Glen Andresen's Five Takeaways vs. Toronto
Tuesday, 03.22.2011 / 10:30 PM / Features
By Glen Andresen - Manager of Social Media
Following Tuesday’s morning skate at Xcel Energy Center, Head Coach Todd Richards was asked about the trend of teams scoring the first goal and winning a large majority of those games. The Minnesota Wild is no different. When scoring first, Minnesota is 27-2-4.
Richards didn’t have an answer as to why his team is so much better with a lead, but he agreed it was an amazing statistic. Unfortunately, the Wild hasn’t been able to get that first goal since its last win, which was back on March 8 against the Colorado Avalanche.
On Tuesday, the Wild fell behind, and once again it was early: less than two minutes into the first period. Once the Leafs had that goal, they had their game-winner. Minnesota had plenty of chances to get that equalizer, but they couldn’t find the scoring touch that has been missing.
“Three or four breakaways, a two-on-one…Thought we had some good looks, but we weren’t able to finish,” said Richards after the 3-0 loss.
When it comes to scoring chances, they don’t get any better than lone breakaways. The Wild had three clear breakaways in the first two periods. Two came within a minute of each other. John Madden had his first attempt stopped. Then Chuck Kobasew had his attempt blocked. Then Madden had another attempt. He was stopped.
The breakaways are a clear indicator of what was going right two weeks ago, and what’s been going wrong ever since. Every breakaway the Wild had in February seemed to result in a red lamp flashing behind the net. Nowadays, all that’s happening behind the net is the puck bouncing around along the boards.
Who are you Jimmy Reimer? You are an enigma if there ever was one. As I look up your history, I see you were playing in the East Coast Hockey League as recently as last year. What gives you the right to become the darling goaltender of the National Hockey League?
Where did this 16-8-4 record come from? How does Jean-Sebastien Giguere feel about all of this as a backup? Why are you unbeatable on breakaways?
I have more questions about Mr. Reimer than I do answers. The Wild players are in the same boat.
Saying tonight’s referees had a rough night would be like saying the people on the East Coast of Japan have had a spot of bad luck over the past week. It was almost comical looking at the names of Wild players that went to the box in succession. Matt Cullen. Pierre-Marc Bouchard. Andrew Brunette. Those are three guys that would easily qualify for Lady Byng consideration on a yearly basis. They have a combined total of 46 penalty minutes this season.
But the problems tonight weren’t what was called, but what was not. After some ticky tack calls in the early stages, the refs went to Ostrich Land and stuck their heads in the sand in the waning seconds of the first. Cal Clutterbuck skated toward the bench for a change, well away from the play. Nikolai Kulemin wasn’t in his path, but he made sure to get in his way and deliver a hip check that sent Clutterbuck into the air dangerously close to the boards.
More than 18,000 people saw it. The two guys that get paid to see it did not. But don’t worry, folks. The supervisor of officials was in the Al Shaver Press Box tonight, and I’m certain he’ll deal with it. Let me just check to see what his name is…Mick McGeough?!?!?!?
Nevermind. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Give fans of these Canadian teams credit: they know how to have a good time. Two days after Montreal fans stormed Xcel Energy Center and basically had a frat party, the Leafs fans were nearly as boisterous. Immediately after the puck dropped, chants of “Go Leafs Go” filled the arena. For a half hour after the final buzzer, the fans again kept the chant going in the concourses. They had their signs out, their face paint on and their Maple Leaf Canadian flags waving.
We don’t see the Leaf fans much around here. Despite their enthusiasm, I’m not too upset about that.