Following Wild games, Managing Editor Mike Doyle will give the Five Takeaways that he'll remember from each contest. Today, he'll look back at a 3-0 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets:
Don’t call it a comeback, but the Wild returned to form tonight against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The team played a smart road game, like Will Hunting at a Harvard Bar. Apples. Minnesota was powered by two second-period goals on the man advantage and backstopped by netminder Niklas Backstrom.
The Wild goaltender bounced back after a rough outing in Los Angeles, where he was relieved after two first-period goals. Backstrom was a wall all night and improved his career record in games after being pulled to 21-2-4. Since March 26, 2008, Backstrom hasn’t lost in a contest after getting the hook, going 17-0-2 during that span. If there were a way to bottle Backstrom’s mindset in games after getting pulled that product would sell like Whiskey in an Irish Bar, because he has laser focus in these games.
Backstrom made crucial saves early in the game to settle the team down and build its confidence. When Minnesota saw that the netminder was on his game, the team went to work and played a gritty road game to break a three-game losing streak.
“A lot of times you need that when you’re playing on the road,” Yeo said. “What can you say? Backy with a great response; that’s what he does.”
The Wild played an unyielding road game tonight, beating a Blue Jackets team that has been on fire at home lately. Heading into tonight’s game, Columbus was 9-0-3 in its last 12 games at home.
“Just a solid game all around,” Yeo said. “I really felt like we had everybody going tonight.”
The team had jump like a pack of kangaroos on a trampoline and all three of the club’s second period power chances came from players hustling and moving their feet.
“The things that led to those…being solid in our own zone, executing coming out of our own zone,” Yeo added. “Doing the right things on the forecheck and offensive zone to draw those penalties.”
On those power plays, the Wild took advantage by getting pucks in deep, winning battles and contending to get to the front of the net.
Jason Pominville scored his first point and goal in a Minnesota Wild uniform. The 30-year-old added an assist on the Wild’s first tally, a Ryan Suter power play goal, and then iced the game late in the third period. The newly acquired wing was creating chances with his new linemates, firing four shots on goal.
He might’ve had extra motivation for tonight’s game as his wife, Kim, surprised him at the game with their children, Jayden and Kaylee. Kim and her father drove from Buffalo and arrived before the game to deliver the surprise. Stick tap to our PR staff, Ryan Stanzel and Carly Peters, and Aaron Sickman back in Minnesota, for setting things up starting last night and into today. Follow them on Twitter @mnwildPR. Wild.com will have a retro diary of the staff’s exploits tomorrow on Wild.com along with a Becoming Wild webisode featuring Pominville’s arrival with the team in coming days.
Charlie Coyle had quite a pair of shifts in the second period. The 21-year-old (I know, it’s hard to fathom) scored his sixth goal of the season and first-career power play goal during the middle frame. Coyle received a beautiful pass through a seam from Mikael Granlund and tipped-in the club’s second power play goal of the game.
More impressive display might’ve been the play that led to the power play. Coyle was on a rush with his line mates changing. The winger was busting through the neutral zone, moving his feet and was hooked by Vinny Prospal. The ref raised his arm for a delayed penalty and Coyle kept on chugging along like a 6-foot-2, 200-pound train. He kept the puck on his stick and when Prospal tried to hit him, Coyle dropped his shoulder into Prospal’s midsection and shrugged him off like a bug, sending the Blue Jacket flying, um, like a bug. Coyle had a great all-around game helping out on the penalty kill in the third period. On a line with Kyle Brodziak and Cal Clutterbuck, the trio was solid at both ends of the ice.
It was a pretty cool night in Columbus because the Blue Jackets honored the Armed Services. During warmups, the Blue Jackets wore camouflage sweaters that were auctioned online for charity during the game.
During the video introduction, Columbus players, staff and management acknowledged family members that were in various branches of the military. Wild.com would like to give a big thank you to all of the men and women who have served our country and helped preserve our freedoms. We’d also like to share this sweet photo taken during the National Anthem, which was played by the Army Brass Band.