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Mike Doyle's Five Takeaways vs. St. Louis

by Mike Doyle / Minnesota Wild

Following Wild games, Managing Editor Mike Doyle will give the Five Takeaways that he remembers from the contest. Tonight, he looks back at a 2-1 loss to St. Louis Blues:

It’s not adversity that makes you stronger, it’s what you do when facing adversity that makes you stronger. Right now, the Wild is in a funk, but made strides to get out of it against Central Division enemy, the St. Louis Blues.

The Wild played well in the first, not allowing a goal and outshooting the Blues. After falling behind in the second period, Minnesota attempted to rally in the third and scored late on Ryan Suter point blast. But again, the team came up short. Maybe a turn of the calendar is just what the team needs as old acquaintances can be forgot in 2014.

It might seem like the sky is falling with the team’s recent slide, but 2013 was still a positive year for the organization. The team made the playoffs for the first time in five years and two franchise players made their debut in Wild sweaters, Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. The team might be on a slide now, but the organization is on the rise and we’ll see the club right the ship in 2014. Bookmark this page: you’ll all thank me for having a level head right now.

To start the season, the Wild was one of the staunchest defensive teams in the National Hockey League. Over the last few games, the team had gotten away from that defensive philosophy. Tonight, Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo shook up its blue line, separating typical partners Ryan Suter and Jonas Brodin. Suter skated with Jared Spurgeon, while Brodin was paired with Marco Scandella. The team was much better defensively limiting the Blues’ chances to 23 shots on goal.

While Minnesota did play better defensively, its opponent capitalized on the club’s mistakes. St. Louis plays a stifling defensive game and is opportunistic in the offensive end—we saw it again tonight…

The Blues have had the Wild’s number in recent years, winning its seventh-consecutive game against the good guys. St. Louis showed why it has the second-best record in the Central Division.

The Wild outplayed the Blues in the first, but St. Louis stormed back in the second, reducing Minnesota’s chances and capitalizing on turnovers. Minnesota native TJ Oshie (trying to make a final impression to make the US Olympic Team, but we’ll get to that) scored on a sweet move after he created a turnover in the offensive zone; former Colorado College Tiger, Jaden Schwartz, scored on a counterattack following a Wild rush. It was Schwartz’s sixth-consecutive game with a goal and he added the lone assist on Oshie’s goal.

Tomorrow marks the NHL’s Winter Classic between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings. The annual New Year’s Day tradition will be played at the Big House, the University of Michigan’s giant football stadium. While all eyes will be on the game because it is such a hyped event, even non-hockey fans enjoy tuning in to the game.

Another good reason for patriotic sports fans to watch the Winter Classic: the Team USA Olympic roster will be announced following the game. Of course, the Wild has two players that will be on the squad, Zach Parise and Ryan Suter (not official, but c’mon). They were both a part of USA’s Sliver Medal winning team in 2010 in Vancouver and want to bring the Gold home from the 2014 Sochi Games. The deadline for countries to get their rosters in is Jan. 7, so we’ll soon find out if other Wild players will represent their countries at the Games.

New Year’s Eve is known for midnight smooches as a popular in-game segment during Wild games: The Delta Dental Kiss Cam. Today, we had a couple of jokesters on the Kiss Cam during the first period.

First, a guy buttered up his lips with some ChapStick before giving his gal a peck. Thanks to the recent cold spell, lips are crustier than a day old bagel, so I don’t blame the man. However, the next dude on the Kiss Cam chugged his beer like a frat boy at a kegger before locking lips with his gal. I know getting sozzled is some people’s New Year tradition, but that’s not a good way to make an impression with your lady friend. Maybe New Year’s Eve put him in a festive mood, but with shenanigans like that he might not have someone to kiss when the ball strikes midnight.

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