Over the last few seasons, Wild.com wanted help from fans in the State of Hockey and beyond to help select the Top Play of the Year. To do so, we needed you to pick the Top Play each week, so we could pit them against each other in the offseason in a single-elimination tournament. Last season, Zach Parise’s stellar wrister against Calgary won top honors, defeating Mikko Koivu’s tic-tap-tip-in play against Winnipeg.
Last week, Nino Niederreiter’s dangle against Winnipeg earned him nearly 80% of the votes over Ryan Carter’s knock-out-of-midair goal in New Jersey, and Marco Scandella’s game-winner in OT versus the Jets.
It took Marco Scandella just 16 games to set a new career-high in goals (four). He has quite a flare for the dramatic as well. In addition to a pair of game-winners (one in OT, one in the 3rd period), Scandella gave the Wild a 2-1 lead early in the 3rd last Thursday in Philadelphia. With Minnesota getting outshot at that point by a 28-14 margin, Scandella ripped his patented slapshot from the top of the left circle by a stunned Ray Emery.
Scandella’s goal would have been the game-winner, had it not been for Claude Giroux’s PPG with 3:30 left in regulation. But, Jason Zucker prevented overtime with the winning goal with just 46 seconds left. Ryan Suter followed his own shot, which was blocked into the corner, then flipped a puck to Zucker cutting to the far post. Zucker one-timed the floating puck into the open net.
Zach Parise’s relentless forecheck led to his tally in Tampa. He crashed not one but two Lightning defensemen trying to get out of their own zone. He created a 2-on-0, gave the puck to Thomas Vanek who bided his time and waited for Parise to catch up. The Wild alternate captain won’t miss many of those chip shots.