Typically 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 5-2 win over the Dallas Stars on Hockey Day Minnesota:
Best…Hockey Day Minnesota…Ever. And I say that even though my Duluth East Greyhounds took a beating from Minnetonka in a 9-3 drubbing in a matchup of the top two teams in the state in Class AA.
But I didn’t think anything could top the ending to last year’s Hockey Day Minnesota, when Clayton Stoner
clubbed David Backes in an end-of-game fight while the Wild beat up the St. Louis Blues.
But considering that Moorhead’s Matt Cullen
was honored pregame, Eden Prairie’s Chad Rau
made his NHL debut and scored the game-winner, and most importantly, the Wild notching a huge 5-2 victory over the Dallas Stars, this one will be tough to beat.
“Top to bottom, it was a really good game for us tonight,” said Head Coach Mike Yeo.
The Wild came out and brought their absolute best at a time when many wondered if their best had been lost. But a roster shakeup seemed to spark the lineup, as did Steve Ott’s usual thuggery.
Yesterday, four players came up from Houston, and all played tonight. There seemed to be a message sent that no position can be taken for granted, as evidenced by Marek Zidlicky being scratched for the first time this season. The new guys did their thing.
Rau scored. Nate Prosser
was a +1 in 19:43 of ice time. Matt Kassian
and Jed Ortmeyer
hustled and played their roles.
But Ott, who Star Tribune beat writer Mike Russo pointed out on Twitter, is used to fighting Cal Clutterbuck
and sitting on Josh Harding
, may have provided the biggest spark. Tonight, Ott targeted Wild enforcer Jared Spurgeon
, so Darroll Powe
took it upon himself to get into the mix.
Powe didn’t back down when Ott jumped him after Devin Setoguchi
’s second period goal. And he didn’t back down when the two emerged from the box, removed their helmets and went at it again. Of course, Ott kept punching Powe in the face after the two went down to the ice, which breaks “the code.” But I don’t think Ott gives two cents about the code.
But Powe’s willingness to stand up to him seemed to spark the Wild, which went on to do this…
In recent weeks, when the Wild scored a goal to get back in a game, the players seemed deflated if the opposition countered with a goal of their own. Not this time. Dallas took a 2-1 lead shortly after the Setoguchi goal. But just over two minutes later, Clutterbuck, Rau and Kyle Brodziak
scored goals in under a minute.
The three goals in 59 seconds set a franchise record for fastest three goals, breaking the previous mark of 1:41 set on March 25, 2004 against Chicago.
Each goal brought a bigger and bigger eruption from the crowd of 19,213, which is the fourth largest crowd of the season and the 10th largest in franchise history.
Today marked the sixth annual Hockey Day Minnesota, and this one felt different than the previous five. And it has nothing to do with the fact that the outdoor high school games had to be moved indoors due to weather and timing concerns. Rather than an all-out celebration, today was about paying tribute to a young hockey player who is inspiring so many with his courage and attitude after sustaining a devastating spinal cord injury last month.
Jack “Jabs” Jablonski has become a household name inside and outside the State of Hockey. Today, the Wild got the chance to fully throw its support behind this kid, and the team couldn’t have done it without the tremendous generosity from the people who donated money today.
Shortly before today’s telethon to benefit the Jack Jablonski Trust Fun ended at 10:00 p.m., it was announced that more than $120,000 was raised for this great cause, which obliterated the hoped upon amount of $100,000.
It was announced today that next year’s outdoor games would be played at Lake Pokegama in Grand Rapids. By then, we’ll be ready to celebrate hockey like we have the previous five years, but let’s also remember the story of “Jabs” and hope that accidents like this can be prevented in the future. Matt Cullen
was actually playing his 1,005th NHL game tonight, but it was his first at Xcel Energy Center since playing number 1,000 here almost two weeks ago. Prior to tonight’s game, Cullen was honored with a pregame video, a ceremony that featured his wife and three cherubic kids and a silver stick from the National Hockey League. Throughout the game, several current and former teammates of Cullen were shown expressing their congratulations to one of hockey’s good guys.
Here’s a look at the tribute video
, the ceremony
, and some of the past and present teammates
, complete with some good-natured ribbing.
Cullen certainly seems to be able to rise to the moment. He scored a goal in his 1,000th game, and tonight he picked up an assist on a great play to set up Clutterbuck's goal. His efforts earned him the third star of the game behind number one Rau, and number two Heatley.