Mike Doyle's Five Takeaways at Buffalo
Saturday, 03.24.2012 / 10:53 PM / Features
By Mike Doyle - Managing Editor
Minnesota jumped out to a first-period lead, but the streaking Buffalo Sabres came back and broke the Wild’s two-game winning streak. After Steve Kampfer’s first period goal, the Wild was unable to solve goaltender Ryan Miller.
This game turned out to be a goaltenders’ duel, with both making several high-quality saves. The Wild started hot, peppering Miller with 16 shots in the first period, however the Sabres came back in the second with 17 shots of their own. Harding was tested, and in his third-straight start, he stopped a number of shots from close range. Harding ended up making 34 saves, many of them on one-timers…
Watching nearly a full season of NHL hockey, you start to realize the differences between the major leaguers and everyone else. Maybe the biggest difference is their ability to fire the puck, primarily on one-timers. Tonight’s game looked like SEGA’s NHL 94 with the amount of one-time shots.
The one-timer is all about timing, body positioning and hand-eye coordination. Kampfer’s first-period goal was a perfectly executed one-timer. He opened up his hips before the puck arrived and perfectly timed both the speed of the pass and the swing of his stick through the contact zone. Not only did he have to time the speed of the pass as it slid across, he had to time when to swing his stick through the contact zone. It helps that Kampfer had a pretty nice pass to work with…
Kyle Brodziak should’ve sent that puck across with a napkin because there was so much sauce on the pass to Kampfer. It was a little soy, marinara and honey mustard all rolled into a sweet play that was sour for the Sabres. With the assist, Brodziak extended his scoring streak to four games, but I’m sure he wouldn’t care because of the end result. However, that pass was still one of the spiciest sauces we’ve seen this season.
We haven’t seen the Sabres this season, but they seemed to have a game plan: get to the net. Starting in the second period, there were numerous occasions where a Buffalo player was planted in front of Harding. However, as many times as there was someone standing near the crease, the Wild defenders were giving them shots and clearing them out. In the second, Travis Turnbull tried to get to the net and Nate Prosser gave him a few shots. Then, Nick Johnson came in and tossed Turnbull onto the ground. Johnson and Turnbull ended up getting into a scrap while other players on the ice tied up. After that scrap, the Sabres seemed a little more reluctant to stand in near the blue paint. Regardless of how this season goes, you love to see players sticking up for their teammates and the Wild has done it all season.
As if we haven’t had to report on enough injuries this season, Matt Cullen might have a broken finger. In the third period he went to block a shot, but the puck caught him on the inside of the hand. He missed the remainder of the game. The Wild will likely have to call up an emergency forward as it plays the Washington Capitals tomorrow. “Unbelievable,” is all I can say about this season and the number of injuries the Wild has suffered.