Glen Andresen's Five Takeaways vs. Nashville
vs. Philadelphia: November 24
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
The Xcel Energy Center turned into a highlight factory on Black Friday. That did not look like an offensively challenged team out there beating the Nashville Predators by a 5-2 score on Friday afternoon. That was a team that looked like they were trying to outdo each other to get the top spot on SportsCenter’s Top Ten. The same team that had scored just 13 goals in its last eight home games lit the lamp three times in the first period, with each goal getting progressively cooler.
Marek Zidlicky banked a pass off the side of the net to himself before tucking one past Pekka Rinne. Andrew Brunette then fought off Shea Weber before lofting a backhand over Rinne. Then, Martin Havlat blew away everyone with a remarkable move to get between Colin Wilson and Francis Bouillon before darting to the net and sliding one past Rinne as he fell down and slid into the Preds netminder. Nick Schultz’ goal was no slouch, and neither was Havlat’s second of a beautiful feed from Matt Cullen.
In a game filled with offensive exploits, nobody stood out more than Havlat. Either he skipped a traditional Thanksgiving meal yesterday, or turkey and gravy are to Marty what spinach is to Popeye. When he got the puck today, Havlat made the Predators look like Clark Griswold’s family trying to catch a renegade Christmas squirrel. If not for some big saves by Nashville goaltenders, Marty could have challenged Marian Gaborik’s five-goal game the way he was flying around. As it stood, he had to settle for two goals and an assist, giving him 11 points in his last seven games, and at least one point in six games.
The Predators were probably the least surprised spectators, which is exactly what they were as they watched Marty dazzle. He has 34 points (13-21=34) in 34 career games against Nashville.
There’s a reason Cal Clutterbuck is beloved in these parts due to his ability to go hard on every shift, and deliver hard on every check. But when it comes to the agitator role, I’m not sure if there’s anyone more skilled (is that a skill?) than Jordin Tootoo.
With the Wild up 4-1 in the third, there was still time for the Preds to mount a comeback, and Tootoo took it upon himself to help sway some momentum in his team’s favor. He took a pair of runs at Eric Nystrom behind the Wild net, and eventually Ny had enough. He delivered a jolt to the agitator’s back, and when Tootoo spun around as if he was ready to do battle, Nystrom dropped the gloves. Of course, Tootoo kept his on, and Nystrom was the only guy to get the gate. Less than a minute later, Zidlicky took a tripping penalty, and the Predators had more than a minute of a five-on-three advantage.
The Wild did a stupendous job of killing that off, effectively ending Nashville’s hopes. That’s when Tootoo decided he would drop the gloves and he took on Clayton Stoner in a great fight.
Head Coach Todd Richards admitted he was going to have to try some new line combinations after a loss to Philadelphia on Friday. But after 60 minutes of today’s game, I’m still trying to figure out who played with whom. All I know is he threw several chemicals into a beaker and came up with a potion that makes everyone score goals.
Patrick O’Sullivan moved to the top line with Brunette and Mikko Koivu, and registered an assist on Bruno’s goal. He now has a point in both games in Minnesota. Havlat played with Cullen and Kyle Brodziak, and he broke out with three points. Antti Miettinen dropped down to play with John Madden and Clutterbuck and they were a combined +3.
Robbie Earl again brought fantastic energy to the fourth line, and it appears he’ll be around for a while longer. Matt Kassian was reassigned to Houston shortly after the game’s conclusion.
Working for the Wild, I’ve had the opportunity to see and do many things, but what I did today is going at the top of my resume. Immediately following the game, I went down to the ice level where I was in charge of directing 1,133 dudes with moustaches on the ice for a photo shoot. When all was said and done, I, along with the other 1,132 can say we were a part of history, setting the Guinness World Record for most moustachioed men in one place. Brent Burns, Cal Clutterbuck, Brad Staubitz and Nick Schultz, the captain of the Minnesota Mo Bro Movember push, joined the throng of Mo Bros. The tally is unofficial until Guinness verifies it, but I think it’s safe to say the previous record of 151 is as extinct as my moustache is going to be at the end of the month.
Here's a photo. I'm the guy waving with a moustache.