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 6-3 loss to the St. Louis Blues.
While it’s going to be difficult me to find the words to describe the way the Minnesota Wild was unceremoniously beaten by the St. Louis Blues on Saturday, I’m guessing there was no shortage of words in the Wild locker room following a 6-3 defeat.
As players were taking questions from members of the media, the coaching staff asked them to leave to allow for a closed-door team meeting. Even if we had access to that meeting, there probably wouldn’t be much fit to print on a G-rated website like Wild.com.
So what can you say, other than the facts? The Wild saw a 2-1 lead turn into a 6-2 deficit by midway through the third period. St. Louis outshot Minnesota by almost a 3-to-1 ratio (47-16). It added up to a disheartening defeat.
The last vision we had of Hockey Day Minnesota on February 12 was the vision of Clayton Stoner
pummeling David Backes and bloodying his face. It capped a thrilling 3-1 victory for the Wild, and appeared to send a message to the Blues that their big boys won’t be enough to intimidate.
The Blues responded this time without the use of fists, and with pure goal scoring and playmaking. Everything the Blues players touched turned to a scoring chance or a goal. They scored pretty goals, and they scored ugly goals. Poor Niklas Backstrom
had 31 saves…after just two periods. He could do nothing about the Blues onslaught, other than drop water weight with how much he had to be sweating during this workout.
It seems like a long time ago when we were celebrating a major milestone by Andrew Brunette. It was less than two months ago when Bruno played his 1,000th career NHL game. Back then, there was a sense of big things to come for this team, which was contending for a playoff berth and rolling right along.
Things are different now, but that shouldn’t tarnish another remarkable achievement by Brunette tonight. In the first period, he made two spectacular passes, first in setting up a Marek Zidlicky goal, with the assist going down as his 700th career point. Later in the period, he made a slick play from behind the goal line to set up Antti Miettinen’s power play marker for number 701. He closed out the night with his third assist on another Miettinen tally.
Brunette didn’t look overjoyed after 702, considering the game was over at that point. And there won’t be a ceremony to honor this achievement, but you have to think there will be another ceremony held for Brunette at Xcel Energy Center somewhere down the line.
There was another milestone achieved tonight, and again, there won’t be a celebration to mark the achievement. With his second blocked shot of the night, Greg Zanon hit the 1,000 blocked shots mark for his career. If there is a ceremony for this, I’m assuming it’s not a silver stick like Bruno received. A silver ice tub might be more appropriate.
I have to admit, I’ve taken the Wild’s winless skid as hard as any of the rabid hockey fans in this great state. But tonight’s outcome stung a little less than any of the previous 31. Just as David Backes was bearing in on Niklas Backstrom
to put the Blues up two, time was running out in the NCAA Men’s hockey East Regional featuring the UMD Bulldogs and the Yale Bulldogs. UMD came away with a 5-3 victory, and will be representing our state and the WCHA at the Frozen Four in St. Paul in two weeks. I am more than a little excited about this.