Mike Doyle's Five Takeaways vs. Edmonton
With tonight’s victory, Minnesota is again alone atop of the NHL standings. There are plenty of things to like about this Wild team. My favorite thing about the Wild is its resiliency and the way it responds. This team is more resilient than a nerd in a John Hughes film. For the ninth time this season, the Wild won after allowing its opponent to score first. I’m sure Minnesota would rather not go down two goals and have to comeback, but the fact is, it did comeback.
This year, several players have bounced back after a tough outing with strong performances. Tonight, Colton Gillies was that player after sitting out against Tampa Bay. Gillies delivered the hit of the game in the second period on the 6 foot 6 inch, 245 pound Andy Sutton and had two grade-A scoring chances.
Apparently, Yeo’s end-of-practice shootouts are helping. You might have read the story on October’s “Mustache Boy” on Wild.com. But in case you haven’t (and I highly suggest browsing the feature written by a talented and good looking man) I’ll catch you up to speed. The Wild conduct shootouts at the end of practices, often the day before a game. The players said that the shootouts are mostly for fun and team bonding, but there is nothing that brings a team together like celebrating a shootout victory. And boy have they been bonding; the Wild is 4-1 in shootouts this year.
Kyle Brodziak scored the first shootout goal of his career in the sixth round. Mikko Koivu, Dany Heatley and Pierre-Marc Bouchard all scored pretty goals in earlier rounds. With Edmonton choosing to shoot first, the pressure was on the Wild and the team, again, responded.
Powe is also a feisty player. His injury, while incidental, was just as difficult to watch. Powe slammed into an open door on the Oilers’ bench. Completely unintentional, but equally painful, the open-door/dasher hits are always cringe-worthy. Hopefully both players are not seriously hurt.
During the early stages of November we learned the Wild has depth on the blue line. At the end of the month we started to see its depth up front. Clutterbuck is emerging as a consistent scoring threat and was rewarded with a spot on the top line. Brodziak broke through, scoring his sixth on the season after hitting posts in the last two games. With Clutterbuck out, Nick Johnson stepped onto the line with Matt Cullen and Bouchard, playing possibly his best game in a Wild sweater. Tonight, recent call-up David McIntyre played more than 11 minutes and spent time on the third line. The Wild is surprisingly deep as the pretty girl in a John Hughes film.
Dec. 1 marks the end of Movember. This means we will likely see some fresh faces when the Wild takes on the New Jersey Devils at Xcel Energy Center on Friday. However, Minnesota may want to leave the moustaches for a bit longer. The Wild set a franchise record for wins in a month with 11.
The facial frolics of Movember are always a fun part of the month, but the real reason for the Mos is to raise awareness for men’s health and cancer affecting men. The Wild engaged in battle with the Oilers on the ice. Off it, the teams clashed in the MoGrow Faceoff to raise money for Movember efforts. Shave your ‘stache and make one more donation to Nick Schultz’s Mo Bros page and help the team beat the Oilers one more time in Movember.