Mike Doyle's Five Takeaways vs. Florida
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 3-2 win against the Florida Panthers:
After a dominant opening period, in which the Wild jumped out to a two-goal lead, the team took its foot off the gas and allowed the Panthers to claw its way back into the game in the third. But Minnesota picked up the pace when it needed to, almost like it flipped a switch, and earned its fifth-straight home victory.
Minnesota looked like it almost got bored in this game before it was tested in the third and hit the accelerator to get the win. While it’s good to see that the Wild can pick it up when it needs to, Head Coach Mike Yeo wasn’t happy with the third period. The good news is that Minnesota is pulling out the close victories and walks away with two big points. Tonight will serve as a learning experience that when the team has the chance to put an opponent away, it needs to capitalize on that opportunity. But in the end, a win is a win, so celebrate this one State of Hockey Legion.
Charlie Coyle sure has some great timing. On the night his Becoming Wild episode premiers on FOX Sports North, he scores his second goal of the season. The episode follows him to his hometown of East Weymouth, Mass., where he moved back in with his parents over the summer. How cool is that, the 21-year-old still lives at home during the offseason?
He must love his mamma’s home cooking because Coyle is growing into a prototypical power forward. On his game-winning goal, he showed why he is such a prized young player in the organization. Coyle used his big frame to easily outmuscle Panthers’ defenseman Mike Mottau at the side of the net, then used his soft hands to tuck Mikko Koivu’s pass from behind the cage past goaltender Tim Thomas. Since returning from his knee sprain, Coyle has four points (2-2=4) in five games.
It’s been a while (or maybe the first time?) since the Wild has had a couple of players engaged in a high-volume, goal-scoring race. Every time that Zach Parise thinks he’s gaining ground on the Wild goal leader, Jason Pominville, the winger has an answer. Tonight was no different, Parise scored the game’s first goal for his 10th of the season, but Pominville answered later in the opening period for his 12th.
It’s been a blast to watch them try to one-up each other this season. Both have scored highlight reel goals and dirtier ones, too. One thing about these two, I’m sure they could care less who scores as long as the Wild secures a victory. They are both team-first guys, who are helping Minnesota pile up wins along with their goal totals.
Fortunately, I write my Five Takeaways high above the ice surface in the safe confines of the Al Shaver Press Box. With the exception of a cool breeze that seems to make its way up here occasionally, my computer and me are pretty safe from the on-ice dangers of the National Hockey League. The same cannot be said for the photographers that take the photos for Wild.com. As an amateur shutterbug, I can sympathize with their plight.
Obviously the most hazardous spot is between the benches, deemed the suicide box for good reason. I’ve been stationed there to take photos during scrimmages, and sticks and bodies are flying all around you like planes buzzing King Kong at the top of the Empire State Building. Your only protection is the camera, which you’d take a stick to the face in order to protect the lens. A less hazardous spot at each end of the ice, there are little holes in the corners that photographers can inch their lenses through. I’m no mathematician, but the odds of fitting a puck through that hole during game play have to be slim. However in the second period, Pominville fired a shot wide that wrapped the glass and hit the photographer’s camera, causing his lens shade to fall onto the ice. I can honestly say that I’ve never seen that happen and the play continued as the shade skidded along the ice like the puck.
Tonight, there were a couple of cool things going on at Xcel Energy Center that I could only live vicariously through their participants. First, the organization recognized all the kids who submitted artwork for the Wild’s season ticket book. During the second intermission, the elementary through high school students were on the ice with their awesome artwork. Stick tap to those kids, because lord knows I could never draw that well.
Second, it was Singles Night as the Wild took on the Panthers. Looking for love? Like hockey? Well, tonight was your night and we can only hope Cupid’s arrow hit a few people for the beginning of a beautiful fruitful relationship, or just a few people looking for a hockey-fueled hookup. Sorry ladies, this man is spoken for, but just remember Beyonce when attending these events and make him put a ring on it.