Following Wild games, Managing Editor Mike Doyle will give the Five Takeaways that he remembers from the contest. Tonight, he looks back at a 6-3 win against the Buffalo Sabres:
The first period between Wild and Sabres saw a flurry of activity that put this week’s snowmagedon to shame.
The teams traded goals quicker than the warm weather fled Minnesota in November, scoring three in a 17-second span. Beginning at the 6:07 mark, the score sheet reads: Ryan Carter; Nino Niederreiter, 6:14; Zemgus Girgensons, 6:24. The trifecta of tallies ranks second all-time to the Rangers and North Stars 1983 mark, combining to scored three in only 15 seconds.
The blizzard of goals continued for Niederreiter. He netted his second of the game on the power play near the end of the first, but it looked as if the Sabres would put a freeze on the Swiss forward’s bid for a toque trick. Sabres netminder Jhonas Enroth robbed him with 22.4 seconds remaining in the first. In the third, the goaltender came out of the net and misplayed the puck to Niederreiter, but the Sabres recovered and blanketed the bid. Finally, with Enroth on the bench for the extra attacker, Niederreiter finished the trick with 2:28 remaining in the game. They were his fifth, sixth and seventh of the year for his first-career hat trick.
Sometime you just have to change things up to gain a little MOmentum. The Wild flipped around its forwards and placed a trio of Wild Mo Bros on a line. Carter, Kyle Brodziak and Justin Fontaine are all rocking ‘staches for men’s health this Movember. In the first period, the line scored two goals and was all over the offensive zone like a fine muzzy on an upper lip.
Carter started things with a surefire Play of the Week nominee. Brodziak caught the puck in the slot and fired it high on Enroth. The biscuit bounced high into the air and started to fall behind the netminder. Instead of trying to immediately whack it in, Carter smartly let the puck drop below the goal line. He then proceeded to crosscheck it into the goal. I’ve seen people crosscheck lower backs, arms, faces, but never have I seen someone do it to the puck and have it wind up in the back of the net.
Brodziak scored the game’s third goal with assists from Fontaine and Carter. It was Brodziak’s (1-1=2) 38th career multi-point game, Carter’s (1-1=2) ninth and Fontaine’s (0-2=2) fourth. Don’t ask me to look up how many multi-point periods each of them have.
The three shaved down to only moustaches earlier this week and you can expect them to have a strong showing in tomorrow’s Wild Mo Bros Power Rankings, presented by Jack Links Beef Jerky.
As nice as the win was for the Wild, it was a tough outing for starting netminder Darcy Kuemper, who was relieved by Niklas Backstrom, after allowing the Sabres two goals. While it was tough to see Kuemper get pulled, Backstrom was on point in relief. The 36-year-old made 25 saves for his second win of the season.
With the Wild comfortably ahead in the second period, Backstrom still had to be sharp as the Sabres continued to push for a comeback. The netminder made a series of stops as Buffalo was on the power play in the middle. First, he kicked out a pad save on a point shot that found its way through traffic. The rebound bounced to defenseman Tyler Myers, who was sneaking into the slot. Myers lifted a backhand towards the net, but Backstom went post-to-post and made a diving blocker save.
Former teammate Torrey Mitchell played the role of spoiler, ruining Backstrom’s perfect play with a third-period goal.
Before the game, we learned that defensemen Jonas Brodin and Marco Scandella were both out with an illness. The two blueliners were experiencing similar symptoms to Keith Ballard and Christian Folin, who missed multiple games earlier this year. There has been a rash of mumps with the Anaheim Ducks and St. Louis Blues, and we can only hope that’s not the Wild’s case.
The Wild did return an important cog on the blue line, Jared Spurgeon. The defenseman’s presence was felt immediately as he scored a power play goal. Spurgeon missed the previous five games with an upper-body injury, but didn’t look like he missed a beat. The blueliner played 29:27 and registered eight shots. For his effort, Spurgeon was awarded the game’s Second Star.
Two days after Veterans Day, the Wild honored the armed forces with Military Appreciation Night. Before the game, the team wore camouflage sweaters. Check them out with this behind-the-scenes WildTV video. Pretty cool right? The jerseys are up for bid in an online auction on Wild.com. The proceeds from the auction benefit Defending the Blue Line, an organization that helps alleviate hockey related costs for military families, and the Minnesota Wild Foundation.
As James Bohn belted out the National Anthem wearing a camo tie, the glass was wrapped with American flags. During the second intermission, the team recognized Purple Heart recipients and the son of a recipient led the crowd in a rousing version of God Bless America. It was a patriotic, as a “USA!” chant spontaneously broke out after the song. Stick tap to all our nation’s heroes, past and present.