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Wild scores 3 in the third to rally and beat Sharks; Zidlicky injures shoulder

  • Blog Post by: Michael Russo
  • December 30, 2010 - 9:00 AM

I'll be hosting Joe Anderson's 6-8 p.m. show on 1500 ESPN Thursday night. Lots and lots of hockey talk lined up, and guests include, I believe, Kyle Brodziak, Nashville Predators forward and former Wild Joel Ward, former NHL GM and coach Doug MacLean and Denver Post beat writer Adrian Dater. If have a question for the show, you can email me at mrusso@startribune.com (anytime today; short, quick email), tweet me at @russostrib (from 6-8 on this one) or call in (numbers during show)

The sound you heard at Xcel Energy Center this evening was really cheers, loud ones and plenty of them.

Win or lose, I think the crowd of 19,131 would have appreciated this effort from the Wild, which put it on the line all night long.

Trailing 3-2 in the third and even after failing to score on a 4-minute power play to open the period, the Wild began the rally 1:14 later when Chuck Kobasew, who's been outstanding of late, scored the tying goal. Four minutes later, Brent Burns scored his 11th -- the eventual winner. And 1:20 after that, Burns' point shot was deflected wide by Martin Havlat, but Kyle Brodziak scored his second goal when his shot into the crease deflected in off Jason Demers.

Three goals in the third period for the first home comeback since Jan. 9, 2010 -- the four-goal, third-period comeback over Chicago.

The one very bad news for the Wild tonight was the loss of Marek Zidlicky, who is a huge piece of the back end. He's the second-leading ice time muncher on the team and is one of their best offensive defensemen. He injured his shoulder late in the second when he fell hard into the San Jose bench after being drilled by Jamie McGinn.

Coach Todd Richards said Zidlicky will be out a little while, and you know that meant a long while.

That leaves Burns, Nick Schultz and Greg Zanon on the back end with an erratic but more engaged Cam Barker and rookie Marco Scandella, who looks quite capable. The Wild also has Clayton Stoner and can call up Jared Spurgeon again or maybe Justin Falk or perhaps even give Nate Prosser a shot.

As for the game, Mikko Koivu also scored for the Wild, Havlat had two assists and Nik Backstrom was huge at critical junctures and had 29 saves.

The Wild got pucks deep, forechecked against a very big, talented San Jose team and dominated the front of the Sharks' net. They have to play this way to be successful, and lately, there's signs of consistency. It happened in Colorado, in Columbus, two games against Calgary. The Wild's 4-1-1 in its past six.

"It was a fun game," Brodziak said. "I think we were ready right from the get-go. Guys laid it on the line tonight, every single guy in the locker room. That’s what it takes and that’s what makes it so much fun. It’s a good feeling."

Some good quotes on the boos in previous games:

Burns: "I don’t think it’s fun for anybody. It’s not like there’s some nights we come here and don’t want to win or try hard. It’s there every night. Sometimes things happen. Like [former Army Ranger] JB [Spisso] says, 'the enemy’s got a vote.'
 
Koivu: "Shows they know the game. We have the identity how we should play at home. I think we know it and [the fans] know it. When we’re not doing the things we're supposed to do, they have every right to show their emotions."

Couple tidbits:

-- Brodziak scored his seventh and eighth goals for his seventh 2-goal game and third this year. He's got four goals in the last four home games.

-- Burns is four goals off his career-high and team-record for defensemen total of 15.

-- Koivu played his 398th game and scored his ninth gola. It marked only his second goal in 19 games vs. San Jose.

-- Nick Schultz was very good and has assists in three straight games.

-- The Wild won consecutive games against San Jose for the first time since April 2002-Feb. 2003.

-- The Wild's 5-2-2 against the Pacific after going 5-14-1 last season.

-- Michael Prochno scored in OT today to lift Minnetonka over St. Thomas Academy in an early-round game of the Schwan Cup. Thought I'd mention.

-- Bret Hedican was in the house today. The St. Paulite was back home as a member of the Sharks' TV crew and he looks like he can strap on the skates tomorrow.

-- Rick Bronwell, the Wild's assistant equipment trainer, worked his 1,000th pro game. The Wild's players and training staff are chipping in to buy the musician a custom-made Gibson guitar.

-- Ron Gardenhire sat in Pierre-Marc Bouchard's old spot above my right shoulder. He's much more respectful than Bouchard was to me.

-- Lastly, here's a better video clip of the Jason Zucker elbow to his face from Oilers draft pick Martin Marincin:

Kent Youngblood has Thursday's practice.

 

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