Let me hear you, State of Hockey legion!
Tonight, the Minnesota Wild is skating in its first road game of the season against the Detroit Feathers, also known as the Red Wings. The teams will meet three times this season, determining which is greater: The State of Hockey or Hockeytown. My vote has to lean towards the State of Hockey, not only because of sheer landmass, but a state has many more provisions than a town. Maybe if it was Hockeycity, an argument could be made, but its not. But that is why we play the game and we’ll let the players on the ice decide that argument.
In the mean time, we’re high above the ice at Joe Louis Arena in the press box, which essentially is in the rafters. We’re not intimidated by the Stanley Cup banners hanging just a few yards from us or the retired numbers from Wings greats like Able, Howe, Lindsay, Sawchuk and Yzerman. Neither is Jonas Brodin, who makes his NHL debut tonight, because the 19-year-old is so young, he’s never heard of any of those old fuddy-duddies.
Giving Brodin some direction as he retrieves pucks in the defensive zone will be goaltender Josh Harding. He played in all four of the Wild’s games against the Wings last season, going 2-1-1 with a 2.60 goals against average, a .930 save percentage and one shutout.
Tonight’s healthy scratches for the Wild are forward Matt Kassian and defenseman Matt Dumba. Jared Spurgeon is out tonight with a Lower body injury and is considered day-to-day.
The Wild is rocking in its road whites with red and green trim, while the Detroit wears its classic red homes with wheel and wing logo.
Tonight, the Wild will take the advice of a Motown icon and won’t stop ‘til they get enough. Shamone!
Period 1 - MIN 0, DET 0
A penalty filled first period saw each team with three power play opportunities, but no goals. Minnesota killed off a 5-on-3 advantage, with the Detroit getting nearly two minutes of two-man-advantage time.
The Wild came out of the gate fast, as Wild Head Coach said that the team wants to build and earn the reputation of ‘Road Warriors’ this season. The Wild had the shot advantage, 11-6. Funny thing, the Wings held the hit advantage, 9-2, but their counting from way up high in the press box might’ve been a little off. Both goalies played well, with the Wings’ Jimmy Howard having to make a few key saves early on Zach Parise. Minnesota is going to keep the momentum going into the second, mark my words.
Period 2 MIN 2, DET 4
If the first period was void of scoring, the second made up for it, unfortunately in favor of the bad guys.
The Wings jumped out to an early lead with a Damien Brunner shot over the glove of Harding. Detroit followed that up with a grimy goal from Todd Bertuzzi, as the puck bounced off of his leg in front and in.
The Wild turned things around on a beautiful power play goal. Ryan Suter collected a blocked shot off the stick of Mikko Koivu and found Zach Parise on the right circle, who fired it past Howard. The Wild evened the score as Tom Gilbert received a pass from Mikael Granlund as a power play expired. He fired it low to the stick side past Howard. Jonas Brodin picked up an assist, his first NHL point.
The Wings answered with two goals, one off the stick of Henrik Zetterberg and the other by Pavel Datsyuk. Zetterberg collected a Datsyuk pass and outwaited Harding and slipped it by an outstretched Granlund, who was trying to break up the play. Valtteri Filppula picked up the second assist. Datsyuk scored on a bullet shot over the right shoulder of Harding on the power play. Kronwall and Johan Franzen picked up assists on the goal.
The Wild has already showed resiliency in this game, and will do it again in the third. I’ve got a feeling.
Third Period MIN 3, DET 5
The Wings extended its lead on a quick passing play, again set up by Datsyuk. The forward received an entry pass from Fippula and found Bertuzzi on the back door. Bertuzzi one-timed it home for his second of the evening.
Parise answered with his second goal of the night. The forward was behind the net and tried to center a backhand pass. The puck, however, hit off the back of Zetterberg and into Detroit’s net. Gilbert and Koivu picked up assists on the play.
Solid effort by the Wild tonight, but the Wings brought a little more. Wild gets a chance for two points on this road swing, Sunday against the St. Louis Blues at 7 p.m.