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 4-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche.
How does one explain the Minnesota Wild’s 4-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Friday night? It’s one thing if the home team doesn’t show up to play and lays an egg. It’s completely another to thoroughly dominate a division rival in a crucial game and come up with bupkus. To use perhaps the most overused cliché in hockey, “the Wild just didn’t get the bounces.” It’s true, though.
If this game hadn't been a loss to the evil Avs, it almost would have been funny. Marco Scandella
missed out on his first NHL goal by putting a laser slap shot off the post. Cal Clutterbuck
, the pebble in Colorado’s skates, rang one off the crossbar in the second period. Kyle Brodziak
had 44 scoring chances and missed by millimeters every time.
Meanwhile, the Avs overcame 33 Wild shots and mustered just 17 but found the net four times. The first two goals were legitimate snipes. The third was a nightmare, and the fourth was a case of blind luck…something that eluded the Wild for 60 minutes.
“Disappointed by the result, but I felt for 60 minutes we played a decent game,” said Head Coach Todd Richards. “We needed a little bounce there."
Ahem, about that third goal. Anton Khudobin even said it yesterday following the Wild’s practice. "You can't play every game and give up just one goal or two goals and with 35 shots,” he said. But that’s all we knew from Khudobin. After all, he came into a precarious situation last season and turned in a 38-save performance in a 2-1 win over Philadelphia.
Khudobin gave up two goals in the first period tonight, both coming on snipes by Kevin Porter and Milan Hejduk. Of course, everybody’s going to remember the goal that Khudobin gave up in the second when a bouncing, fluttering floater sent into the zone by Tomas Fleischmann fooled the Wild keeper and skipped between his arm and body.
Khudobin slumped. The crowd groaned. And meanwhile, the three Wild goaltenders that rank higher on the depth chart – Niklas Backstrom
, Josh Harding
and Jose Theodore – watched from the player’s lounge along with PR guru, Aaron Sickman. Immediately, the three began telling each other stories about nightmare goals they’ve let in.
The goal didn’t happen because Khudobin is a young AHL-er. The goal happened because every goalie is going to allow one of those in their career.
On to a much prettier goal. Back when the Wild opened the season in Finland, Mikko Koivu
pulled off a remarkable move against Carolina when he spun a 360 behind the net and nearly stuffed one in past Cam Ward. It was so cool, Wild.com used it as a nominee for the week’s Top Plays, even though it didn’t result in a goal.
Tonight, Koivu pulled off the same move, and this time, Andrew Brunette was there to bang home the centering pass. The Wild has mustered two goals in the last two games, and both have been the result of dazzling plays by the Wild captain.
There was a lot of hype coming into this game, and Wild.com was certainly one of the avenues to pump this game up as a potential brouhaha. It seemed like a foregone conclusion after the words exchanged by the two sides in the media after a chippy game in Denver on December 23.
As so often happens when there’s a ton of buildup, not a lot of shenanigans took place. The Avs even put David Koci in the lineup for just the third time since that meeting, but there wasn’t much bad blood displayed other than a few skirmishes in the corner.
If you’ve ever been to a Wild game, give yourself a pat on the back, or better yet, buy yourself a back massage. You’ve earned it. Thanks to you, the Wild surpassed the 8,000,000 fan mark tonight with a sellout crowd of 18,218. Sure, the sellout streak ended this year at 409, but the Wild has sold out nine games this season and upped the total to 417.