Glen Andresen's Five Takeaways vs. Colorado
You can look at a 1-0 Minnesota Wild victory as uneventful if that’s your thing. But it’s probably better to focus on the two points. Or the fact that Niklas Backstrom pitched his second shutout of the season. Or that Devin Setoguchi scored a goal for the second straight game, this one coming with just 2:31 remaining in regulation. Or that Nick Schultz played his 700th game. Or that the Wild’s frat boy blueline played another strong game with yet another addition to the group – Kris Fredheim.
Oh, and again, the Wild picked up another two points and padded their lead in the division over Edmonton. The Wild is now enjoying a five point lead on second place Edmonton, which is down by three in the first to Ottawa as this is being written.
“You could see execution wise we were having a tough time out there,” said Head Coach Mike Yeo. “But as I said we have a team full of fighters…We hung in there long enough and raised our game enough to come away with a win.”
Schultz played his 700th game tonight, and he’ll probably always remember at least one thing about it. In the second period with the game still deadlocked at 0-0, Schultz hopped into the play and was hit with a perfect pass from Mikko Koivu.
Despite not being an offensive defenseman, he did everything you should do. He held the puck, made a nice move to get Jean-Sebastien Giguere to slide completely out of his crease. The only problem was Jan Hejda somehow got his stick on the puck just as it was sliding toward the goal.
The Wild has had a few plays like that over the last few games go their way. This time, it did not. A guy who has played 700 games deserves better does he not?
"He’s not going to go out and knock anybody out, but he’ll go into the corners, he’ll compete, he’ll win his battles, he thinks the game well, reads the play well, keeps the play in front of him and can execute. He's not going to go out and dazzle everybody with his skill level, but he'll execute the way we want it executed."
That Yeo knows his stuff. Fredheim didn’t blow anybody away in his 10:13 of ice time, but he certainly didn’t look out of place. He was steady and didn’t make any mistakes, which is what you’d want out of an NHL debut for a defenseman with his parents in the crowd.
Before Setoguchi’s clutch goal, there wasn’t a ton of memorable plays, but I’ll dedicate the last two takeaways to my favorite. Cal Clutterbuck can obviously deliver big hits, but most of his hits are for the sole purpose of knocking a guy off the puck. Sometimes it’s just a shoulder bump or a hard shove against the boards.
Then again, there are the signature hits that go on his resume and he added one tonight. Hejda, who earlier prevented Schultz’s goal, turned around in his own corner to find Clutterbuck hitting him so hard that Hejda’s stick broke in half. Here…just watch.
At 6-foot-4, Justin Falk is one big defenseman, but he plays a pretty calm game. But the mild-mannered guy didn’t like the way that Avs winger David Jones left his feet to deliver a monstrous hit to the head at the Wild blueline. That stoked a fire in Falk, who got right up and pummeled Jones to the ice with a massive punch after the two dropped their gloves. Falk was saddled with an instigating minor, but he also received a big ovation from the fans, and from his teammates when he returned to the bench from the penalty box.