And so it begins. The 2011-2012 NHL season is full on starting this weekend and the Wild opened their campaign with a bang, defeating the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2. The story was the new-look offense. Now keep in mind Columbus was on the second night of a back-to-back and the Wild had the home opener adrenaline working for them, but you gotta be excited as a Wild fan after this game. The Wild were actually outshot by the Blue Jackets 31-26, but that’s because they went into a shell in the third period, managing only three shots. Through two, they dominated.
New Guys Impact
It didn’t take long to get a glimpse of what could possibly be an exciting year. The Koivu Heatley Setoguchi line started with some jump on the first shift of the game. Later in the first Koivu and Heatley were in on a shorthanded 2-on-1. Koivu to Heatley, Heatley slap shot, fat rebound with Jacket G Steve Mason out of the play, but the puck hopped Koivu’s stick. Early glimpse folks.
Midway through the second and on the PP, Bouchard fed Heatley for a pretty redirection goal from between the circles. Heatley’s first goal in a Wild sweater gave the Wild a 3-0 lead.
Late in the second, Heatley set the table for a Setoguchi one-timer that got through Mason. Wild up 4-1 after two and the offseason moves paying big-time dividends.
It’s the scoring depth that’s the difference. Heater and Seto give the Wild two good scoring lines, instead of just one as has been the norm the last three years.
When everyone keys on the first line, the Bouchard Lattendresse Cullen line will get more opportunities, and that’s exactly what happened on the second shift of the game. Lattendresse sent one from the defensive zone to Bouchard at the opposite blue line, who saucered a pretty one to Cullen behind the D. Cullen roofed a wrister over Mason’s shoulder for a quick 1-0 lead.
If everyone stays healthy and has years you’d expect, this will be a playoff year for our favorite NHL squad.
- The Wild are now 10-0-1 in season openers in franchise history.
- Nick Backstrom was good in goal giving up two goals on 31 shots. Not flashy or spectacular, but reliable, just the way the Wild need him to be.
- Did you see the open on FS North with the player graphics built in to landmarks around the state? Very cool.
- All due respect to Cal Clutterbuck, but isn’t it nice to not have to depend on him as a major cog in the offense?
- I liked the kids tonight. Powe, Johnson, and Gilles were quick and spent some good time in the offensive zone, and Scandella and Spurgeon looked good on D. Scandella also scored a PP goal in the first on a mad rush with Spurgeon into the Jackets zone. Scandella’s first NHL goal put the Wild up 2-0. Hopefully that will continue throughout the year.
Wild @ NY Islanders – Monday Oct. 10 12:00 p.m. CST