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Wild continues solid road play with first-ever win in New Jersey

  • Blog Post by: Michael Russo
  • January 5, 2011 - 7:08 AM

The Wild's last two game-winning goals have come from Cam Barker and Clayton Stoner.

Digest that for one sec. (Wednesday morning update as I sit for my flight to Boston. Just a little add, but both Barker and Stoner didn't see the puck go in. Barker told me Tuesday morning he was also turning up ice and heard the crowd reaction of his OT goal. As you can read in the Wednesday gamer, same with Stoner).

Pretty big contributions from other blue-liners besides always veterans Brent Burns, Nick Schultz and Greg Zanon. This is huge, especially for a team that will likely be without Marek Zidlicky for the rest of the year.

Stoner's goal wasn't pretty. It was as fluky as it gets, but he'll take it even though he joked that he plans to bury the tape and tell a different legend to his kids and grandkids one day.

Tic-tac-toe from Martin Havlat and Pierre-Marc Bouchard, perhaps? In reality, it was this:

Check out all the quotes in the game story Wednesday (here's link) on the goal because they're good ones.

Big win for the Wild, which started strongly (8-1 shot advantage, 1-0 score advantage on Cal Clutterbuck's 11th) before Ilya Kovalchuk tied it in the second.

But Jose Theodore, who now will likely start in Boston I'd assume, was terrific in a one-sided second, making 13 of his 21 saves. The Wild regrouped and played a solid third, getting a huge penalty kill late. Kyle Brodziak, who missed 10 minutes after taking a puck to the face, had a huge blocked shot on Andy Greene during that PK on his first shift back.

Burns and Zanon were very good, especially Burns defensively.

"I really liked Brent in the third period," coach Todd Richards said. "I watched him a couple times go in and he just gave the guy a shove in the back, took the puck and skated it out of the danger areas."

Jared Spurgeon played another good game. He withstood a Patrik Elias crunch to the back, and blocked a Brian Rolston blast, walked it off and lived to tell about it.

The Wild's 8-4-1 in its past 13, 6-2-1 in its past nine. Most impressively, the Wild's 9-6-3 on the road, 5-2-1 in the past eight. Remember, the Wild won 13 road games last year.

Tonight, the Wild didn't have a power play, by the way, so we don't know yet if Spurgeon will be adequate at the power-play point or if the Wild will eventually have to make a move, like say, Maxim Noreau or Nate Prosser. The Wild's got to get a right-shot on that power-play point to help out Burns because the rest of the point-guys they've tried there -- Barker, Cullen, Bouchard, Havlat -- are lefties.

Off to Boston for me in the morning. Team should be landing soon.

Practice is at Harvard, or Hahvahd. Real funny lines this morning in the locker room about who on the team won't even be allowed on the Harvard campus because they're too stupid. I'll try to get some of the lines into my Thursday article. If not, I'll get em on tomorrow's blog.

Right now, barring news, I'll be writing a Burns feature for Thursday on how his impressive year could impact his future with the team and his next contract. He's having a big year, and right now, I'd say is the frontrunner to be representing the Wild in Raleigh at the All-Star Game. Rosters are picked Jan. 11.

Talk to you from Boston.

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