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 6-5 shootout win over the Chicago Blackhawks.
I don’t know about you, but I never doubted the Wild’s chances for a second. I could probably come up with 25 Takeaways but I’m struggling to fine one. Considering the opponent and the situation, the Wild’s 6-5 shootout win wasn’t just the best comeback in Wild history. It has to go down as the best regular season win in Wild history. There is no debate.
National Hockey League teams rarely come back from four-goal deficits in the third period. And they don’t do it against the best teams in the Conference. The Wild did it.
This was the kind of game that had the biggest crowd of the season (19,310) shaking their heads and laughing. And, a lot of those people were the same that booed the Wild off the ice after the second.
Just a ridiculous comeback. Surreal. Unbelievable. Ludicrous. This is why we love hockey, and that’s why this team has won so many people over. Okay, I think I’ve done enough rambling with clichés, but that’s the kind of game this was.
I think the best way to describe it is that if you were a fan at this one, you immediately called someone to tell them you were there.
For us Wild employees in the Al Shaver Press Box, the best part of a huge Wild comeback is not the delirious crowd celebrations or the looks on the Wild players’ faces. It’s a little tradition that Wild radio guru Kevin Falness started on Opening Night when the Wild rallied from a three goal third period deficit to beat the Anaheim Ducks.
Knowing the intensity of Star Tribune beat writer Mike Russo when he’s writing his game story, Falness will be sure to touch base with him to see how things are going during the third period rally. Tonight, Falness shot him a quick note with about five minutes left in the third to see how things were going and if there was anything he could do. Believe it or not, Russo’s response was unprintable on this site, and certainly not on “Russo’s Rants.”
Give a huge amount of credit to Josh Harding
, who was sporting his brand new
mask, which paid homage to the Great Ottawa Fire that destroyed his previous mask. Harding came in relief of Nik Backstrom to start the third. It looked like a move to give Hards some time to see some rubber, and to prevent Backstrom from getting further singed.
As it turned out, Harding had to come up huge, especially in the overtime and eight-round shootout. He only gave up one goal in eight shootout attempts, and that goal was off the stick of Kane. That meant that he stopped Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa, Kris Versteeg, and Patrick Sharp, among others. I joked to those sitting beside me that with Harding’s luck, he’ll be saddled with the loss. That seemed to happen many times in past years. Not this time. He earned this win in a 13-save effort.Guillaume Latendresse
. This guy can play. Two more goals tonight. Three goals in the two games against the Blackhawks this week. Tied the game with 1:33 left. Has 10 shots on goal in the last two games. Four hits tonight. But where was he on that shootout opportunity. He missed the net! Trade him.
I’ll make this prediction: the Blackhawks will not go into a tailspin because of this. They are too good. Through 40 minutes, they made this game look too easy. Every pass hit a stick. Every scoring chance was converted. They just did so many things right. They looked like a Stanley Cup contender, and they still are.
No matter the outcome, fans were going to get their money’s worth just seeing the type of hockey the Hawks play. If the Wild was going to win, it would also need to bring that same brand of entertaining hockey, and they did in the third. That makes this one of the most memorable games I’ve ever seen. We’ll remember this one if the Wild fights its way into the playoffs.