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 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes.
Coming up with five things to remember from this one could be a tall order. It was pretty forgettable. The funny thing is, despite an awful first period and a spotty the second, the Wild still had a very good shot at winning this one. I’m not sure what that says about this team. Are they good enough to come close even when they don’t play well? There could be something to that theory seeing as how the Wild really has not been blown out once this season. Or, is there one or more things that are lacking that are preventing the Wild from pulling wins out of these situations? Is there something that can be done to get the Wild to perform in the first period like they do when pushing to tie the game in the third period. If I had the answers to these questions, I’d be rolling in money on a bed a la Demi Moore in Indecent Proposal.
If one player stood out tonight for the Wild, it was Antti “Mittens” Miettinen. He scored a goal and made a beautiful setup of Andrew Brunette’s tally early in the third. Miettinen also hit the post twice on consecutive shots in the second period, and it was a matter of time before he popped one in. Miettinen led Minnesota with five shots on goal.
Danny Irmen made his NHL debut tonight, becoming the first Gopher to wear a Wild uniform since Erik Westrum in 2005. He played 5:28 and recorded one hit. Clearly, he would have hoped for a better start to his NHL career, but as Wild Vice President of Communications and Broadcast, Bill Robertson loves to say, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Irmen did find himself in prime scoring position in the first period on a two-on-one with James Sheppard, but Sheppard’s pass was a bit behind his intended target and didn’t result in a shot on goal.Mikko Koivu
assisted on both Wild goals, which moved him past Brian Rolston into sole possession of fourth place on the team’s all time points list at 204 (61-143=204). It may take awhile before Koivu hits number three only because that position is held by linemate Brunette, who had a goal and an assist tonight, at 230. Unless Koivu quits passing to Bruno, and vice versa, that 26 point deficit is going to stay pretty much the same for awhile.
It wasn’t just the Wild who had a tough night. The officials had a few suspect whistles in this one, most notably on a slashing call on Owen Nolan. Sami Lepisto snapped his stick in half on an attempted breakout pass, but Nolan was given a slashing call despite never coming close to making contact. On the ensuing power play, the Coyotes broke a scoreless tie, but Todd Richards refused to blame the loss on that, and Nolan said mistakes happen. “From his angle, he thought that I broke the stick,” said Nolan. “You know, he told me he was wrong at the beginning of the second.”