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 4-3 win over the St. Louis Blues.
Is December 26 to early in the season for a playoff atmosphere? With the intensity displayed on the ice in this one, it felt like there was definitely something on the line. These two teams were racing up and down the ice and neither team was making many mistakes. Every time the Wild took the lead, the Blues would respond. Every goal that was scored was punctuated with big celebrations from both teams. Every missed scoring chance felt like it was going to be big later in the game. It really was.
Both of these teams are looking like playoff teams at this point. Give the Blues credit for playing a spirited game despite having to fly to Minnesota today after getting home from Western Canada in the wee hours of Christmas Eve after beating Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary. Give the Wild credit for finding a way to beat a team that it was tied with in the standings, and is likely going to be around for the final four three months of the season. Guillaume Latendresse
was the story tonight, bagging two goals including the game-winner. The guy knows how to make room for himself in the red zone, and he knows how to finish. Those are two pretty good qualities in a power forward, who picked up his seventh career two-goal game. Need any further evidence that the trade for him involving Benoit Pouliot was a good one? The Wild is now 11-2-0 since the trade in games that Latendresse has played. G-Lat has now scored four goals in the past four games. Pouliot has zero points in two games played for Montreal.
Minnesota Wild games surrounding Christmas have become well known for their outstanding videos that open the game prior to the teams coming out onto the ice. Rather than wax on about how great it is, why don’t you just click on the link right here
and watch it. And if you have a dial up Internet connection, all I can tell you is to prepare yourselves for the new decade in a week, and get a high-speed line.
In years past, the Wild has generally started off hot and then hit a wall in December. Coming into this year, the most wins the Wild had ever posted in the month of December was eight. The Wild broke that mark tonight with win number nine, and it has three games left to equal the most wins ever in one month. The Wild racked up 10 wins in March of 2007.
Can I actually be upset that Sherriff Shane Hnidy scored a goal? It’s nothing against Shane, but I wanted to come off as some kind of “great hockey mind” by pointing out how great a game he played even though he didn’t show up on the scoresheet. Well, sure enough, in the third period, he did show up on the scoresheet by burying his second goal of the season, and this one was sweet. Hnidy patiently waited for traffic to clog up the front of Chris Mason’s net. When it looked like he was going to make a pass, he rifled a low shot just inside the far post for a goal scorer’s goal.
Seriously, I was going to mention how great Hnidy played even before his goal. You have to believe me. Would I lie to Wild nation? Maybe, but not on Boxing Day.