Evening from the Verizon Center, where the Wild fell 3-2 in a shootout tonight to the Washington Capitals.
Read the game story for most the details and quotes on www.startribune.com/wild and also give my story on Zach Parise trying to weed out the goal-celebration bench “fly-by” from the Wild at this link. Some funny stuff in there.
Charlie Coyle tonight and didn’t do the fly-by, maybe because Parise is his linemate or maybe because he was high-sticked in the teeth right as he scored!!!
The Wild played a good road game tonight and was strong 5-on-5. Coyle and Mikael Granlund scored the goals and Josh Harding was great again, making 25 saves. Nothing he could do on either of the Alex Ovechkin or Marcus Johansson goals, nor the brilliant Nicklas Backstrom shot in the shootout.
But Braden Holtby was spectacular and stole Washington a win. He made 33 saves and wasn’t beaten in the shootout by Jason Pominville, Mikko Koivu or Coyle. Parise blocked a shot with his right wrist late in overtime, so he was hurt and couldn’t partake. But he said after the game he was OK.
The Wild now is 0-3 in shootouts and its shooters are 0 for 7. Koivu, who has 30 shootout goals, is 0 for 3. Parise, who has 32, is 0 for 2. Pominville, who has 18, is 0 for 1. Coyle is 0 for 1 now after his first career shootout goal. He is great in practice, which is why I think he was chosen.
Granlund is known for the shootout, but he really doesn’t score a lot in shootout drills in practice. And he’s 0 for 4 or 5 at least this season on breakaways.
Controversial game-tying goal for Washington. Just watch the replay. Tom Wilson got away a blatant pick on Jonas Brodin. That’s good to go in basketball. Not in hockey. Should have been called. Wasn’t. And Johansson was able to walk right out of the corner because of it and score like two seconds later. His shot banked in off Nate Prosser as he tried to defend Brooks Laich.
It was the talk of the Wild room after the game, but referee Tim Peel gave the Wild a golden chance by tagging Martin Erat with an interference after a faceoff with 57.6 seconds left. The Wild couldn’t beat the league’s best penalty kill late in the third or on the 63-second 4-on-3 to open overtime.
The Wild had some great chances, but Holtby was solid.
Clayton Stoner was injured on his first shift. He was tripped up by Aaron Volpatti and crashed painfully into the boards. He tried to continue playing on two shifts, but it was evident he wasn’t right and had to leave. Yeo said Stoner was feeling better after the game.
Brodin played 29 minutes and Ryan Suter logged 36:51 – the most ice time in a regular-season NHL game since San Jose’s Dan Boyle’s 37:03 in Feb. 2008.
We’ll see if Stoner can play Saturday in Raleigh. Remember, Keith Ballard is back home hurt, so if Stoner can’t play, not only would Matt Dumba likely get in, it may have to result in breaking up Suter and Brodin. We know from last year that Yeo doesn’t believe Prosser can play left D. And I cannot imagine Dumba, a right-shot D, can play the left side.
Matt Dumba will be a good player. But he’s not Seth Jones, who plays his off wing in Nashville despite being a rookie.
Yeo talked before the game about wanting to get Nik Backstrom a start. The Wild can’t run Harding into the ground. But Harding was great again tonight, so we’ll see what the organization decides.
We may not know Friday. Yeo already said Friday’s practice will be very optional.
Exciting hockey game tonight and the Wild played well. Caps admitted after the game that they escaped tonight with two points.
Wild’s three-game winning streak is history, but it is still 6-1-1 in the past eight.
Granlund was awesome tonight. Five shots, goal, and just outstanding defensively and physically. He’s fun to watch.
OK, I really have to go. I have a 6 a.m. flight through Atlanta, believe it or not. Talk to you Friday, but like I said, there may not be a ton of news with slim pickings at practice.
Great questions on my Sunday Insider blog mailbag. Apologies in advance, but in 22 inches or so, I can only answer 10 or 12 max.