Kings @ Wild Tues Feb 24
The Wild left a point on the ice tonight v. LA Kings, losing 2-1 in a shootout. They certainly played well enough to win, but failed on a few opportunities to bury the puck.
Regulation was relatively uneventful. Antti Miettenen did score a shorthanded goal in the 1st after receiving a nifty pass from Mikko Koivu on a 2 on 1. That was definitely nice to see. But they gave up a powerplay goal in the 2nd…actually Kim Johnsson scored it for the Kings on one of those “here goalie, cover it” type plays. Buzz kill. There were periods in the 3rd where the Wild would carry the play but they could not get it by Kings G Jonathan Quick. Most notably, Andrew Brunette made a beauty move only to be stoned by Quick with about a minute left in the 3rd.
The Wild had a couple golden opportunities to win it in the OT. Dan Fritsche was oh-so-close to winning it in the OT. He broke in on a 2 on 1 and the LA D took away the pass so he fired a shot that hit the near-side post. Shortly after, the Wild hit another post and Pierre Marc Bouchard also had a point blank chance. No one was clutch, and clutch is everything in the playoff stretch.
Mikko Koivu hit a post in the shootout, and Niklas Backstrom gave up his first and second shootout goals and that was the story.
So most of the Wild forwards are grinders this year, but I thought Cal Clutterbuck, Dan Fritsche, James Sheppard, Craig Weller, and Stephane Veilleux were the most productive of everyone in the 3rd. They took a lot of body, kept the puck in the offensive zone, and had a handful of opportunities. If someone could only finish…
Fight to…Make the Playoffs
The Wild move into a tie for the 8th spot in the Western Conference. The missed point was a missed opportunity to move into the 7th spot, but let’s concentrate on the positive. Wizzy would be in the playoffs if the season ended today.
The Wild embark on the big 14 of 17 on the road bit of the schedule on Friday, starting the trip in Calgary. I hate watching games at Saddledome on TV. The picture is always grainy and washed out. Plus the whole arena turns red when the Flames score, adding that extra insult to injury. Hopefully this one won’t turn into a DVR FFWD game.