Glen Andresen's Five Takeaways vs. Philadelphia
vs. New York Rangers: November 20
at Detroit: November 19
vs. Anaheim: November 17
at Florida: November 12
at Atlanta: November 11
at Columbus: November 6
vs. Calgary: November 5
vs. San Jose: November 2
vs. Chicago: October 30
vs. Washington: October 28
vs. Los Angeles: October 25
at Vancouver: October 23
Sometimes the dragon wins. The Philadelphia Flyers came into Xcel Energy Center as one of the hottest teams in the National Hockey League, and they left St. Paul leaving little doubt as to why after a 6-1 takedown of the Minnesota Wild. The Flyers definitely benefitted from some fortuitous bounces, but good teams create those by always buzzing around the opposition’s net. Niklas Backstrom might have dropped 15 pounds after tonight’s game considering how many times he had to pick himself up off the ice. He dropped back-to-back home starts for the first time since March 31 to April 2.
You might have thought Wild Head Coach Todd Richards would be disappointed in a 6-1 loss, but he was pleased with the way his team performed up until the Flyers broke away midway through the third. He thought his team performed better offensively, and had more chances that recent games, but couldn’t find or hit the net often enough.
Patrick O’Sullivan made his Wild debut after being drafted by Minnesota in 2003, and then playing for three other NHL teams before getting here. O’Sullivan showed why the Wild jumped at the chance to claim him off waivers. Brought here to ease the loss of Guillaume Latendresse and provide an offensive spark, Pat O delivered the only Wild goal in the second period. He banked a pass off the leg of Andrej Meszaros, which wasn’t exactly enough to make any highlight reels. But considering had a lone breakaway and missed just minutes earlier, I’m sure he’ll take it.
When a team loses by five goals, it’s pretty rare to have a player named one of the three stars. But Cal Clutterbuck was selected as the third star of the game. He didn’t have a point, but he was still doing his thing. Clutterbuck finished the night with a career-high 12 hits. Yes, 12 hits! Coming into the night, Clutter ranked second in the League behind Ryan Callahan, who looked to have a comfortable lead of 11 heading into action. Not anymore. Clutterbuck has regained the top spot in the NHL in hits.
Matt Kassian was called up yesterday to provide a physical presence, and he did exactly that. For evidence, you can either ask Jody Shelley, or look at his face. Early in the game, Shelley gave the rookie a chance, and he may be regretting it. Kassian might have landed 20 punches in the bout and easily came away with the decision after a marathon brawl. When both players returned to the benches after serving their five minutes, KSTC-TV showed a split screen of the two combatants. Kassian’s face looked unscathed, while Shelley looked like Leatherface. But Shelley, who took part in many battles with Derek Boogaard over the years, did end up scoring his first goal of the year late in the game.
Since he injured his knee in an off-ice accident in early September, we haven’t seen much of or heard much from James Sheppard. Shepp addressed the media for the first time since the accident during tonight’s intermission. He started off by apologizing for not talking until now, but said he wanted to “get back to where he wanted to be to contribute to this team.”
Sheppard said he is doing really well in his rehab, saying he’s “ahead of the curve, working with Don Fuller, John Worley and Travis Green. The range of motion, the swelling is going down, and I’m getting my left leg as strong as my right leg.”
Sheppard is currently working on an underwater treadmill and didn’t have a date in mind for a return to skating. But he said he is having more good days than bad, and said “I’m definitely on the right track.”
To see Sheppard’s meeting with the media, you can view the full video here.