Glen Andresen's Five Takeaways at San Jose
So the Minnesota Wild is atop the National Hockey League standings. The Houston Aeros are atop the American Hockey League standings. Eight Wild prospects are going to be named to their national teams for the upcoming World Junior Championships. And the Wild is going to be moving to a new conference with better rivals and more opponents in the Central time zone?
What is going on here?
You take major contributors off the Wild roster, and they keep winning, like they did in San Jose tonight, 2-1. You take players off Houston and bring them to Minnesota, and the Aeros keep winning, like they did in a 6-1 pasting of the San Antonio Rampage tonight.
You give the San Jose Sharks a 1-0 lead in the first minute of the game, lose your staring goaltender and then bring in a 21-year-old who has never played an NHL minute and he stops 34 shots and doesn’t allow a goal.
Seriously, what the hell is going on here? This doesn't happen to teams very often, where both pro and minor league affiliates are sitting at the top in December.
“Really impressive,” said Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo of his rookie goaltender’s performance. “Really impressive and it’s not an easy team to go in and play your first game against. It’s not an easy situation to go in and play your first game. But he was in control all night.”
The last time the Wild called up a goaltender that got into a game and won his debut, it was the bubbly Anton Khudobin. Khudobin was the epitome of the stereotypical goaltender. He was odd, hilarious and um…pudgy.
Hackett is not Khudobin. He’s stoic, quiet and sinewy. But man, he is athletic and he was never out of position tonight. He helped the Wild withstand a first period onslaught that had the Sharks leading in shots at one point midway through the first, 16-1.
Hackett might not be one and done, either. His entrance came as a result of an injury to Josh Harding, who was knocked in the head by Nick Schultz during a play in front. Harding’s status is not known, but Niklas Backstrom is nearing a return to health and will put his groin to the test in tomorrow’s practice.
That spells doom against this Wild squad. Mikko Koivu whacked in a Dany Heatley rebound. Just before the end of the first, Pierre-Marc Bouchard ended the scoring by picking his spot on a power play wrister.
The Wild is now 12-6-0 when allowing the first goal, and they’ve won the last four when doing that on the road.
Accompanying the Wild on this road trip is cameraman and video editor extraordinaire, Dusty Peterson. He’s the man who has been giving you the behind the scenes videos thus far on this trip, and here’s is latest…and best: The Wild’s locker room celebration after winning their fifth in a row for the third time this season.
In addition to Harding, the Wild also lost Devin Setoguchi to injury. He left after the first period and did not return due to a lower body injury. Head Coach Mike Yeo did not have an update immediately following the game, and he said he wasn’t sure that Setoguchi or Harding would be available on Thursday in Los Angeles.