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 win over the St. Louis Blues.
The Minnesota Wild was down a leader before they even hit the ice tonight with Owen Nolan surprisingly out of the lineup with a lower body injury. Fortunately, every other player considered a “leader” in the Wild dressing room picked up the slack in a huge 4-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues.
Andrew Brunette, Mikko Koivu
, Guillaume Latendresse
, Antti Miettinen and Martin Havlat are going to have to be the guys that carry the scoring load for the final 14 games of the season. The first four all lit the lamp tonight, and Havlat was superb in notching two assists.
Speaking of 14 games, that’s how many the Wild has to make up six points on the Detroit Red Wings, currently sitting in eighth place. Scoreboard watching can officially begin.
The big guns carried the offense tonight, but the defense was once again on the shoulders of number two goaltender, Josh Harding
. Or is he number two? Prior to Minnesota’s game against Detroit, Todd Richards said he would need both goalies in order to make a run at the postseason, and if one of them gets hot, that’s the goalie he’ll go with.
Harding appears to be scalding right now. With Backstrom out of the last three games with a lower body injury, the backup started three games in four nights. After a forgettable performance in Detroit on Thursday, Harding followed a 41-save performance in Buffalo with a 36-save performance against the Blues.
And remember when Harding saved the season once by making a diving glove save against Edmonton back on February 4th? He made another potential season saver tonight. With the Wild weathering a late St. Louis charge and holding onto a two-goal lead, the Minnesota keeper came out of nowhere to make a lunging glove save on Brad Boyes off a rebound.
Derek Boogaard played a grand total of 11 seconds today, and that’s not a career-low for ice time. On November 9, 2008, Boogey played three seconds of a game at Nashville.
But he made his presence felt in this one. After a scrum broke out in the first period behind the Wild net, Boogaard and DJ King emerged for a bout. This one was long and it wasn’t close. After a long pose off, Boogey turned King’s helmet into a helicopter and his noggin into a Bobblehead. When the linesmen finally broke up the fight, Boogaard headed straight to the locker room and did not return.
We know the trade of Benoit Pouliot for Guillaume Latendresse
has worked out well for Minnesota, but it appears the trade for Cam Barker is panning out just fine as well. Barker was a +2 with an assist on the first Wild goal tonight. The Bark Dog has now totaled a goal and three assists in eight games with the Wild, and he’s also a +4 during that time.
Finally, congratulations to Blaine’s Nick Bjugstad, this year’s Mr. Hockey Award winner. Even though he’s going to be a Gopher next year, Bjugstad is an impressive individual. I got the chance to interview him for Wild TV
, and I don’t spend many interviews looking up at interviewees. I’m 6-foot-3, but Bjugstad was towering over me.
And the kid is really only old enough to be a junior
in high school. Bjugstad took a slew of online classes in addition to his regular classes at Blaine high school in order to graduate early and start his college career next season. You’ll be hearing his name quite a bit in June as well, as he’s projected to be an early pick in the NHL draft.