Mike Doyle's Five Takeaways vs. Edmonton
Following Wild games, Managing Editor Mike Doyle will give the Five Takeaways that he'll remember from each contest. Today, he'll look back at a 6-1 loss against the Edmonton Oilers:
Clearly not the start, middle or outcome the Wild was looking for tonight. If you have this game recorded on your DVR and were holding off on watching, just delete it. The good news, the Wild will get a chance to hit the delete button on this game, as the club gets another chance to clinch a postseason spot tomorrow on the road against the Colorado Avalanche.
The Wild is currently eighth in the Western Conference, tied in points with the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Wild owns the tiebreaker with Columbus. So, if the Blue Jackets lose its final game of the season against the Nashville Predators, the Wild is in. However, you know the boys are not going to want to let things come to that, so expect a bounce-back performance against the Avs tomorrow.
I’m sure this wasn’t the way that Josh Harding envisioned making his return to the NHL, but it was great to see Harding back in the net, regardless of the outcome. The 28-year-old was on Injured Reserve for 33 games as he adjusted to medications related with his multiple sclerosis.
Harding is up for the Bill Masterton Trophy. Nominees are National Hockey League players who, “Exemplify perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to the sport of hockey.” What Harding has been through in the offseason and the perseverance he’s shown this season, while keeping a positive attitude, should have him the top candidate to take home the Masterton Trophy.
The Oilers haven’t booked their summer tee times quite yet. Honestly, it was one of the weirdest games I think I’ve ever seen. The Wild controlled much of the play in the first two period and dominated in shots, but couldn't buy a goal with all all of Tywin Lannister's gold. The young Oilers have a ton of offensive talent up front, but tonight it seemed like they had the Midas Touch on every shot. I’m not sure if every scoring play was highly skilled, highly lucky or a little bit of both.
On the other end of the ice, Nikolai Khabibulin kept Minnesota’s attack quiet making 38 saves on the night. Mikko Koivu scored his 11th goal of the season in the third period and 119th of his career, which ties Andrew Brunette for second all-time in career goals with the Wild. Charlie Cole came out of the corner with the puck made a quick move and lost control of the puck. However, it went right onto the tape of Koivu in the slot and the captain fired it home. Go figure.
With realignment happening next season, I’m not going to miss playing Edmonton as division rivals. Even eliminated from the playoff picture, the Oilers young players showed they have a ton of potential and are a team on the rise.
If you were in the stands at Xcel Energy Center tonight during the 10-minute intermission of the second period, you were part the Wild’s 360 “Fanoramic” photo, a wide angle shot of the interior of the building. At 7 p.m. on Saturday night, check out wild.com/fanoramic (link live at 7 p.m. on Saturday) to see the photo and tag yourself. Seriously, this thing is pretty cool as you can literally zoom in and find yourself in the photo. Fortunately for me, there is a beam that blocks the view of the press box so I’m not visible in the picture.
Stick tap to the Wild creative team for creating these gorgeous team posters, handed out during tonight’s game. If you didn’t make the game, I’m sure someone will put one up on eBay, but I’d hang on to this bad boy for a while—it could be a collector’s item in time. Notice the Wild-head logo in the clouds. We have some creative geniuses at the 317 Offices.