The Wild improved to 4-1-1 in its past six tonight with a 3-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers at the Rex. Matt Cullen scored two goals and assisted on Devin Setoguchi’s winning goal as the Wild won for the first time in regulation on the road in the past 20 games.
Ugly end to the game though. With 2:33 left, Cal Clutterbuck was injured when Taylor Hall did a fly-by in the neutral zone and stuck out his left leg into Clutterbuck’s left leg. Hall was assessed a five-minute major for kneeing and a game misconduct. Clutterbuck was in a lot of pain on the ice, had to be helped off and couldn’t put any weight on his left leg.
Hall has a discipline hearing scheduled for later today. Hall is the same player that broke Jonas Brodin’s clavicle in the minors. The Wild brass had a problem with the hit. Brodin said it was a clean hockey play.
He was stopped at the Zamboni entrance and put onto a stretcher, then wheeled to the Oilers medical room. I saw him with ice and a bandage just above the left knee as he was being wheeled.
Coach Mike Yeo would only say “he’s hurt,” but he did fly with the team to Calgary. So that may be good news.
The postgame blog from the Edmonton Journal includes reaction to the hit from around Twitter. Consensus appears to be that Hall will face some sort of suspension.
Last year, Edmonton’s Ryan Whitney was called for kneeing Clutterbuck and Clutterbuck missed a game with a charleyhorse. He does have a history of them, so maybe this is in that realm and not a knee injury. The hit was just a shade above the knee though, so that’s not the thigh.
The Wild felt it was a dirty play by Hall.
“If that’s not a suspension, I don’t know what is,” said Setoguchi, fined two days ago for his high-stick on Detroit’s Kyle Quincey.
“What I saw was a player that didn’t even look at the puck and looked like he was trying to hurt a guy,” Yeo said of the Hall on Clutterbuck hit.
Clutterbuck has never been suspended despite being one of the league’s heaviest hitters. James Wiesniewski did get eight games last year for an infraction against Clutterbuck. Trevor Gillies got 10 games two years ago for a head shot.
I’ll have a better update at practice Friday in Calgary.
As for the game, not a good first period. The Wild just didn’t do a good enough job generating chances but didn’t give up much either.
In the second, even when Ryan Smyth gave Edmonton a 1-0 lead, the Wild was getting a lot of chances. It just was a half-second late, missing nets or hitting pipes.
Finally Cullen made something out of nothing by turning on his jets, catching up to a puck, speeding pass a defenseman and tying a game. Later, he set up Setoguchi’s eventual winner with a beautiful dish, then sniped his second of the game for a two-goal lead with 6:01 left.
The Wild began to get pucks deep starting early in the second and that’s all it took to turn the game around. Backstrom had another good game with 27 saves, Yeo was very happy with Kyle Brodziak’s game, I thought Ryan Suter and Jonas Brodin had real strong games.
It was the second straight game the Wild rallied for a win.
Clayton Stoner had a very tough first half of the game. Turnovers galore, whether it was passing right to the Oilers or rimming pucks around to the point the Wild either turned it over or couldn’t get of its zone with ease.
Overall, good two points against a young opponent that still has a lot of inconsistency in its game.
On to Calgary for the first in a home-and-home. Talk to you Friday.
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