Typically 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 shootout loss to the Winnipeg Jets:
Who needs realignment, am I right? I’m sure the fact that the two raucous, hard-fought, spine-tingling, action-packed and chippy games this season between the Minnesota Wild and Winnipeg Jets were just an aberration. That includes tonight’s 4-3 shootout loss to the Jets, which had this building rocking before pregame warmups even started, and easily led to the most entertaining game we’ve seen this season at Xcel Energy Center.
Both teams fed off the energy and provided a spectacle filled with pretty plays, big hits, glorious saves and several scraps. Devin Setoguchi
went goal for goal with Evander Kane for two periods. Darroll Powe
once again stood up for his teammates with a spirited throwdown against Tanner Glass
Yet, the Wild had to settle for a point, despite yet another great effort (I know, I know, we’re tired of hearing that, but it doesn’t mean it’s not true). But this game served its purpose, giving the Wild a legitimate rival, you know, if they could play in the same division.
“I give our guys a lot of credit right now,” said Head Coach Mike Yeo. “Going through a real tough time and I know a lot of other teams wouldn’t handle it the way are guys are right now.”
Three goals isn’t exactly an avalanche of offense, but the Wild will take it as a positive sign, particularly with the way the goals were scored. Devin Setoguchi
scored twice, once because he and Dany Heatley
both crashed the net and Setoguchi was able to tap in a perfect Mikko Koivu
pass. The second came because rather than try to make a pretty play on the power play; he just fired the biscuit through traffic and snuck it through Chris Mason’s legs.
Koivu bagged the third goal because he went to the net. After his initial tip of a Jared Spurgeon
shot was stopped, Koivu stuck with it and banged home the rebound. It was a dirty goal for a team needing more of those.
But of course, there were other chances, and Chris Mason was there to make big stops. He came up with several dazzling saves, none bigger than a sliding pad stop on Nick Johnson
late in the third period.
During his meeting with the media yesterday, Yeo said the Wild "wants people that want to go to war with each other." And no, I don't think Yeo was trivializing actual wars, as he knows that a hockey game is the furthest thing from a real war.
But what we saw tonight was guys wanting to stick up for each other. If you knock one of my teammates down, I'm coming after you. There were a lot of Wild guys doing that tonight, but Powe seems to be the ringleader in all of this. He's the one that stood up to Steve Ott in an earlier meeting with Dallas. And when the refs wouldn't let Cal Clutterbuck
and Jim Slater go following a scrum in front of Mason, Powe went at it with Glass.
Powe might get overshadowed due to his role, but the Wild's coaches and players are well aware of what he does, and what he's willing to do.
Pretty interesting that Jets defenseman Zach Bogosian was not in the lineup tonight due to a “lower body” injury. You might remember Bogosian as the guy who ran Pierre-Marc Bouchard
face first into the boards the last time these two teams met, which was back in December in Winnipeg.
Bouchard, of course, hasn’t been the same since, and it appears he could miss the rest of the season if his concussion symptoms don’t subside soon. As for Bogosian, he just kept right on playing…until tonight.
Bogosian had that lower body injury, but apparently he was feeling fine for the entirety of Winnipeg’s last game on Tuesday night. He saw 18:28 worth of ice time and was out there when the Islanders scored an empty netter in the final minute. Something must have cramped up over the next 48 hours. You don’t think that Bogosian didn’t want to face the music for a dirty play that resulted in a player suffering a serious facial/head injury, do you? That doesn’t seem right, does it?
There’s little to no doubt that a major factor in tonight’s spectacular atmosphere was the infusion of thousands of Jets fans that made the relatively short roadie down from Canada for this one. Prior to the team’s taking the ice, there was a chant of “Go Jets Go” from several areas of the arena.
They taunted Niklas Backstrom
. They danced in the stands. Even as I write this 30 minutes after Evander Kane scored the shootout winner, they’re whooping it up in the concourses.
That just makes it more fun, and it certainly got the Wild fans going as well. The home crowd started its own chants and were hanging on every play and rooting during every skirmish.