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Canucks Send Wild Away With Nothing

Game recap from JS Landry of Hockey Wilderness. Be sure to check out the full game re-cap for the three stars of the game, and the answers to the Five Questions of the Game.

after the Wild played two absolute stinkers on the weekend, they had the NHL-best Canucks to play against next… Oh goody. The good news here is that the Wild has done relatively well this year against the Canucks, seeing as they’re the only Northwest Division team to give the Canucks any regulation losses. Another bit of good news for us? Roberto Luongo was in net tonight. The Wild have been Luuuuuu’s kryptonite for a while now and the Nucks probably know it since back-up Cory Schneider has been used 4 times against the Wild this year (3 starts, 1 back-up) The bad news though? None of that made a lick of difference tonight.

The first period was crap. No other way to put it. The Wild played decent enough in the offensive zone, but it was a defensive mess. We were also hurt by penalties, as the Nucks capitalized on both their powerplay chances and seeing as they’ve got the best powerplay in the league, playing disciplined should be a no-brainer. Basically, the goals came too easy and Niklas Backstrom was rather weak on the first two, but to be fair, he was screened on both. The goals came off the sticks of Raffi Torres, Daniel Sedin and Ryan Kesler. One of the true symbols of the Wild’s recent play was when Cal Clutterbuck whiffed on a hit and ended up cartwheeling into the Nucks bench.. Pretty much summed up the Wild’s season right there, swing and miss. To be fair though, the judges gave him a 8.8 for the cartwheel, but he got screwed by the russian judge, those guys can be strict.

In the second period, the Wild were given about 5 straight powerplay minutes, including a pretty lengthy 5 on 3 advantage, but it was a pretty futile series of powerplay in which they nearly allowed a shorty with two more men on the ice than the Canucks. It was pretty painful to watch and Luuuuuuuu clearly came prepared. After all that though, the Wild finally found a way to score their first goal since scoring 5 nearly a full week ago against the Avs. The goal came off of Andrew Brunette’s Sorry Tom crashing the net. 3-1 after two periods. Would the Wild mount a comeback?

No, but they almost did. Mikko Koivu proved how badly he was missed by scoring a goal after getting his stick chopped in half and getting another one on the bench (as opposed to stealing one of an opposing player, because we all know how good an idea THAT was), he entered the offensive zone, got the pass, buried it backhanded. They got another slew of powerplay chances in the third period, but they just couldn’t find the back of the net and that truly killed the Wild (along with allowing 3 goals in the first). Kesler buried an empty netter to bury the Wild. Once again, the Wild lost while outshooting their opponent. You’d think they would learn by now, no?

Just like the previous 4-1 loss to the Canucks, the Wild actually dominated for the majority of the game, but they just couldn’t find any offense. You know what’s sad? Seeing as Kaptain Koivu notched two points tonight, if he hadn’t come back, it’s quite possible we would’ve been shutout AGAIN! He was amazing tonight, truly he was missed.

So the Wild come up short once again, and are now in a 3 game skid which will very likely make this season another lost one. It’s a shame really, because we actually believed, once again, that the Wild were going to make it. Of course, it’s not over until it’s over, but they’ve dug themselves into a hole and they will need to string a bunch of wins together while hoping a few teams hit a wall, and in the past few years, they’ve shown an inability to get those precious late-season wins.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.