Glen Andresen's Five Takeaways vs. Columbus
Saturday, 03.19.2011 / 4:00 PM / Minnesota Wild | Features
By Glen Andresen - Manager of Social Media
Prior to the Minnesota Wild’s game against the San Jose Sharks on Thursday, it was determined the team would need to go 8-3-1 over the last 12 games to reach 94 points, which would conceivably be enough to get the team into the eighth and final playoff spot. After Saturday’s 5-4 overtime loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Wild has used up one of those regulation losses and the overtime loss.
There are now 10 games left on the schedule in which to make up at least five points and leapfrog three other teams. Basically, the Wild needs to win eight games. They’ve won eight out of 10 games before – most recently from mid January to mid February.
But in order to do that again, the Wild needs to snap a five-game losing streak. It appeared primed to end it at four today with a furious third-period rally and a dominant overtime. But as was the case in Vancouver and San Jose, the Wild couldn’t get that deciding bounce to go their way.
“At times it was a really good game,” said Head Coach Todd Richards. “At times it was a really chaotic game. At times there was little emotion and little energy. And at the end there was a lot of emotion and a lot of energy.”
There haven’t been many games this year where you’ve walked away saying the Wild had no answer for one particular player. There have been individual players that have played good games against the Wild, but I don’t remember any that showed the type of performance that Rick Nash did on Saturday afternoon.
He was an absolute beast, scoring two goals and assisting on two others. He had seven shots on goal and more than a handful of scoring chances. He was pretty much unstoppable.
At least, if the Wild was going to lose in overtime, you would have thought it would be Nash who figured in the winning goal. Instead, it was Antoine Vermette who took advantage of a mistaken clearing attempt and fired home the game-winner.
I’ve decided that an angry Mikko Koivu is an effective Mikko Koivu. Earlier this week, he had his stick snapped by a Vancouver forward. He responded by getting a new twig, skating by the Vancouver bench and talking smack, and then promptly scored a goal.
In the second period, he got tangled up in a scrap with Scottie Upshall that resulted in two minute minors for both players. Immediately upon leaving the box, Upshall went after Koivu again and ran him with a hit away from the play. Seconds later, the Wild captain gathered the puck and dished to Cal Clutterbuck for a one-time go-ahead goal.
Someone needs to slap Koivu across the face with a pair of leather gloves right before tomorrow’s opening faceoff against the Montreal Canadiens, which by the way is going to start at 5:00 p.m., and not 6:00 p.m. as it probably states on your pocket schedule and ticket.
I am not going to nominate myself to slap Koivu, and I also am not going to nominate Brad Staubitz. The Wild’s top fighter wasn’t Rick Nash out there today, but he was a huge factor early in the game. He buried his first goal in a Wild sweater to tie the score at 1-1 in the first period. In the second, he laid out Sami Lepisto with a huge hit behind the Columbus net. That brought in Derek Dorsett, who instigated a fight and was summarily beaten until he was a pile of red, white and blue on the ice.
Stauby finished one assist shy of the Gordie Howe hat trick, but he showed why he has been such a valuable piece to this team this year.
Marco Scandella can’t seem to catch a break this season. When he’s healthy, he’s shown the promise of being the Wild’s best defensive prospect. Unfortunately, he’s been the victim of some freak injuries, and that trend continued today. He blocked a shot from Dorsett and it was revealed that he broke his finger. The Wild will call up a defenseman to take Scandella’s place because Marek Zidlicky isn’t ready to return from a lower body injury.