Following Wild games, Managing Editor Mike Doyle will give the Five Takeaways that he'll remember from each contest. Today, he'll look back at a 3-2 shootout loss against the Columbus Blue Jackets:
The Wild secured a much-needed shootout point against the Blue Jackets tonight. Minnesota peppered Sergei Bobrovsky all night, firing high-quality shots through three periods and overtime, but the Columbus netminder stood on his head. This shootout loss feels bad, but should feel like a win because the Wild outplayed the Blue Jackets for a majority of the game.
Coincidentally, it wasn’t even a Wild player who scored the team’s first goal. Pierre-Marc Bouchard was credited for the tally after tipping a Brett Clark point shot, but it was Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson who kicked the puck behind Bobrovsky. He definitely didn’t have bubble toes on that play.
Jason Pominville evened the game in the third period on the power play. He shuffled a rebound, from a Ryan Suter point shot, past the Blue Jackets goaltender for his first goal on home ice in Minnesota.
Yesterday, Suter was considered day-to-day and didn’t skate with the team at its morning skate. No one expected him to be in the lineup, but the blueliner put up a monster game, logging 30:29 of ice time. He makes such a difference on the blue line and was strong again in both ends of the ice. Suter should get some Norris Trophy chatter as the season winds down.
Charlie Coyle’s family came all the way from East Weymouth, Mass., for tonight’s game. Unfortunately they only saw him skate for 17 seconds.
Along the boards in the Wild’s zone, towards the top of the circle, Artem Anisimov was trying to reach for a loose puck. Coyle stepped into Anisimov with his shoulder. Clearly, Coyle wasn’t targeting his head and tried to deliver a shoulder-to-shoulder hit, but Anisimov had his head down.
In response to the hit, Brandon Dubinsky stepped in and dropped his gloves with Coyle. It was the rookie's first professional fight, and he did a pretty good job, overpowering Dubinsky, getting a few shots in and dumping him to the ice.
After the dust settled, the ref assessed a five-minute check to the head match penalty to Coyle. Watching the replay, it is hard to tell if Coyle made contact with Anisimov’s head first, but his head snapped back. Anisimov didn’t return to the game. It was a bang-bang play that was a judgment call, but from the press box, looked clean live.
Yesterday, the Wild recalled forward Jason Zucker from the Houston Aeros, the club’s American Hockey League affiliate. Although he was held off the score sheet, he made an impact on the ice. He brought energy and speed, flying up and down the wing.
"I thought he was great," Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo said after the game.
Zucker fired a team-high six shots on net. The Winger was named to the AHL All-Rookie Team last week and has been stellar with the Aeros, leading the team in goals. Zucker is always a threat offensively because of his wheels, willingness to get to the net and shoot the puck from anywhere. It must’ve rubbed off on the Wild, because the team fired 41 shots on goal tonight.
The Wild welcomed 2012-13 Minnesota Hockey Youth State Champions at tonight’s games. Several teams from around the State of Hockey were recognized and saluted on the ice during the first intermission.
There also is a display in section 106-107, Skate for State, recognizing all of the champs. The display case features a jersey, photo and lineup card from each winner. Congrats on the great season and keeping the tradition of youth hockey alive in Minnesota.
Congratulations are also in order for St. Cloud State University’s Drew LeBlanc, who was awarded the Hobey Baker Memorial Award for the most outstanding college hockey player in Pittsburgh yesterday. The pride of Hermantown came back for a fifth year after breaking his leg last season and was better than ever. He helped lead the Huskies to the schools first MacNaughton Cup, WCHA regular-season champions, and Frozen Four.
The first time I saw LeBlanc play was as a sophomore at SCSU. In my second stint in St. Cloud for grad school, I was cutting through the National Hockey Center and LeBlanc was still on the ice after practice shooting pucks alone at the rink. I started doing the team’s hockey broadcast as a color commentator for Husky Productions and after a few games, I remember thinking that with the work he puts in, if he stops throwing blind passes he was going to be one heck of a hockey player. Well, he continued to put the work in and started connecting on those blind passes, leading the nation in assists this season. Congrats, Drew.
Shout out to the two bros in section 113. They were getting their area in the game all-night and trying to rev up fellow fans, and noticeable in the press box. Solid work dudes.