through Niklas Backstrom
’s five hole in the third round, it was among the most disappointing sights I can remember seeing this season. Everything was going so well. Pierre-Marc Bouchard
gets his first goal in his second game back. After the Flames take a 2-1 lead in the third, Martin Havlat provided another highlight reel goal
that would be labeled spectacular if he hadn’t already provided a similarly beautiful goal exactly a week ago against Nashville.
There were chances in overtime. There was Patrick O’Sullivan getting a clutch tying goal in the third round in the shootout. It just seemed like a loss was impossible the way things were going. And then along comes Bourque.
In recent days, Head Coach Todd Richards challenged his veterans to lead the way and get the Wild out of its mini-slump. One player he’s not worried about is Havlat.
“Right now, it’s Marty,” said Richards after the game. “Marty is definitely leading the way.”
No kidding. Havlat has a reputation as a finesse player as opposed to a physical player. But in the last month, Havlat can only be classified as a great player. He certainly didn’t shy away from any physical play on his goal when he shook off a check from Mark Giordano before walking in and waiting out Henrik Karlsson before tucking in a backhand.
In case you’re losing track, Havlat now has 19 points in the last 15 games on six goals and 13 assists.
March 10, 2009. That’s the last time we got to see Bouchard celebrate a goal that he put in himself. What’s funny is that of the more than 17,000 people in the building, he might have been the least excited about scoring the goal. After seeing the puck go in off a backhand chip in by Butch
, the crowd went crazy and they got even louder when his name was announced over the public address system for the first time this season.
And that was nothing compared to the excitement shown by his teammates on the ice. Brent Burns bear-hugged the little guy, and Havlat patted him on the head about 40 times. Take it easy guys. That head has some precious cargo, and we’d like to see Butch score quite a few more goals this season.
I’ve got to give a big, huge shoutout to all the Minnesota Wild fans that somehow found their way to Xcel Energy Center tonight. When the puck dropped on this one, the seats looked like a preseason game between the Phoenix Coyotes and Atlanta Thrashers being played in Roswell, New Mexico. Despite some pretty but treacherous driving conditions, Wild fans forged ahead and by the second period, the Xcel Energy Center was nearly filled to capacity with an attendance of 17,130.
Yes, we live in Minnesota and most of us could probably drive in snowy conditions with one foot on the wheel, but Wild fans gave further evidence tonight as to why this is the State of Hockey.
And finally, at the risk of annoying every reader after already talking about this subject today, I want to pay one more final respect to the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center (DECC). I already talked about this in today’s Lighthouse blog, about my memories as a kid in the building that is shutting its doors on WCHA hockey after this weekend’s series between the UMD Bulldogs and the Denver Pioneers.
If you never have been to a game at the DECC, do yourself a favor and head up there tomorrow and do whatever you can to find a way in (the Wild is in Dallas tomorrow so it’s cool as long as you set your VCR to record the game). I was spoiled that I was able to attend hundreds of games there, but it is the ultimate college hockey experience.
Unfortunately, the top-ranked Bulldogs lost to the Pioneers in overtime tonight, thanks to three goals and assist by Wild prospect, Jason Zucker
. See? I somehow was able to relate it to the Wild!