Following Wild games, Managing Editor Mike Doyle will give the Five Takeaways that he remembers from the contest. Tonight, he looks back at a 4-3 shootout win against the Arizona Coyotes:
The Minnesota Wild’s power play warmed up in the desert tonight against the Arizona Coyotes. The team scored two power play goals, including the game-tying goal late in the third period.
The team moved the puck well on the man advantage and was able to benefit from the scrambling Coyotes killers. Zach Parise finished on a pretty cross-crease pass from Jason Pominville to send the game into overtime. Parise then scored in the shootout, along with Mikko Koivu, who, surprise, used his patented backhand shelf move. It was a much-needed boost and a much-needed boost of confidence for the team’s PP.
The team needed a complete effort from everyone tonight because the Wild was, once again, shorthanded…
Minnesota was down another top-4 defenseman again tonight, as Jared Spurgeon didn’t play due to an illness. The blueliner had a stomach issue and required IVs. In fact, the Wild only dressed 17 skaters because Ryan Carter missed the game with an upper-body injury, so Stu Bickel skated on the blue line.
With the depleted defensive corps, Ryan Suter (33:47 TOI) and Jonas Brodin (31:54) saw more ice than a penguin in a meat locker. Suter had assists on both of the team’s power play goals, the first by putting the puck on net. In the first period, with the Coyotes on an odd-man rush, Suter was directing his back-checkers, pointing out which players to pick up, and then made the defensive stop. The blueliner is so smart on the ice, that he can direct other players while making his own moves.
The Wild scored a power play marker in the opening period by keeping things simple. Following a good zone entry give-and-go from Mikael Granlund and Nino Niederreiter, the Finn slipped the puck to Thomas Vanek behind the net. Before the Coyotes could set up its defensive box, Vanek quickly moved the puck to Suter at the point. The blueliner took no time to rip a low slap shot with Granlund and Niederreiter going to the net. The Swiss wing redirected the puck past Coyotes goaltender Devan Dubnyk.
The redirection was Niederriter’s team-leading 13th tally of the season. The big wing used his frame to establish position on Arizona forward Brandon McMillan, but kept his hands free and made a perfect deflection past Dubnyk.
Jason Zucker’s favorite superhero is Superman, but if there were a comic book character comparison it would be difficult to align him with anyone other than the Flash. The wing showed his wheels again tonight on his breakaway goal in the second period.
From his own end, Jason Pominville whipped a two-zone outlet pass to Zucker at the far blue line. It was a 50-50 puck between the Wild wing and Arizona defenseman Tobias Rieder. Zucker pulled away from Rieder like he was dragging the Incredible Hulk along with him. In desperation, Rieder slashed at Zucker, but the forward maintained focus like Professor Charles Xavier, made a backhand move and roofed the puck past Dubnyk.
You might’ve noticed a preponderance of comic book character references in that last take. Well, Comicon was at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale this weekend, so the Fan Fest might’ve rubbed off on me. With a 6 p.m. game time locally, the Wild didn’t have a morning skate, so WildTV went over to the event and asked some of the role players some questions. They were friendly and, while knowing absolutely nothing about the Wild or hockey, were gracious in answering all of our questions.
Comicon fans are very similar to sports fans, actually. They both enjoy going to events with like-minded people. They have their favorite characters, like sports fans have their favorite players. A lot of people probably think it's weird to dress up like a wizard or comic book character, but I wonder if Comiconers think it’s weird for sports fans to buy a jersey with another person’s name on it? Okay, I think we just got a little too deep in the Takes, let’s get out of here before we rip a hole in the space-time continuum.