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 4-2 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes on Wednesday night .
The Minnesota Wild worked too hard to come back from a 2-0 deficit to give up a game-winning goal that they witnessed in Wednesday’s 4-2 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes. The Wild came onto the ice in the third period after going scoreless in the previous five and threw everything they could at the Coyotes and Jason LaBarbera. Martin Havlat seemed to have the puck on his stick more than all of the other players in tonight’s game combined. Pierre-Marc Bouchard
went from being “eased in” on the fourth line to crunch time minutes.
The surge worked. Or it seemed to. The Wild cut the deficit to 2-1 and appeared poised to get the equalizer. Suddenly, a floating shot by Scottie Upshall hit the upper body of Marek Zidlicky and bounced past Jose Theodore. That fluke turned into the game-winner after Mikko Koivu
punched in a Havlat pass with just over a minute to go. But it wasn’t enough. An empty-netter sealed the Wild’s fate for its third straight “L.”
The story tonight win or lose was Bouchard’s return. He hadn’t played in more than a year, but there he was taking his first shift on a Wild power play, which the Wild had for six of the first seven minutes. Bouchard then settled into a regular shift on the fourth line with Eric Nystrom and Brad Staubitz.
Unfortunately, Bouchard was out for the first two Phoenix goals. Fortunately, it appeared he quickly found his rhythm and timing that we were warned may take awhile for him to find. Soon, he was reminding us of good old “Butch,” dancing with the puck, finding open players with crisp passes and nearly burying a couple chances of his own.
Bouchard was held without a point, but provided just the hope Wild fans were looking for when this one started.
Havlat is going. The pucks aren’t going in. By far, he was the most dynamic player on the ice tonight, and yet he had to settle for one assist. When he gets the puck on his stick, he’s making opposing defensemen look like mere gnats that annoy him rather than stand in his way.
But NHL goaltenders are good. Even guys like Jason LaBarbera. He stopped all six Havlat shots, whether they were on the doorstep or wicked backhands.
More from the good news department to brighten up a three-game losing streak. The Wild recorded 35 shots on goal, marking the third straight game that they’ve posted more than 30 shots on goal in a game.
One way to solve goal-scoring woes is crash the net, and that’s exactly what Patrick O’Sullivan did to finally break the wall built by LaBarbera. Showing his speed, O’Sullivan wheeled around the defense and went right to the net to try and stuff one in. The Yotes keeper stopped that, but was forced to the ice and Matt Cullen
cleaned up the garbage for his first even strength goal in a Wild uniform.