Maybe the Wild are saving their best hockey against teams that are better than them for the playoffs. After tonight's game, it appears the Ducks are markedly better, now that Niedermayer is back. The Wild lose 4-2 tonight, thanks in large part to Todd Bertuzzi and another lackluster first 30 minutes from the Wild.
Things just didn't click for the Wild early. They had very few chances in the 1st period-and-a-half and were pretty well dominated. Two goals in a 14-second span midway through the 2nd lit a fire under the Wild. Captain Schultzie got his 1st goal of the year and Koivu snuck a slapshot by Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller from the blueline. Brian Rolston had a slapper ring the post that would have tied the game. The Wild finished out the 2nd and started the 3rd with a flurry, and had a couple power-play chances but couldn't tie it up. Bertuzzi put the nail in the coffin, and the Ducks played a stifling defensive game after that. The Wizzy could barely get the puck into the offensive zone.
- Bertuzzi had 2 goals and an assist, and was largely responsible for the other Duck goal. He was planted in front of Josh Harding for a good 30 seconds while the Ducks were on a 5 on 3, and Pronger fired a shot by a screened Harding. Clearly the crowd's mediocre booing when he got the puck didn't affect him.
- Gabby blew up at the line judge after he was whistled offside during a 2 on 1 with with Demo. Not sure what he said, but he got a quick misconduct penalty. I might give him props for being emotional and showing fire, but he did it for himself. If he did the same thing for his teammates, then I'd be very happy.
- Derek Boogard was back in the lineup tonite. He played pretty ok, throwning his weight around and jawing with the Ducks, and not being too much of an offensive liability.
- The crowd was pretty good tonite. Got on the refs when it was necessary (which was a few times tonite) and tried to keep on Bertuzzi. Section 216 was especially riled up. Only problem I have is with all the "Boogie" chants. I just don't think he has much place on this team now with Voros and Fedoruk. They both have more offensive skill, are better skaters, and I just don't understand the facination with Boogie.
- So much for that Rolston - Demitra - Bouchard line I liked so much. Tonight Belanger was back with Roli and PMB. Speaking of, WHERE IS BRIAN ROLSTON???
- I finally got my wife out to Cosetta's on W. 7th before the game; my second time. Goodness their pizza is good! For anyone that hasn't made a stop there before a Wild game, get there early to avoid the line, and make sure you walk the Italian market. It's a great experience.
- The walk from the X to the parking ramp was cold tonight!
Couple days off for the Wizzy before a late game in Vancouver Monday nite. This will be a big showdown between the current top teams in the Northwest. The Wild need to show up from the beginning in this one if they want to keep pace. I think the Wild are in another of their downslides they get after an upclimb, so I'm going with the Canucks. Canucks 4 Wild 3