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 2-1 overtime win against the Calgary Flames:
Well, the Wild changed a whole bunch of game stories in the third period, as the club rallied to tie and eventually win the game in overtime. You could feel the tension inside of Xcel Energy Center, with the crowd ready to explode as the Wild built momentum in the second half of the contest. The release came in dramatic fashion on two goals, one in the final frame and one in overtime, but we’ll get to those in a little bit.
After losing the first period shot battle, the Wild out-chanced the Flames 20-9 during the last 40 minutes.
“If you’ve got seven shots and they haven’t gone in—get eight,” Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo said. “That’s what winners do.”
After Mikko Koivu hit two-second period posts, Wild fans could feel it coming. Patience is a virtue, and the Wild stuck to its game and it eventually paid off…
Jason Zucker is developing quite a flare for the dramatic. The rookie forward scored his second goal of the season (the first was also a second game-tying goal against Detroit earlier this month). He went directly where he needs to be to score goals: the net. Devin Setoguchi found time and space, finally hitting Zucker right on the tape for a tap-in goal.
My mentor at Wild.com, former managing editor Glen Andresen, and I had a lengthy chat about Zucker just a week ago. We agreed that the kid has swagger, that “it factor,” a charisma you either have or you don’t. There is a confidence that goal scorers must possess that borders on cockiness, and Zucker walks the line like a champ. With his ability to get up and go, he reminded us of someone we’ve known for quite some time…
Even before the OT winner, Zach Parise was putting in work tonight. Scouts' Honor, I was planning on writing a takeaway about how the forward can impact a game without getting on the score sheet. Luckily for me, that didn’t happen and Parise tallied the game winner.
If Parise didn’t score tonight, someone might’ve looked at the boxscore and said he had a bad game. Well, that would’ve been an uninformed statement. The forward was all over the ice, creating havoc and scoring chances. Tonight, it looked like Parise was going to will the Wild to a victory, and eventually he did.
Ryan Suter might’ve had his best game in a Wild sweater. The blueliner logged more than 29 minutes of ice, more than five shorthanded. His impact on the team’s penalty kill is apparent, as the Wild killed 6-7 Flames power plays. Only a batted-out-of-midair Alex Tanguay goal kept the Wild killers from being perfect on the night.
Coming into this game the Wild PK unit ranked sixth in the NHL at 84.9 percent. Suter has been a big part of the team’s shorthanded success, something that doesn’t show up on the score sheet either. However, he did register two assists, bringing his team-high total to 11.
Since becoming the Wild’s bench boss, Mike Yeo has always believed in the process of building towards a championship team. Expectations skyrocked in Minnesota with the signings of Parise and Suter this summer, but the team wasn’t going to transform into Stanley Cup contenders as soon as the ink dried. No, there is still work to be done and Yeo gave an impassioned postgame press conference about the work that the team still needs to put in. It’s probably best if you just check out the entire WildTV video of the presser.
Bonus Take: A St. Cloud State kid just can’t avoid living in Gopher country—even at an NHL game. During the second period intermission, the PA announced that the Gopher Basketball team beat top ranked Indian, 77-73. No big deal, right? Wrong. The Wild faithful went nuts followed by the MINNESOTA chant (don’t know what it’s called; don’t really care). Don’t care how long I live in the Twin Cities, I will never enjoy, partake nor cheer during that chant; too many bad memories. But that’s what makes sports great. You don’t have to like all the same teams and it was cool to see a pro sports arena cheering wildly about college sports, even if I hate the chant.