Good win for the Wild today, although any win at Xcel Energy Center is a good win for the Wild.
For the first time in 62 days, the Wild left here victors after beating the Florida Panthers, 3-1.
It could have left the first period up probably 3- or 4-0. Second period was no good, although maybe because it killing its 5-on-5 momentum by having the gall to draw penalties.
But in the third period, Erik Haula stole a puck, then blocked a shot to create a breakaway that he finished by chipping the shot over Roberto Luongo’s left shoulder for a beautiful game-winner.
Haula assisted on Jason Pominville’s empty-netter for the Wild’s first win in St. Paul since Dec. 28.
Now, the Wild gets to host Colorado on Tuesday for a chance to get back into the top-8 if it can win in regulation.
“You’re not thinking about it, but at the end, you still know it’s been awhile [since we’ve won here,” said Mikko Koivu, who played his record-breaking 744th game as a Wild and was outstanding with Zach Parise and Charlie Coyle against Florida’s top line. “It wasn’t easy by any means. I think we can play a lot better. I don’t think that was our best. You need to win those games too even if you’re not feeling great and things aren’t necessarily going the way you want, you’ve got to find a way to win a hockey game, and that’s a good sign.”
Monday, the trade deadline is 2 p.m. There’s starting to be chatter that the Wild has had talks with Boston about Loui Eriksson, whom the Bruins are trying to extend and may end up keeping as its own “rental,” so to speak. The deal is, the Wild probably don’t have the assets to give up to rent Eriksson, so if the Wild was to trade for him, it would have to be a bigger trade.
GM Chuck Fletcher mentioned the other day in Philly that the only way he’d want a top rental was if it was more of a hockey trade.
In other words, if he were to give up a top defenseman in a move for Eriksson, the Bruins would then have to give up assets beyond the rental. The Bruins do have some prospects and a couple first-rounders, so we’ll see. The Wild also has talked to Edmonton about Nail Yakupov and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, it’s believed.
Arizona's Martin Hanzal is also reportedly available.
We will see. You know Fletcher would love to provide an outside boost and history says he’ll try to do something. He usually does on deadline day, so stay tuned to my Twitter account at @russostrib and startribune.com.
Check out the paper Monday and the site this evening for the final game story and the notebook. I wrote about the four ex-Gophers teammates in today’s game, the Koivu video montage and Matt Dumba getting taken off the power play after his careless penalty negated the Wild’s first power play and led to the tying goal.
John Torchetti said the Wild can’t take penalties like that, no matter whom it is, but he also indicated this was a temporary message and Dumba would likely wind up back on the power play Tuesday against the Avs.
On the win, Haula said, “We need wins right now, that’s the bottom line. It doesn’t matter who gets them or what happens in the game as long as we get those two points. It’s playoffs right now already and we’re ready for a huge tilt on Tuesday.”
Said Coyle, “We want to feel good playing in this building. It’s our home and we want to play good in front of these fans. And for us personally too, just to feel good, playing comfortable and being aggressive here. That was a good game by us.”
On Tuesday’s game, Dubnyk said, “That’s a playoff game. That’s going to be a lot of fun. It’s going to be an opportunity for us to get back in a playoff spot. You don’t have to say much more than that. We’re going into a game against a team that we’ve had some pretty good battles against.”
That’s it for now. We’ll see if I’ll be back this evening. I’ll definitely be back Monday.