Following Wild games, Managing Editor Mike Doyle will give the Five Takeaways that he'll remember from each contest. Today, he'll look back at a 2-0 loss against the St. Louis Blues:
The Wild ran into another hot goalie tonight, as Blues netminder Brian Elliott extended his shutout streak to 189:31. Tonight’s game was the netminder’s third-straight shutout.
The Wild owned much of the play throughout the game, but just was unable to finish on its opportunities. After the game, Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo said that the team played a strong game against a quality opponent and just came up short.
“We’ve got nothing to hang our head about,” Yeo said. “We’ve got to quit giving up the first goal. The bottom line is we didn’t finish.
“I’m not saying we can’t be better around here, we can. What we’re learning is that the final push is the hardest.”
When things are not going your way and you’re slumping, there is not a worse feeling in hockey. Guys get antsy and start trying weird tactics like throwing their sticks in trashcans in order to finish off garbage goals.
“There’s a lot of gripping the stick, but it’s something we need to learn how to deal with it,” Yeo said.
Dealing with pressure is something that Jonas Brodin, Ryan Suter and Jared Spurgeon all do on a nightly basis. They might be three of the best defenseman in the league at avoiding hits from oncoming forecheckers. Not only are they shifty, they are able to feel where the opponents are coming from and anticipate where the best path for an outlet is a step before retrieving the puck.
Tonight in the second period, Suter and Brodin both made the Blues attackers look silly by avoiding contact. First, Brodin went into the corner with Ryan Reaves hot on his trail. Reaves is a 6-foot-1, 224-pound missile on the forecheck, whose primary purpose is to pulverize defensemen. Brodin used a stutter-step move and curled away from him with the puck and out of harms way. Suter used a similar move to avoid Vladimir Tarasenko. He gracefully sidestepped him like a matador moving out of the way of a charging bull. Tarasenko missed so badly he tumbled into the wall behind the net.
In the third period, the Wild bench was extremely thin, as several players went to the Wild locker room. Suter didn’t return after the second period intermission. After the game, Yeo didn’t give an update or what was ailing the blueliner, but had this to say, ““I just talked to him and we’re confident he’ll be fine.”
Cal Clutterbuck went into the boards hard after getting dumped by Ryan Reaves as he went to the net looking for a rebound. He skated off the ice and went to the Wild locker room. However, Clutterbuck is one tough customer and returned to the ice.
Mike Rupp is also a tough customer and took a puck to the face in the third period. Rupp was stunned momentarily, but didn’t go down and finished the shift as the puck was in the D-zone. He went to the locker room to receive stiches, but returned to finish out the game. You only see that kind of stuff in hockey folks.
A few weeks back, I said the Internet could be simultaneously the best and worst thing ever invented. Well, tonight it was the worst thing ever. As I was live Tweeting the game (give us a follow @mnwildLIVE), Pierre-Marc Bouchard took a puck off the noggin after on an attempted Jared Spurgeon dump in. Bouchard, who has a history of concussions but has been unaffected all season, looked shaken up on the play.
After speaking to the trainer, Bouchard looked okay on the bench and returned a few shifts later. I tweeted he returned to the ice and this is what some idiot responded with, “tooo bad really hoped he had another concussion.” I realized that this guy is just trolling (one of the reasons I’m not including his Twitter handle), but seriously how big of a loser do you have to be to throw that kind of stuff out there?
It was just a bad night up here in the Al Shaver Press Box. Not only did the Wild lose, my St. Cloud State Huskies were ousted in the semifinal of the Frozen Four in Pittsburgh against Quinnipiac, 4-1. There are going to be a lot of tears in that locker room tonight as seniors Ben Hanowski, Taylor Johnson and Drew LeBlanc have played their last game—I know, I’ve been there. It’s a crushing defeat and it will feel like the world has ended, especially for a team that has done something that no other Husky team has ever done: win the MacNaughton Cup and advance to the Frozen Four. But keep your chin up boys, Husky Nation is proud of you, #GOHUSKIESWOOOO!
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