Following Wild games, Managing Editor Mike Doyle will give the Five Takeaways that he'll remember from the contest. Tonight, he looks back at a 4-3 win against the Ottawa Senators:
It might not have been the best start for the Wild, but it sure was a great Finn-ish. Tonight, Wild captain Mikko Koivu led the team with another clutch effort, scoring the game winner with only 2:57 left in the game. Koivu added two assists to draw even with Zach Parise for the team scoring lead with 20 (Parise had two assists tonight).
After leaning heavily on goaltender Josh Harding in the first period, the netminder made 17 saves in the opening frame, the Wild battled back with Koivu leading the way. It was a great response after last night’s disappointing loss in Montreal and showed why it’s important to have a short memory in sports. It really goes to show how much heart this team has, and even when it starts slow, the club closes strong. With the win, Minnesota improved 8-1-1 in last 10.
Sometimes even goal scorers need a little puck luck to get the confidence going. To start the season, Dany Heatley couldn’t buy a goal. However, he scored a late goal yesterday on the power play and again tonight against his former team. It was his first goal in Ottawa since being traded from the Senators before the 2009 season.
While it wasn’t the prettiest of his 364 career goals, the winger has made a career of putting himself in the right place to finish on his chances. Heatley mishandled the puck behind the net, but it squirted past defenseman Erik Karlsson on the right-hand side of the cage. Heatley popped out from behind the goal line and pushed the puck between Sens’ goaltender Craig Anderson's legs for his fourth of the season. Fifty in 14 might be a stretch, but hopefully the last two games will spark some confidence in the big winger and get him going offensively.
Jonas Brodin has played two games since removing his bubble and has a goal and two assists. Coincidence? Probably not.
The blueliner said that he didn’t like wearing the full shield because it was difficult to see and would fog up at the end of shifts. Of course, one of Brodin’s best attributes is his vision on the ice, so removing the bubble seems to have helped in that regard. In the second period, the defenseman fired a seeing-eye shot from the point past Anderson for his fourth of the season. Brodin added an assist on Heatley’s goal and earned his first multi-point game in the NHL.
Before the start of the game, the media is handed a lineup card with the scratches and starters on it. Tonight, we were given a card that had Jason Pominville listed under the scratches, while defenseman Nate Prosser was listed as playing. Clearly this caused a lot of confusion in the press box, as Pominville was skating in warmups and Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo said that Prosser would be out of the lineup. Did Pominville get hurt in warmups? Did he suddenly feel ill?
Well, he was fine. Pominville’s no. 29 must’ve been confused with Prosser’s no. 39. Of course, we didn’t learn of the scoring error until after I tweeted that Pominville was a scratch from @mnwildLIVE. This caused a bit of a stir amongst our followers, and when Pominville scored I received a lot of re-tweets reminding me of the folly. This scenario reminded me of an old J-school rule: getting the story correct is more important than getting the story first. While getting a scratched player wrong isn’t a life or death situation, it’s a reminder that accuracy is more important than speed.
Earlier this season, Tomas Hertl scored on a between-the-legs move during a blow out game that seemed to divide the hockey world. Some thought the goal disrespected the game, while others believed it was a great display of skill.
What does that have to do with tonight’s contest? In the first period, the Senators forward Clarke MacArthur made a similarly dazzling play. MacArthur rushed in on the right side of the ice, started to run out of room as defenseman Ryan Suter closed the gap and took away a backhand pass, pulled the puck between his legs and feathered a pass right on the tape of Kyle Turris, who finished for a shorthanded goal. It was the type of highlight-reel goal that should land on a lot of sports shows’ Plays of the Week. However, it will be interesting if hockey talking heads will deem this play “disrespectful,” or let it slide and deem it a necessary move due to the time and circumstances. Personally, I don’t think either of the plays were out of line and thoroughly enjoy it when NHL players let their skills shine, even when it comes against the Wild.