Well, the Wild tried hard. We’re at the point of the season where the Wild will have to hang its hat on that fact after a 1-0 loss to Dallas tonight. It was the Wild’s fourth straight home loss and fourth time in the past eight games that it was shut out.
The Wild worked hard, defended well and created chances. But like the broken-record, ad nauseum storyline of the season, it simply couldn’t score and was eventually beaten on an unfortunate bounce when Brenden Morrow’s pass to Jamie Benn deflected off Stephane Veilleux’s stick and right to Benn 3:46 into the third for the winner.
The Wild’s heading for a fourth straight missed playoff and because it made steps tonight and against a ridiculously hot team in Dallas (10-0-1 in its last 11), it predictably painted the loss like a moral victory. As you know, that happens often at times like this for struggling teams.
The Wild created chances, but Kari Lehtonen made 25 saves for the shutout. Kyle Brodziak had three chances he wishes he could have back. One, with 3.2 seconds left, when Devin Setoguchi set him up from behind the net at the goalmouth and Lehtonen robbed him. The other two were in the second period. The first, an Erik Christensen rebound came right to Brodziak with the left side of the cage open. But Brodziak shot it into Lehtonen’s right pad. The second, Jared Spurgeon set him up in the left circle with the left side of the cage open. He couldn’t fire.
There were also missed calls. The Wild felt Morrow deserved a five-minute major for kneeing Matt Cullen, not a two-minute minor for tripping. Looked blatant and intentional and Cullen looked seriously injured. He did play in the third period and seemed to be skating fine, but he was unavailable for comment after the game because he was on the trainer’s table. We’ll see if he’s OK Thursday (the Wild off Wednesday because it doesn’t play next until 1 p.m. Saturday vs. Carolina).
Also, before the Benn goal, the 3-on-2 only happens because Setoguchi was held by Benn after an offensive-zone faceoff win. No call. Then on the shift after the goal, Steve Kampfer was blatantly high-sticked by Steve Ott and began leaking from the mouth. The two refs and two linesmen (who can bring it to the ref’s attention) missed it.
But the way the power play was going, who knows if it would have mattered. It was 0 for 4.
Matt Hackett was real good, making 19 of his 24 saves in the first 40 minutes. He held the prolific Loui Eriksson-Mike Ribeiro-Michael Ryder line scoreless on seven shots. Ryder’s 9-game point streak, best in the NHL right now, ended.
Remember how earlier in the season in L.A. the clock stopped in the waning seconds allowing Drew Doughty to score a buzzer-beater against Columbus? Tonight, I got some emails telling me to look at the Wild’s offensive-zone faceoff with 3.2 seconds left and how the clock stops at 2.6 seconds.
I did look and indeed the clock stops for a split second at 2.6 seconds left. Obviously, the Wild didn’t score. I did make a few phone calls and was told in the final minute, the clock from time to time will stop on the scoreboard butis really not stopped in the system. I’m told the league has been made aware of this fact. I was told if you time it, it’s always the proper seconds.
I did pull out my iPhone stopwatch and timed it after the puck drops and I am fairly sure the horn blows at around 3.2 on my stopwatch. I’ll make some more calls Wednesday.
Lastly, in terms of the emergency goalie plan the other night that was kept secret if Josh Harding couldn’t have dressed, it would not have been Paul Deutsch, the 52-year-old who filled in during warmups Nov. 23 against Nashville. The beer league goalie signed an amateur tryout contract that night and you can only sign one.
So who would it have been? Alaska Fairbanks senior goalie Scott Greenham. In fact he was here in the press box tonight sitting right next to Mikko Koivu with the injured and scratched players.
That's it for me. Barring news, no blog Wednesday as the Wild is off.