Glen Andresen's Five Takeaways vs. Detroit
Saturday, 10.29.2011 / 11:01 PM / Minnesota Wild | Features
By Glen Andresen - Manager of Social Media
It can seem like Josh Harding is just the backup goaltender getting thrown to the wolves when the Detroit Red Wings come calling. He sits on the bench for every game this season, except when the perennial powers from the Motor City are the opponent. That doesn’t seem fair, but it also doesn’t seem to bother Harding.
Harding was masterful two weeks ago in his season debut in a 3-2, 38-save losing effort. Tonight, he was…whatever word dwarfs masterful. In stopping 36 shots, Harding denied an angry Wings team that was desperately trying to halt a three-game losing skid.
Harding was brilliant in posting just the second Wild shutout ever against Detroit, with the first coming in March of 2003 when Dwayne Roloson backstopped the Wild to their playoff-clinching victory.
There were plenty of amazing Harding stops in this one, but undoubtedly this was the best.
“Unbelievable,” gushed Head Coach Mike Yeo. “He was great. He makes a save that you don’t expect and it’s amazing what a lift that gives your team.”
Dany Heatley scored his third goal of the season and extended his point streak to four games. Heatley’s previous two goals this season were his pretty tip in the home opener, and of course his last second punch in that tied the game in Edmonton.
But this goal was a Heatley goal. The kind he’s been putting in throughout his brilliant career. After a great play by Mikko Koivu to chip the puck out of the Wild zone, Heatley calmly skated up the right side and then wired a shot where the far post meets the cross bar. A pure snipe from one of the best in the game.
Tonight didn’t mark an NHL debut for any of the Wild’s Nickelodeon-watching defensemen: Jared Spurgeon, Nate Prosser, Marco Scandella and Justin Falk. But this had to be one of the biggest welcome to the NHL games for all four of them.
They were fantastic, and I thought Prosser was great for his first game this year in a Wild sweater. I don’t know if I’m biased or what, but it seems like every time he plays in a Wild game, he looks like the best blueliner out there. He was steady, physical and made smart plays. I just like watching the Colorado College Tiger play.
Heads up folks. You’ve got a referee rant upcoming. Turn away if you are like me and hate to listen to people complaining about poor officiating.
That said, I have a major issue with one call in this game, and it was not the Nick Johnson goal in the first period that was waved off after replay. While I didn’t like that call it was tough to argue that Johnson didn’t kick the puck. It was pretty obvious he kicked it to prevent it from sliding past and not to direct it toward the goal. Still, tough to argue.
No, the play that got me was a four-minute highsticking call given to Devin Setoguchi in the third period. Setoguchi was battling with Todd Bertuzzi all night (a nice way to endear yourself to your new fans in Minnesota by the way). At one point, he skated at him and delivered a late hit. As he fell down, Setoguchi’s stick came up and clipped Bertuzzi in the nose. It was not intentional, but certainly a penalty as it drew blood and Setoguchi wasn’t in control of his stick.
The problem I have is the refs completely missed the play and never blew the play dead when the Wild touched the puck. No arm was raised. It wasn’t until the Detroit bench started going looney over the play that the refs decided to deal the penalty to Setoguchi.
Way to stand tall zebras. You just opened yourselves up to players and coaches complaining over every missed call. You set a precedent that the right amount of insane screaming will get you what you want.
Finally, we have to give away the Five Takeaway best costume award for 2011. Last year, the honors went to the gals dressed up in Looney Tune costumes. This year, it seemed like there were fewer people caught up in the spirit of Halloween. Still, I’m pretty certain I know who the winner is.
Coming in at third, I’ll go with the trio of Captain Hook, Peter Pan and Tinkerbell. To be honest, I never saw them until I watched them get escorted out of the building by security after the game. Still, whatever shenanigans they were up to can’t take away from great costumes, am I right?
For the runner up prize, I’ll give it to the guys who came as Harry Dunne and Lloyd Christmas, complete with the baby blue and orange tuxedos. It turns out they wanted second. That’s why they were put down for four.
As for the winner, I’m going with the Darth Vader in a referee outfit. Now, seeing guys dressed up as Darth Vader always reminds me of the Triumph the Insult Comic Dog Star Wars bit (YouTube it on your own if you don’t know what I’m referring to). But still, the refs sweater was a nice touch. Congrats Darth. The crown is yours until next year.