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 3-2 shootout win against the Vancouver Canucks:
The Wild knew it would have its hands full tonight as Vancouver came into the game on a seven-game win streak. Despite facing a one-goal deficit throughout most of the night, Minnesota never gave up and was never out of the game, undoubtedly a cathexis towards the contest. The Wild battled back to eventually force shootout decision, in which the Wild walked away with the extra point, 3-2, thanks to a Jason Pominville shootout goal.
After falling behind on two separate occasions, the Wild fought back. Zach Parise got the Wild on the board first, netting a power play goal back door on Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo, off a feed from Mikko Koivu. The power play tally marked Vancouver’s first power play goal-against in eight games, ending a streak of 20 straight penalty kills.
The second time, it was Charlie Coyle who had the magic touch. Koivu carried the puck into the zone with Parise driving in the slot and Coyle trailing along the right boards. Coyle picked up a pass from Koivu at the right face off dot and snuck a wrist shot past Luongo to make it 2-2.
Luongo’s numbers at Xcel Energy Center haven’t been what one would call impressive. Heading into tonight, the Canuck held a 3-9-2 record in Saint Paul with a 3.56 goals-against average and a .873 save percentage in 14 starts. He was pulled in his last three starts and allowed at least five goals in those contests — the most recent one of which was on Oct. 19, 2010.
Tonight was a different story. Luongo made 30 saves on 32 shots faced through 65 minutes of play. In the shootout he allowed the lone, game-deciding goal. He frustrated the Wild and the Xcel Energy Crowd making seemingly impossible saves throughout the night. That effort included what looked like a game-winner off a Scandella shot on a 2-on-1 in overtime on a sliding save across the crease.
Many Wild players have passed individual milestones already this season and Nino Niederreiter was the latest one to hit a career benchmark as tonight marked his 100th NHL game.
El Nino continued to be a big, physical presence for Minnesota. Beyond wracking up three hits — he is second on the the Wild with 82 — he showed his strength in the second as he handled the puck with one hand and held off Vancouver defenseman Dan Hamhuis with the other.
With many Olympic hopefuls and several locks on the Wild’s roster, the State of Hockey is familiar with some of the World’s top hockey players. Tonight it got to meet a few more as the USA Women’s National Team took in the action at Xcel Energy Center.
Several players from the team opened up play with “Let’s Play Hockey” including former Golden Gophers Megan Bozek, Gigi Marvin, Lee Stecklein and Anne Schleper. Gopher Amanda Kessel is also currently on the roster, looking to make the cut for the Olympics. While the team took the night off to enjoy some cross-border hockey, it’ll take over Xcel Energy Center Saturday Dec. 28 against its biggest rival: Team Canada.
It’s no secret Nordy is a mischievous mascot and tonight he was up to his usual antics.
In the second period, Nordy made his way down to the glass next to the Canucks bench and revealed his own version of the Canucks’ famous green men. Not only did he don a green onesie, Nordy did some scandalous hip circles right in front of Vancouver’s backup netminder Eddie Lack who was sitting on the end of the bench. For a full look, watch the video below.
That wasn’t all. After a quick change, Nordy was out on the ice in the second intermission to spread some holiday cheer. Sitting in a mini-Zamboni he was dressed in a full Santa Claus outfit: red suit and full white beard.
Check the vid: