Mike Doyle's Five Takeaways vs. Nashville
Following Wild games, Managing Editor Mike Doyle will give the Five Takeaways that he'll remember from the contest. Tonight, he looks back at a 2-1 overtime home win against the Nashville Predators:
It took Devin Setoguchi 11 games and some change to break through with a goal, but the wait was worth it tonight, as the Wild forward propelled the team to an overtime win against the Predators.
After being demoted to the fourth line early this week, Setoguchi responded with two strong games, capping off his play tonight with a one-time blast on the power play.
Setoguchi is an offensive threat when he moves his feet and crashes the net, and over the last two games, he’s done it effectively. Tonight he was rewarded for his work with the OT winner. Timing is everything in life, and with the Wild losing its last three games, Setoguchi couldn’t have picked a better time to get his first of the year.
Niklas Backstrom had a big bounce-back game tonight, after he was pulled from Thursday’s loss to the Canucks. After the team’s morning skate Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo said he wanted to give the netminder a chance to respond. He did with a gem of a game, making 25 saves, many of them clutch.
His best save came in overtime. After a save and some scrambling in the Wild’s end, Sergei Kostitsyn picked up the puck behind the net and found David Legwand in the slot, who fired a one-timer on net. Backstrom went from the right post to the left post, sliding and getting his glove up to extend the game. Here, take a look at the save yourself, as I’m not sure Walt Whitman could accurately describe the save and give it justice with words.
Cal Clutterbuck went Timex scoring in the second period, as he took a licking behind the net but kept on ticking and tipped home his second goal of the season. Clutterbuck found himself in an unusual spot, on the forecheck as he got dumped behind the net, but jarred the puck loose to linemate Matt Cullen. The veteran walked out and found Ryan Suter at the point. Meanwhile, Clutterbuck dusted himself off and busted to the net. Suter improved his angle and floated a wrister towards the Nashville goal. Clutterbuck knocked the puck downward through goaltender Chris Mason’s legs.
Clutterbuck must be a good video gamer because he has some great hand-eye coordination. Both of the forward’s goals on the season have come from redirecting pucks out of the air. This also shows his grit and willingness to get to the front of the net to get into those situations.
It took Suter a little time to adjust to the Minnesota Wild’s systems, but the defenseman looked really comfortable on the blue line against his former team. Aside from chipping in offensively with two assists (he picked up the second assist on Setoguchi’s OT winner), he was a beast in the defensive end and playing two ticks over 30 minutes.
With Minnesota shorthanded, the mild mannered Suter went into beast mode. All night the Preds were giving Backstrom a hard time in front of the net, and apparently Suter had seen enough. Colin Wilson was posted right in the goalies grill on Nashville’s power play, when Suter went back and dropped him like a sack of sugar. After leveling Wilson, he found the puck and cleared it the length of the ice for a shift change. Known more as a puck-moving defender, Suter showed his nasty streak on the play, something I think we’ll see more of as the season goes on.
It’s great to see a big grinder get a breakaway chance. Nashville had the Wild pinned in the defensive zone when Shea Weber took a shot from the point. Tough-guy Mike Rupp blocked the shot and the puck dribbled out to center ice, and the 6-foot-5 forward was off to the races.
Rupp had Weber trailing him but was able to separate, showing a surprising burst of breakaway speed. Rupp looked like a Mac Truck barreling down a highway. He pulled a forehand-to-backhand move and tried to slip the puck past Mason, but the Preds’ netminder stuck out his left pad to get over just in time. Rupp isn’t known for his goal-scoring prowess, but showed off some skill, even though he didn’t convert.