Following Wild games, occasionally Digital Media Coordinator Kelly Erickson will give the Five Takeaways that she'll remember from the contest. Tonight, she looks back at a 5-4 loss to the New York Islanders:
Initially it seemed like a sweet homecoming for the Wild, jumping out to a 3-0 lead. But the game took a sour turn as the Islanders came back with five goals, outlasting the Wild 5-4.
Much like the Wild’s last outing, the team had no problem putting the puck in the back of the net and showing its depth. Similar to Friday night in Winnipeg, four different Wild players netted a goal: Ryan Suter, Jonas Brodin, Nino Niederreiter and Justin Fontaine. Once again it was the offensive output the Wild has been looking for, but it ended up not being enough tonight.
Tonight two players were up against their former organizations: Niederreiter and Cal Clutterbuck, who were swapped for each other last summer. While Clutterbuck got a warm welcome from the Xcel Engery Center crowd, Niederreiter showed his old squad just what he’s capable of, netting a goal, picking up an assist and laying four hits in the contest. Early in the second, Niederreiter gathered a pass from Mikko Koivu at the right faceoff dot and walked into the slot. He fired and beat Islanders netminder Kevin Poulin stick side for a 3-0 lead at the time.
Niederreiter wasn’t the only top-liner with a multi-point game. Captain Koivu picked up two assists on the night, feeding Nino and Brodin. The assists marked career numbers 300 and 301 for the forward for his 99th career multi-point effort.
At the beginning of the season the Wild was looking to keep its defensive-minded game, but with the added hope of more offense from the blue line. Tonight the top pair came through on the offensive end as each Brodin and Suter netted a goal.
Suter put the Wild on the board first as he picked up a rebound in the slot and sent it into the back of the net for his first of the season. Brodin followed suit, firing a shot from high in the slot through traffic. The goal gave the Wild a 2-0 lead at the time and marked Brodin’s seventh goal of the season. The young defenseman was also the last blueliner to net a tally for the Wild, with the lone goal in San Jose Dec. 12.
It’s not uncommon to see the Wild’s fourth line center drop the gloves. Although tonight it wasn’t Zenon Konopka who participated in some extra-curriculars, rather it was Torrey Mitchell.
Mitchell, who played center for the first time this season, threw down with New York winger Colin McDonald in the first period, showing some serious skills worthy of a boxing ring. The bout was only the fourth of his career and second in a Wild sweater.
Beyond the fight, Mitchell also picked up an assist, his seventh of the year, on Suter’s goal for his second point in as many games.
If you ever read the Five Takeaways before, you know we’re pretty into pointing out big milestones for the Wild players (see Take 2). Well tonight, the entire organization hit a huge one as the 10 millionth fan was in attendance. It’s a mark that the Wild would never have reached if it weren’t for its loyal fans all throughout the State of Hockey.
Emily Gebhart was honored at the 10 Millionth Fan during the second intermission with a custom jersey, a team-signed stick, and a few ticket packages to upcoming games. Gebhart was one of a 18,851 sellout crowd, totaling 10,005,259 fans that have watched the Wild play in Saint Paul.