Glen Andresen's Five Takeaways vs. Phoenix
Sunday, 01.02.2011 / 9:22 PM / Features
By Glen Andresen - Manager of Social Media
Now I know how fans at Wimbledon felt after that marathon tennis match that lasted like three days last June. I could use a nice neck massage after this one with how many times my head shifted from looking at one end of the ice, to the other, to the scoreboard to see just how many goals and shots were recorded in the Wild’s mind-blowing 6-5 overtime victory over the Phoenix Coyotes. That’s 11 goals on 73 combined shots (44 for Phoenix, 29 for Minnesota).
Head Coach Todd Richards’ hairline may have receded a couple more inches after a game in which the Wild coughed up a two-goal lead in the third, got the lead back, gave it up, fell behind, tied it and then won it. Did you get all that?
While the Wild did miss a chance to gain a spot in the standings, I doubt anyone in the building could give two grains of Ice Melt after Pierre-Marc Bouchard tied the game with 25.6 seconds left, and Cam Barker scored his first goal since his first game in a Wild uniform, to win this thing in overtime.
“The game was like a movie – drama, at times it was a comedy, at times it was a horror,” said Richards. “But it had a great ending.
I liked the resiliency of our team.”
After the Wild scored two goals in the second period to the Coyotes’ zero, I was already preparing a takeaway that centered on the Wild playing a great second period, which hasn’t exactly been a trend this season. Andrew Brunette scored his second goal of the game and Nick Schultz added another and the Wild looked to be cruising toward a victory after the second period ended.
The Coyotes apparently realized how close things are in the standings and how big these two points were. Scottie Upshall and Keith Yandle scored goals in a span of 13 seconds and suddenly the punching and counterpunching was on. Forget the second period. This third period turned into one of the most bizarre periods in Wild history with six total goals scored.
Of the 11 goals scored in this one, five were scored by defensemen. Schultz, Brent Burns and Barker picked them up for the Wild, while Yandle and the uber annoying Ed Jovanovski scored for Phoenix. Burns increased his team-leading total to 12, which continues his pace to smash his previous record of 15. Schultz bagged his third, which is his highest total since the 2003-04 season, when he totaled six. But the story is Barker, who has been critiqued pretty heavily by coaches and fans alike this season. It had to be hugely satisfying for him to see his shot trickle over the goal line after squeezing through the legs of Jason LaBarbera.
And speaking of LaBarbera…holy five hole! Had he not been playing against the Wild, I would have felt bad for the Phoenix backup who was playing just his 11th game of the season. I counted four of the six Wild goals getting through his pads and sliding over the goal line. Yes, he was probably screened on a couple, and yes…well…I’m not going to come for excuses for the guy. I’d just like to send a memo to all the teams we need to beat Phoenix to aim for the pads if they’re facing LaBarbera. If they’re facing Ilya Bryzgalov, I’ll have to get back to them. I haven’t figured him out yet.
And in the milestone department, Mikko Koivu reached two in what will be a very memorable game for everybody involved. It was the 400th game in his young career, and his assist on Burns’ goal gave him 200 in his Wild career. He added another on Barker’s goal for his fourth of the game, and the 201st of his career. The only other player to reach 200 assists in a Wild uniform was Marian Gaborik who stopped at 218. By the by, Koivu was also a +4 on the night, which was a career-high.