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Mike Doyle's Five Takeaways at St. Louis

by Mike Doyle / Minnesota Wild

Following Wild games, Managing Editor Mike Doyle will give the Five Takeaways he'll remember from the contest. Tonight, he looks back at a 5-4 overtime road loss against the St. Louis Blues:

Before the game, the St. Louis Blues made a very classy gesture in honoring the late, great Stan “The Man” Musial. Every player warming up tonight for the Blues wore a No. 6 sweater to honor the greatest professional to represent a St. Louis sports team. Musial passed away on Jan. 19 at the age of 92.

Yesterday, St. Louis sports fans turned out in mass to honor Musial, who was widely respected as a great ballplayer, but even more as a great human being. The Man was known to always have time to sign autographs and shake hands with anyone who wanted to meet him. We should all aspire to be so good.

Of course, on the day the Blues honor the great No. 6, the club’s no. 6 scores the opening goal. Wade Redden, who the Blues revived from a slow minor-hockey-league death this week, blasted a pinpoint one-timer past Wild netminder Niklas Backstrom.

Redden is best known for signing an albatross contract with the New York Rangers, and then being put on waivers and playing for the Rangers’ minor league affiliate. In three games with the Blues, the blueliner has two goals and is trying to lose the stigma of the “Wade Redden Rule” of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement and regain the reputation as productive NHL defenseman.

In St. Louis, I think we saw the beginning of a beautiful friendship. The chemistry between Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu and Dany Heatley was pretty obvious tonight.

The Wild’s top line accounted for the club’s four goals and totaled seven points between the three. Parise had two, both on the power play, and it was the second that showed the strengths off all three players. Heatley worked the puck in the right corner of the offensive zone, drew a Blues defender to him and slid the puck to Koivu. The Wild captain then made a short, quick pass to a streaking Parise. The winger was alone against netminder Brian Elliott, dipped his shoulder faking a shot, and powered around the sprawling goalie, sweeping the puck into a yawning net. The Wild’s other two goals had a little bit of drama surrounding them…

The advances in technology have had a positive impact on the game. Tonight two replays swung in the Wild’s favor.

In the second period, Koivu ripped a wrist shot that had Parise celebrating, however, the play continued. My initial reaction was a goal. You couldn’t hear the customary ringing of iron a shot like that typically generates. After a minute the puck went out of play, the whistle blew and officials sounded a horn. The NHL Situation Room in Toronto made a call into St. Louis. Turns out, the puck hit the back bar and bounced out immediately. It was Koivu’s first of the season.

The second replay came on the Wild’s game-tying goal in the third period. Heatley was planted in front when a shot ricocheted high into the air. Heatley waited for it to come down and made a downward swing, knocking the puck into the net. After a reply, it was concluded Heatley made contact with the puck below the crossbar.

Before the game, the Wild recalled defenseman Marco Scandella from the Houston Aeros of the American Hockey League. Scandella missed a large chunk of the first half of the season in Houston with a lower body injury. He played for Houston on Wednesday in Grand Rapids. In his NHL return, Scanella was solid logging more than 15 minutes of ice time, and he will continue to improve as he gets more game action.

To make room for Scandella, Minnesota reassigned its first-round pick (seventh overall) in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Mathew Dumba, to his junior team the Red Deer Rebels. Despite not getting into an NHL game, wherever the teenage blueliner went he had a wide-eyed enthusiasm that you don’t always get to see in professional sports. Trust me, Wild fans will hear from Dumba again.

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