The neatest thing that happened tonight came in the second period when the Wild honored the 34th Infantry Division of the Minnesota National Guard, who just returned from Iraq. The "Red Bulls," got a rousing ovation from the appreciative crowd, but what was also cool was the players themselves smacked their sticks on the ice and the referees and linesmen also applauded.
As for the Wild, just not a good night as the Sharks snapped a six-game losing streak with their 12th win in 14 meetings vs. the Wild. Obviously, the third goal 17 seconds into the third killed the Wild's chances of a comeback because it trimmed it to 2-1 and it was immediately 3-1.
But the Wild just lacked a lot tonight. Passes were off the mark. So were shots. Energy was sapped.
The Sharks, to get out of their slump, went back to basics, sat back and clogged up everywhere on the ice to keep the Wild from getting many opportunities. And coach Todd McLellan may have stumbled upon something. The Patrick Marleau-Joe Thornton-Dany Heatley line has been broken up for a few games, but for the first time, he took every star and put them on a different line.
The Wild couldn't match it, and it especially hurt when it got into penalty trouble in the second period, coupled with Mikko Koivu in the locker room with an arm injury for 10 minutes.
I got some Twitter messages from people saying Heatley was offside on his goal -- the eventual winner. I watched the replay on standard def and it was a bang-bang play, so I couldn't tell. Regardless, the linesman was right there, so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. But like I said, I did get a lot of messages from people thinking it was offside.
Right now the ice crew's hard at work tearing up the ice so they can put in a new center-ice logo for the NCAA West Regional here this weekend.
I've had a splitting headache all night, so you can read the gamer for the rest of the particulars.
Otherwise, Rachel Blount has practice covered for you Wednesday as the Wild -- and myself -- hits the road for two games in Philadelphia and Detroit.
Nothing ever bad happens to the Wild on the road, you know? Actually, the Flyers are ravaged by injuries, so maybe the road-weary (dreary) Wild can take advantage.