Wow, what a demoralizing loss tonight. The Wild played a great game. They were physical. They were quick. They had a 2-1 lead with just over a minute left. Then it all went south.
After playing an inspiring first two periods, the Wild were dominated in the 3rd period. This is to be expected, with the Wings absolutely running away with the Western Conference you knew they were going to put the pressure on. Still, it seemed the Wild were destined to hold on to the 2-1 win, until G Niklas Backstrom let in a bad angle shot by Daniel Cleary from the left boards with about a minute left. Brett Lebda scored for the Wings in OT, and all the Wild had to show in this heavily-hyped game was 1 point. Not terrible, but it really should have been 2 points.
Brian Rolston scored again (finally a PP goal) and Pavol Demitra scored on a wired top corner shot with Gabby as a decoy on a 2 on 1. Actually, the Wild should have been up more than a goal going into the 3rd. Red Wings G Dominik Hasek kept the score close. The Wild had many many opportunities. Hasek stopped most, and the goal posts stopped the rest.
- Backstom gave up way too many scary rebounds again tonite. The Wings 1st goal came on a juicy rebound. Then there was the tying goal. It was about a foot from the goal line.
- I really liked the Wizzy's intensity tonite. They kept the Wings out of Backstrom's area and did not back down from the Wings.
- That said, gotta be cautious of the let down after this game. To play the way they did and then to lose the way they did, pretty demoralizing. Hopefully the team doesn't take it the way I do. Big game Thursday v. Dallas, and then the lowly Islanders. Two more wins will make this loss feel OK.
- Before the tying goal I was busy thinking of clever titles for this post, having to do with finally beating Hasek. That'll teach me to pre-plan my posts. The Wild still have never beaten Dominik Hasek.
- Good work by the crowd at the X tonite. Especially during the 4:00 penalty kill in the 1st.
The Stars are back Tuesday for the last time this regular season. I hope this is the year we get Dallas in the playoffs to get the rivalry jumpstarted again. Nothing was like that first game v. Dallas back in 2000. That was a good time.
Apparently the Wild will honor Mike Modano before the game for all his accomplishments to US hockey. It will be interesting to see how the crowd responds to that. In the early years, Modo was booed lustily, but that has subsided. I would think he'll get a nice reception for this.
As for the game, I think it'll be difficult to bounce back from today's loss. Stars 4 Wild 2