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 overtime win against the Detroit Red Wings:
The Wild definitely earned two points tonight in Detroit. Despite outshooting the Wings, 12-6, in the first period (it was 10-2 at one point), the Wild trailed 2-0 after 20 minutes. It looked like it would be a repeat performance from last night by Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard. However, the Wild didn’t get frustrated or quit—it continued to push on.
Jason Pominville started the comeback with an absolute bomb of a one-timer in the second period on the power play. In the third period, the Wild found another gear and scored two goals on hard working plays, buzzing in the Wings zone for continuous pressure. First, Charlie Coyle finished off a great shift along with his linemates, Mikko Koivu and Matt Moulson. Coyle found himself going to the net and found a Moulson shot that hit the post in the crease, scoring for the second-straight game. The team’s top line then went to work in similar fashion. After keeping the Wings pinned and getting several good scoring chances, Zach Parise banged home the go-ahead goal.
Tomas Tatar evened things up with a great move and shot, so the game went into overtime. But once again, the Wild didn’t panic and continued to stick with its game.
In overtime, Jonas Brodin crossed the blue, made a heads up play by holding up and creating space. Moulson, once again showed his nose for the net, and redirected a pass from Brodin past Howard. The Trade Deadline Day acquisition proved he’s worth the pickup for the crucial extra point.
It looks like the line of Koivu, Moulson and Coyle has started to find a little bit of chemistry, which is a good thing for the Wild. On the game-tying goal they showed what type of chances they have the ability to create on the forecheck in the offensive zone. All three players are big, strong and can protect the puck down low. The game-tying goal came after nearly 30 seconds of continuous pressure in the offensive zone against the Wings. Hopefully, Moulson’s nose for the net rubs off on Coyle, who was in the crease when he tapped home the shot off the pipe. Coyle also picked up an assist on Moulson’s game-winner.
On the goal, the Wild finally got a break, literally. Koivu and Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall were battling in front of the net. Koivu took a swipe at Kronwall’s stick and it broke in half. Kronwall threw his hands up in protest, but play went on. Without a stick, Kronwall was trying to check Moulson, but he was unable to tie him up as he got ahold of the rebound on a Koivu one-timer, leading to Coyle’s goal.
The Detroit Red Wings have a history of picking up late-round draft picks, who become big pieces of their franchise. Henrik Zetterberg (seventh round) and Pavel Datsyuk (sixth round) immediately come to mind. But with their two superstars out, it has given an opportunity for some younger players to step up. A fourth-round pick in 2008, Gustav Nyquist, looks like he’s on his way to becoming Wings’ later-round selection to be a big-time contributor in Motor City.
Tonight, he scored for the fifth-straight game (including the game winner over the Wild yesterday) and seven during the span. With the Wild applying the early pressure, he scored twice in the first period. The first came on the power play, putting home a blocked point shot. His second goal was a thing of beauty on a breakaway. He walked in, faked a forehand wrist shot and slid a backhand past Ilya Bryzgalov. In 46 games, Nyquist has 23 goals with the Red Wings.
The goaltender interference call has to be one of the toughest in hockey for referees (think back to Erik Haula’s five-minute major in Dallas on March 8). Well, we had another goaltender interference call tonight, but this time it swung in the Wild’s favor. In the first period, Wings forward David Legwand cut around Nate Prosser and went hard to the net. Legwand had a scoring chance, trying to slide it to the far post and Ilya Bryzgalov made the save. Legwand hit the brakes, but his momentum carried him into Bryzgalov and sent the netminder toppling into the goal.
Detroit fans couldn’t have been happy with the call, but whenever a player runs into a goaltender, it is now nearly automatic that he’ll get a goaltender interference penalty. However, there has to be a little bit of leeway when a player incidentally bumps a netminder on a scoring chance. Legwand did what he’s supposed to do—going hard to the net for a scoring chance. He didn’t have any room to cut back and dealt a glancing blow to Bryzgalov. While the goaltender should be protected, you want player to be unafraid of going to the net hard and the National Hockey League shouldn’t punish them for any incidental contact on scoring attempts.
I didn’t go on the road with the team for what seems like the first time in ages, so I watched the game on television. The broadcast was on NBC Sports Network and after the game Pierre McGuire interviewed Zach Parise about the contest. McGuire asked a broad question about the game (I didn’t catch the question entirely, but it was something pretty standard in regards to postgame interviews, along the lines of, “How important was that win?”) and not particularly any play. However, Parise’s answer was quite, well, real. After scoring the go-ahead goal in the third, he called himself out on Detroit’s game-tying goal by Tatar. He said that it was, “My bad,” as he turned the puck over at the offensive blue line.
That’s exactly what you want from your leaders: accountability. Parise could’ve easily given a generic answer and not brought up the turnover, but you could see that he was unhappy with himself on the play (he did crack a smile in relief that the team pulled out the win) and wasn’t going to act like it didn’t happen. When one of your best players is willing to call himself out, on national television no less, it gives everyone in the room a higher standard of culpability.