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 5-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks.
Comebacks in the final minute are nice, but I’m betting the fans inside Xcel Energy Center will take 5-1 maulings of the Vancouver Canucks over last second heroics any day of the week.
Really for the first time since the home opener, this one really wasn’t in doubt. After falling behind early, the Wild put on a display in all facets. The offense was relentless in putting in five goals on 45 shots. And if not for the goaltending of Cory Schneider, this one would have been even more lopsided. Pierre-Marc Bouchard
got his first of the year while Guillaume Latendresse
and Marco Scandella
both bagged their second. Matt Cullen
continued to roll from there, picking up his fifth and sixth goals in the third period.
“I think offensively we took another stop tonight,” said Head Coach Mike Yeo. “And hopefully this is something we can build on.”
It wasn’t the Red Wings, and it wasn’t a nail biter, but that didn’t stop Josh Harding
from turning in another brilliant performance. Just like Tuesday’s game in Detroit, Harding yielded an early one and then shut the door completely the rest of the way. That’s two goals allowed over his last three starts – all wins.
These performances are only going to further the media speculation of a goalie controversy, but really there is no controversy. Niklas Backstrom
is still the starter, but Harding is the hottest goalie on the planet right now. If he gives up a goal or less in every start, then yes, he’s probably going to be the guy most nights. But what’s most important now is who starts on Saturday against St. Louis.
As it stands now, it’d be pretty surprising if it’s not Harding.
“Haven’t thought of that one yet,” said a smiling Yeo.
Yeo wants dirty goals. He wants those garbage tallies off scrambles in front of the net. He wants tips. He wants ugliness. But pretty goals and rocket slap shots count for just as much as slam dunks, so I think Yeo will take what he got tonight. It started with Latendresse’s ridiculous dangle around Kevin Bieksa before sneaking in a pretty backhand from in tight.
Then, Bouchard and Scandella just blew a couple slap shots top shelf past Schneider. Cullen decided to get into the act with another beauty, ignoring a sliding defender and Cory Schneider by roofing one from in tight.
Just to make his coach happy, Cullen bagged one more, and this one was the kind of greasy, go-to-the-net and get the rebound goal the coach wanted to see.
There! You happy?
There’s always going to be some shenanigans when the Canucks come to town and the score gets out of hand. Nobody bit anyone, so that’s a good start. But near the end of the game, Cal Clutterbuck
got into a scuffle with Keith Ballard and Maxim Lapierre in front of the Canucks bench.
After Kyle Brodziak
yanked Ballard off the pile, Lapierre tried to dump Clutterbuck into the bench while a linseman tried to separate the two. Trying to defend himself, Cal’s hand caught the linesman in the face, leading to immediate YouTube viral videos of the incident.
It’s pretty obvious it was accidental, and I don’t think you’re going to see any discipline for an accidental hit in self defense while losing balance.
Will we ever get the chance to heckle Roberto Luongo again? Don’t get me wrong, tonight was fun. But it’s always more fun to watch Luongo make that skate from crease to bench while tapping his replacement’s pads. And no, it didn’t get old when it happened repeatedly during last year’s playoffs.
But Luongo has been so bad at Xcel Energy Center, and Cory Schneider has been so good, I fear Bobby Lou may have played his last game in this building. That means you’re going to have to get here pretty early from now on if you want to give him the business. That’s what three Boston Bruin fans did as they hung out above the Vancouver players tunnel during warmups with a sign that said, “THANKS FOR THE CUP.”
That’s good fun.