Following Wild games, Managing Editor Mike Doyle will give the Five Takeaways that he remembers from the contest. Tonight, he looks back at a 3-2 shootout loss against the St. Louis Blues:
The Minnesota Wild has to be a little winded after this weekend.
After playing beyond regulation only twice in its first 21 contests, the Wild played more than 60 on back-to-back nights. However, it wasn’t the result the team wanted, as the Blues outlasted the Wild in a shootout. It was only team’s second shootout decision, moving to 1-1 on the season.
The Wild and Blues have always had a tightly contested and physical rivalry. Tonight’s contest was about what you’d expect from a Minnesota and St. Louis game, with a few less penalty minutes. The Wild did take advantage of one Blues infraction, as defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk was tagged with a five-minute checking from behind penalty and a game misconduct. Zach Parise scored his first power play goal of the season, but we’ll have more on him in a moment.
Overall, the Wild played a strong game, but unfortunately lost the novelty point against a Central Division opponent. Wild Captain Mikko Koivu scored his third of the season, beating Blues netminder Jake Allen high over the glove. Allen was strong in net, making 36 saves. His counterpart, Niklas Backstrom, was equally strong with 24 saves, 13 coming in the third period and overtime.
It’s been a good 24 hours for defenseman Marco Scandella. After scoring the overtime winner in Dallas last night, the Wild announced that it signed the blueliner to a five-year contract extension, locking him up through the 2019-20 season. The 24-year-old has improved each season since turning pro, taking his game to another level this season. He’s set a career mark in goals (five) and has turned into a lockdown defender, using his speed, strength and reach to combat opponents’ top lines on a nightly basis.
Coincidentally, after I was hired as the Digital Media Coordinator with the Wild, Scandella was the first player I featured on Wild.com. In the story, a telling quote came from, at the time, first-year Head Coach Mike Yeo: “It's funny how guys get their opportunities. Some guys wait and wait, but the opportunity never really comes. But here is a guy that we talked about, maybe, potentially having a top four role, and here is an opportunity for him right off the bat.”
At the time Scandella was only 21 and it took him a little more time, shuttling between Minnesota and the American Hockey League, before landing a top-four role with the Wild. But Yeo saw the potential. Another coincidence, when I was finishing up my grad program at St. Cloud State University, I was working at the college radio station, KVSC 88.1 FM (check it out, the station has fantastic music and SCSU sports coverage). Scandella was on the team’s Road Tour in St. Cloud and I interviewed him for a feature. We’ve come a long way (and, yeah, I know I mispronounced Yeo’s name).
This is an increasingly redundant Take, but Parise was a workhorse again tonight. However, tonight he hit a few milestones we can highlight. The forward scored his first power play goal of the season, ripping a slap shot from the top of the left circle.
It was his 250th career goal and 73rd career power play goal. It was also his 56th tally in a Wild sweater, moving him into ninth on the all-time Wild goal list.
The forward led the team in shots with nine, and was a hound dog in the offensive zone all night. With the Wild down one in the second period, Parise, Mikael Granlund and Jason Pominville put together a handful of quality shifts to change the game’s momentum.
Tonight marked the culmination of Movember, the month when the boys grow moustaches to raise awareness and funds for men’s health. Tony Glebus, the winner of the Wild’s Best Mo Contest presented by Jack Links Beef Jerky, gave the honorary, “Let’s Play Hockey!” call.
The finale of Movember is bittersweet. While you finally get to look normal after shaving, there is a bit of Mostalgia. You’re upper lip is cold when you go outside and you don’t get to enjoy cookie crumbs hours after snacking. Also, we lose the Wild Mo Bros Power Rankings, which are a lot of fun to write. Last season’s winner and captain, Justin Fontaine, brought a strong trucker ‘stache, but was upset by a teammate no one saw coming: Ryan Carter. Check out the movie-themed Final Mo Bro Power Rankings, here.
Always a popular game, we saw an arena full of moustaches from Wild fans. During the outstanding video board gimmick, Mo Cam, where the video board places an array of moustaches on unsuspecting fans, we saw one of the most impressive actual lip dusters seen in a while. The in-arena features were all Movember related, the Kiss Cam featured a woman spurning her date and locking lips with Sasquatch from Jack Links.
In fact, tonight’s attendance of 19,124 was the highest total on the season. The Wild has had a packed house with sellouts in all 10 home games and it was the fourth 19,000-plus game at Xcel Energy Center. Stick tap to Wild fans brining the energy and home crowd advantage this season.