Carly Peters' Five Takeaways at Dallas
Friday, 03.11.2011 / 11:45 PM / Features
By Carly Peters - Media Relations Coordinator
It's really amazing how 91, or even 18 seconds of a 60-minute game can define the evening. The final score is the same, but tonight's contest was nothing like last night's game in Nashville. The Wild did not have it last night. Tonight, they had jump from the drop of the puck and were close to tying the 1-0 game numerous times during a great stretch during the second period. Then, there was a 91-second span that still has me scratching my head and I'm sure is even more mind boggling for the Wild.
After the Wild was dominating in the Dallas zone, the Stars finally broke up the ice and got a chance on the Wild net. A relatively routine shot was taken, but the puck unfortuitously hit the stick of Kyle Brodziak in front of the net and deflected past Jose Theodore. It seemed unfair that the Wild's great showing in the second period had somehow left them with their deficit doubled. Then, the real trouble happened.
Tom Wandell turned and fired a puck from a tricky angle on the right side of the net that squeezed under Jose Theodore's pads before he could get set. Then, just 18 seconds later, Matt Cullen made an uncharacteristically bad pass as he turned behind the Wild net and sent the puck up the middle and directly to Mike Ribeiro who scored on a point-blank attempt all by himself.
When the dust of confusion cleared, the Wild had given up three goals in 1:31, a new team record for a span of three goals against and one the team wishes it didn't have in the record books tonight.
As painful as the past two 4-0 losses have been for the team and its fans, its important to recognize that the Wild's season did not end tonight. Were the past two games important and did the Wild desperately want to win them? Of course. Is the Wild still only four points out of a playoff spot? Yes.
Just by looking at the face of the Wild players and staff, you can tell how badly this team wants to win. If anything, they're probably gripping their sticks a little too tightly because of the pressure of this playoff race. Minnesota has faced adversity this season, and its the solid play in the face of that adversity, which has put the team in a position to chase a spot in the postseason. Now, the Wild just has to respond to adversity again.
"We have to find a way," said Head Coach Todd Richards after the game. "The only way we can get out of this is through hard work and it's going to be with each other."
On a team filled with a myriad of young, spry and fast players, it was the two oldest guys on the Wild roster leading the charge tonight. Both John Madden and Andrew Brunette looked like men possessed in the second period as they played alongside Martin Havlat and nearly tied the game 1-1 on numerous occasions.
The 37-year-old forwards haven't spent much time together on the ice this season, but the duo looked so good tonight Todd Richards might want to consider giving the pair a second look. As usual, Brunette owned the area around the net, while Madden stole pucks from opponents and jammed around in the offensive zone. Perhaps most important about their performance tonight was the fact that the pair seemed to dominate despite being out on the ice for minutes upon minutes at a time.
As Minnesota hopes to have Cal Clutterbuck and Mikko Koivu back in the lineup in Vancouver Monday, the Wild now has another injury concern. In just his third game back from a 58-game absence, Guillaume Latendresse left the game in the second period and did not return. Latendresse looked comfortable in the first period, noticeably driving to the net and getting more involved in the play than he had been in his previous two games.
The news after the game did not sound good. Todd Richards said simply, "There's something." The Wild Head Coach confirmed that Latendresse's injury is lower body, but said the extent of the injury was unknown. Wild fans can only help that it is not serious, as Latendresse is still trying to work his way back to shape from five invasive surgeries this fall.
What the heck is going on in Dallas? It's a weird game like tonight that really makes you think the Wild had to have walked under some ladders, passed some black cats and broken a plethora of mirrors at some point in the American Airlines Arena. With the loss tonight, the Wild is 0-10-4 in its last 14 games in Dallas, Minnesota's longest losing streak in another building. Minnesota's last win in Dallas was so long ago, it was pre-lockout: a 3-2 overtime win on March 21, 2003.