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 4-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks.
I’d like to think that tonight’s 4-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks would be the last of the season for the Minnesota Wild. I don’t see why the boys couldn’t rattle off wins in their last 25 games, but the oddsmakers would probably disagree. But the Wild will probably be just fine if they can win three out of every four games the rest of the way, which is exactly what they’ve done over the last month. Starting on January 16, the Wild started a pattern of winning three, losing one, winning three, losing one, winning three and then losing tonight.
By my math, which isn’t good, if the Wild kept up that pattern, they’d finish the season with 105 points. That seems like more than enough to get into the playoffs if you ask me.
The Wild generated all kinds of scoring chances among their 29 shots on goal, but only one got past Cory Schneider, who made everybody long for the days of Roberto Luongo. What ever happened to that guy anyway?
But the Wild goal wouldn’t even be considered a scoring chance had it not gone in. But Cal Clutterbuck
is turning these impossible angle goals into a Clutter patent. Down a goal, and on the power play. Clutterbuck got the puck along the goal line and somehow snuck a wicked wrist shot under the crossbar and above the shoulder/back of Schneider. You’d call it luck if you hadn’t seen Cal pull this wizardry off more than a few times this year in racking up 18 goals through 56 games.
Yes, the Canucks were missing a boatload of defensemen, but let’s be realistic. The Nucks are where they are because of the Sedin twins, and what is probably the best second line in the National Hockey League. The Wild did a great job of limiting the opportunities of Ryan Kesler, Mason Raymond and Mikael Samuelsson. But when they got their chances, they converted.
Samuelsson scored the backbreaking goal with 19 seconds left in the second period, and it was Kesler that finished the game with an empty netter. In Minnesota, you’re never allowed to root for the Canucks, but I’ll take solace when it’s that second line that beats you, even if Kesler is a serious agitator. He was a hero on last year’s U.S. Olympic team. Samuelsson seems like a fine fellow. And of course, you have to root for Raymond, who is a former UMD Bulldog. That automatically means he’s good people.
When Peter Forsberg retired for the 23rd time yesterday, I thought we’d seen the end of a talented Swede performing ridiculous acts of diving. Daniel Sedin (I think it was Daniel, but does it really matter?) would have made Forsberg stand and applaud when Clutterbuck crossed paths with him at neutral ice and delivered a light crosscheck to Sedin’s arm. He reacted as though he was shot by a crossbow and went down in a heap, complete with a contorted face.
The incident set off a mini-fracas in which tough guy Alex Burrows grappled with Kyle Brodziak
, earning unsportsmanlike conduct penalties for both. Other than that, this game pretty much went off without incident, which I don’t say very often when the Nucks are in town.
When Kesler sent the puck the length of the ice and into an empty net with 16 seconds remaining, he registered Vancouver’s first shot on goal of the night. It would have been the third time the Wild held an opponent without a shot. Meanwhile, Minnesota put 13 shots on goal in the third period, but the late domination yielded nothing.