Following Wild games, Managing Editor Mike Doyle will give the Five Takeaways that he remembers from the contest. Tonight, he looks back at a 4-3 shootout loss against the Edmonton Oilers:
Edmonton is nowhere near the playoff picture, and for the rest of the season will try to photobomb opponents posing for the postseason. Tonight, the Oilers wrecked what looked like a two-point night for Minnesota.
“You could tell that we weren’t on top of our game,” Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo said. Despite that, the Wild took a 3-1 lead into the first intermission. However, the Wild’s bench boss thought the club was lucky to even have a lead after the first.
And that, as they say, is why they play 60 minutes. After the first, the club didn’t seize control of the game and Oilers goaltender Viktor Fasth made 22 saves the rest on the night. Tonight, it actually took more than 60, as the Oilers mounted a third period comeback, forced overtime and eventually won in a shootout.
It was a disappointing end, and the Wild will regroup tomorrow. After two-straight shootout losses (three overall), the club will quickly get a chance to bounce back on Thursday, hosting the New York Rangers. It has enough veteran leadership to quickly get back on track…
Matt Cooke hit a milestone tonight, skating in his 1,000th game. He becomes the 286th player in league history and fourth player to hit the mark while wearing a Wild sweater (Keith Carney, Andrew Brunette and Matt Cullen the others). Cooke debuted in 1998 for the Vancouver Canucks and quickly became a fly in the Wild’s soup, gaining a reputation as an agitator. However, it was skating with the Pittsburgh Penguins, where he helped the Pens win a Stanley Cup, he became the player that we see today. After multiple suspensions from the National Hockey League, Cooke analyzed his game through video work, realized that he had to change and became a responsible two-way winger.
Before the game, Cooke was honored with the customary silver stick for players hitting the milestone, an ATV from teammates and a $10,000 check to his charity, the Cooke Family Foundation of Hope, a nonprofit organization that focuses on organizations that provide assistance to individuals faced with health, financial and emotional life challenges.
Cooke is a prototypical third-line forward. He is physical, plays stout defense, is willing to do dirty work in the corners and along the wall, and will sacrifice his body to block shots on the penalty kill. Oh yeah, and he’ll chip in offensively, scoring nine goals and 15 assists this season without the benefit of power play time and often while shutting down the opponent’s top line. Can you tell I’m glad the Wild picked him up in the offseason? Yeah, you probably are, too. Of course, Cooke wasn’t the only Wild forward to hit a milestone tonight…
Do you think that Zach Parise was mad at Cooke for taking a little bit of the shine off his 600th career NHL game? If so, he didn’t let it affect him (I’m sure he wasn’t upset), because the Wild forward scored the first goal of the game and helped set up another in the opening period.
The Parise, Jason Pominville and Mikael Granlund line continues to build chemistry. Parise’s power play goal was a result of two consecutive cross-ice passes from Pominville and Granlund. The goal brought Parise within one of Pominville’s team goal lead, but the deficit didn’t last long. Pominville regained his two-goal cushion as the club’s top sniper, scoring just over four minutes later, his 24th of the season. As usual, Granlund was in on the action, assisting on the goal with a slick backhand pass, while Parise added the second helper. Credit Digital Media Coordinator Kelly Erickson for coming up with a possible nickname: The PPG Line. What do you think? #proudofyou.
March’s Charity of the Month was one very close to the Wild family: Harding’s Hope. Josh Harding founded the nonprofit organization in order to raise awareness about multiple sclerosis and raise funds to support people living with MS. Harding was diagnosed with MS last year.
Today, the proceeds of any Josh Harding items purchased at any of the three Hockey Lodge locations or online at stateofhockeystore.com throughout the day benefited Harding’s Hope, while the Xcel Energy Center Hockey Lodge had the Harding’s Hope t-shirts for sale. To find out more about Harding’s Hope and MS, visit the organization’s website, here.
I always enjoy in-game contests and promotions. Sure, it would be nice if there were no breaks during a hockey game, but we’ve got to pay the bills (and my salary). During these stoppages there are often little games. One such game, a fan will try to guess a Wild player’s favorite pre-game meal, music or answer some other colorful question. You find out a little bit about the player, the crowd is entertained until play starts back up and the fan wins a prize. Wins all around.
Occasionally these little in-game distractions turn into something more. Tonight, it did for Jamie Jenn, who was a part of the Wells Fargo Player Conversations promotion during the second period. Erik Haula was asked, “What was your biggest surprise about Minnesota?” When Haula appeared on the video board, he was cut out for an even bigger revelation. Jamie’s husband, SPC Nick Jenn was back from overseas and was at the game for a surprise homecoming.
It was as touching moment you’ll see at a hockey game, but left me with a lingering question. What is Haula’s biggest surprise about Minnesota?