The Xcel Energy Center has not been kind to Minnesota hockey teams this weekend. Friday night North Dakota scored the final six goals in a 6-3 victory over the Gophers. This afternoon Carolina scored the final four goals in a 5-3 victory over the Wild.
Greetings. Kent Youngblood here. I covered the game today. Mr. Russo will return tomorrow.
Keep this in mind, Wild fans looking for a silver lining: this loss kept the Wild among the bottom five in the league, which means being in position for a chance at the top draft pick this summer.
But, more immediately? This was a tough, tough loss. Afterward coach Mike Yeo, trying to find ways to describe his frustration, said, "We're in hell."
The Wild actually played very well for most of two periods, then a flip switched and the team stopped working. No wonder Yeo is frustrated.
Here are some impressions from this matinee:
--Kyle Brodziak had his first three-point game of the season and he is heating up of late. He has already set a career high in goals (18) and has matched last season's output with 37 points.
--Another silver lining: Nick Johnson scoring for the first time in 23 games.
--Rookie goaltender Matt Hackett, I felt, fought the puck for much of the game. He made 29 saves, but he also allowed a boatload of rebounds. I think the experience he gains here will be invaluable for him going forward. But I'm not convinced he's ready for this level yet. Just my opinion.
--What is it with teams getting odd-man rushes against the Wild? It happened again in the third period today, when the Wild forwards watched as a 2-on-3 Carolina rush turned into a near-breakaway and Brandon Sutter's game-tying goal.
It won't get any easier Monday against Vancouver.
That's about it for now. Have a good rest of your weekend.