Saturday, December 5, 2009

Wild 5 Predators 3: 5 in a Row, UMD Beats UND

Who would have ever predicted 5 wins in a row for this team? Tonight the Wild take it to Nashville, winning easily save for a couple late goals for the Preds. I can’t remember the last time a Wild team scored goals at this kind of a pace. I’m trying hard to temper myself…but I’m excited that it’s exciting to watch Wild hockey again. I actually looked at the standings tonight. I’m not yet ready to talk about it here, but it’s not too bad!

Josh Harding got the win in net, and the goals came from Ebbett, Sheppard, Miettenin, Brunette, and Belanger. The Ebbett and Miettenin goals were of the pretty passing play kind, Ebbett deflecting an airborne pass from Havlat and Miettinen taking a beauty pass from Brunette from behind the net. Speaking of Havlat, he had 2 assists tonight to remind us he’s still on the team.

But the best part of tonight’s game was that we were able to listen to Nashville’s Tim McGraw goal song without being stupendously annoyed by it. When the Wild are on the losing end at Nashville nothing makes me grumpier than “I like it, I love it, I want some more of it…” as documented here.

On a WCHA side note, the UMD Bulldogs rallied to beat the UND Fighting Sioux tonight at the DECC in overtime…scoring the tying goal with 33 seconds left in regulation and netting the game winner 12 seconds into overtime. They salvaged a split in the weekend series, and staved off my own humiliation of wearing Sioux garb in public. The “friendly wager” between my wife and me is a push until February when the Dogs play the Sioux at REA in Grand Forks. B-U – L-L – D-O – G-S YEA BULLDOGS!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Wild 5 Ducks 4 SO: What’s this? Exciting NHL Hockey?

Just a great game @ the X tonight. Wild come back from 2 goals down not once, but twice, tie it up with a minute left in the game, take it to the shootout sudden death round, and get their 4th win in a row, 5th in the last 6 games, and have at least a point in their last 6.

The #1 line was just excellent tonight. Koivu 2 goals, Miettenin 2 goals (plus a SO goal), Brunette 3 assists. That’s exactly what the Wild need in order to contend.

Now I’m not going to get all gushy and predict Stanley Cup here, so here is the question…is the team’s recent play the real deal? They’re scoring more. They’re winning faceoffs like crazy. The ridiculous defensive lapses have all but vanished.

Could our Wild squad have a shot at the playoffs?

Ok, calm down. Gotta keep it rolling. They’ve shown flashes a couple times this season, and have gone into the tank only to lose 3 in a row. And they’re going to have to win in regulation eventually. But right now I’m not going to be picky. 2 weeks ago I made no time to watch the Wild. Now there’s reason to pay attention.

Props to Todd Richards for hanging in there, and to Chuck Fletcher for making some moves that seem to have sparked the squad. Shout out to tonight’s crowd at the X, representing with a loud ovation for Mikko’s individual effort to kill the Duck’s PP in OT, for standing for most of the OT and SO, and for being a force again.

Perhaps this winter won’t be as cold as we had expected.