Giddy up, State of Hockey Legion!
The Wild looks to bring its win streak to a nice and round number tonight: 8. Doesn’t it just look sublime? First the team will have to go through the Dallas Spacemen, also known as the Stars. But that shouldn’t be a problem because the Wild just took a game down in Dallas on Monday.
To make it eight, the team will do something it hasn’t done on this current win streak: start a goaltender other than Niklas Backstrom. The netminder was given the night off and stayed home in Minnesota.
It’s all good because the Wild has one of its young guns going tonight: Matt Hackett. The netminder was recalled yesterday and will make his first start of the season. He set a rookie record last year, starting his career with 102:48 of shutout hockey. I think he’s going to start this season the same way.
The Wild will skate the same forwards and defenseman as Wednesday’s home win against the Phoenix Coyotes. Tonight’s healthy scratches are defensemen Brett Clark and Nate Prosser. Josh Harding skated in yesterday’s optional skate, but is still on Injured Reserve as he continues to treat multiple sclerosis.
Follow all the action on Twitter @mnwildLIVE.
Let’s keep this streak rolling!
Period 1 - MIN 1, DAL 2
The Stars have been stewing in Dallas since losing to the Wild on Monday. Apparently they were well rested as they came out hard, but Minnesota responded at the end of the period.
On the power play, Ray Whitney took a rolling puck off a faceoff and blasted a shot low to the blocker side. Jamie Benn drew the puck back right in Whitney's wheelhouse and he hammered the puck past Hackett.
The Stars then took a two-goal lead on a Tomas Vincour rebound goal. Reilly Smith took a shot from the point and the rebound bounced right onto Vincour's tape and he smacked it in. Aaron Rome picked up the second assist on the play.
The Wild responded late in the period with a water bottle popper. Matt Cullen was working down low and cut behind the net, he fed the puck out front to Devin Setoguchi, who went high to Kari Lehtonen's glove, knocking the water bottle off the top of the net.
Well, the Wild got its road legs under them and responded well. I expect more in the second period.
Period 2 - MIN 2, DAL 2
The Wild came back strong in the second period to bring the game even.
Minnesota continues to have a strong power play and Jared Spurgeon converted on another PP for the Wild. He snuck down from the point and slid home a rebound on a one-time shot from Kyle Brodziak. Mikko Koivu picked up the second assist on the play.
Minnesota held the shot advantage and more importantly the goal advantage. Now it's time to bring this thing home.
Period 3 - MIN 3 - DAL 5
Dallas had a big third period outburst and was primed on the man advantage.
Bad luck for the Wild, as Dallas opened the third period scoring. The Stars rushed in and Erik Cole fired a shot that was blocked, but came right back to him. He fired the puck passed Hackett.
The Stars then took advantage of a pair of power plays. First Jamie Benn fired a one-timer from the right circle. Whitney and Jagr picked up the assists on the play, Jagr's 1,000th-career helper. The second was by Cody Eakin, who banged home a rebound on a loose puck. Roy and Daley picked up the assists on the play.
Torrey Mitchell added a late goal on a nice backhander, but it wasn't enough. The assists went to Dany Heatley and Cal Clutterbuck.
Well all good things must come to an end as the Wild's streak stops at seven games. The good news: they get a chance to start another one tomorrow night as the Kings come to Xcel Energy Center.