Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Power Play Powers Wild Victory

As I stated in a previous blog, if the Minnesota Wild's power play got going, they'd be fine. Well with two of their top offensive weapons out with injuries (Pavol Demitra and Marian Gaborik), others needed to step up. In comes Petteri Nummelin. Nummelin, after spending all of last season and the beginning of this year as a defensemen, was asked to play wing. Nummelin's speed and hands allow him to be a successful forward. His presence was felt early, when he fired a pass from the sideboard to the other side of the net to a cutting Mark Parrish to give the Wild a 1-0 lead. It's good to see Nummelin getting into the lineup. With Sean Hill eventually making his return after suspension, that'll make eight defensemen to fill six spots. Anyway Nummelin can get into a lineup is fine with me, because he can play anywhere. Nummelin had 2 assists on the night, his other coming on another Mark Parrish power play goal. The Wild ended up with 4 total power play goals in the game and added another even strength. Niklas Backstrom was, believe it or not, solid yet again. Backstrom has yet to lose to Edmonton in his career, improving his record to 6-0 and had a streak of 209:15 shutout minutes end with Dustin Penner's power play goal in the 2nd.
The Wild continue to impress. While playing solid defense, they have proved that they can win in a variety of different ways. Want to play a special teams game? The Wild will beat you. Want to play an even strength game? The Wild will beat you. Want to TRY and play an end to end game filled with lots of offense? The Wild posess the talent to BEAT YOU. I continue to say the Wild are the best team in the NHL and will stand by that claim. Call me a optimist but every team has to be scared of what the Wild are doing. They already have 20 points on the season and look to be right there at the end of the season.
The Wild have five days off before playing in Colorado on Saturday.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Wild are Victorious.... FINALLY!

For the first time in a week and a half (five games), the Wild ended a game with a victory. It all started October 24 when Minnesota rolled into Calgary, being the only team left in the NHL without a regulation loss. After dominating play in the 1st, the Wild held a 3-0 lead. The Flames proceeded to score 5 unanswered goals. This game began a streak of 5 consecutive losses for the Wild. Although they did pick up a point in the shootout loss to Edmonton, it was an incredibly difficult week to be a Wild fan. Nicklas Backstrom, Marian Gaborik, Pavol Demitra and Wes Walz were all injured and made things tough for the Wild to play a complete game.
Backstrom returned to the lineup Saturday night and returned to old form, giving up 1 goal on 23 shots. Gaborik and Demitra both returned to the lineup two games ago against the Blues, each recording a goal and an assist in the loss. Gaborik had a phenomenal game Saturday, recording two goals and adding an assist.
The scary thing is that the Wild were outshot 24-16 in the game, yet still managed to win by three goals. Their defensive style of play allows for limited scoring chances. Tonight, the Wild made the best of their chances, adding a powerplay goal, another goal just as a penalty expired, and a breakaway goal. If the Wild continue to play well on the powerplay, they should fine.
Brian Rolston recorded his team leading 7th goal Saturday. Rolston scored via his patented rocket slap shot.