Posted on: March 27, 2009 10:13 am

Wild's defining moment comes Saturday night

Wild fans,

We've been up and down all year. That great start? A distant memory. Now we're clawing for the right to get whooped by either the Sharks or Red Wings in the playoffs. I may sound pessimistic, but don't let that phase you - I want the Wild to make it in because, well, you just never know.

That said, tomorrow night's game with the Flames is our defining moment this season. If the Wild win, they'll make the playoffs. I don't know why, I just feel it. The momentum that team would receive from a win in the Saddledome - the building in which we have, by far, the worst road record - would lift the team. And if they lose? Well, they're done. They're not mathmatically eliminated with a loss, but in my mind, they'd be done. Stick a fork in them. Ready the offseason of zero (positive) moves.

We're the Twins of the National Hockey League.

So if you're a diehard fan or just a fringe one, watch the game tomorrow night. It's the most important game this season. Hell, even if you don't like the Wild, tomorrow's game will have a playoff atmosphere. And if it doesn't - that'll give you a very good idea of whether or not Minnesota will be in this year's playoffs.

Keep your stick on the ice,

~ Robtangle

Category: NHL
Tags: Flames, Wild
Posted on: January 23, 2008 12:50 am
Edited on: January 23, 2008 7:29 pm

Wild vs Flames Thoughts (1-22-08)

So much for that momentum carrying over.

The Minnesota Wild lost a close game to the Calgary Flames tonight, 2-1, and in the process lost their one-day reign as division leaders. This was a very tight game that I could have seen going into overtime until Craig Conroy's nifty backhander found its way past Josh Harding. Defenseman Brent Burns rang the post three times on the same shot with about five minutes left in the game, but it just danced with the crease the entire time. While the penalty kill continued to play extremely well, the power play was flat, failing to produce a goal in three attempts.

Props have to be given to the Flames, who continue to have the Wild's number in Pengrowth. Miikka Kiprusoff is as much of a brick wall as ever, and we found that Jarome Iginla doesn't have to score for Calgary to beat us - Iginla has failed to score a point in the last two contests between these two teams and yet they found themselves winners in both of them. And if it's already known that defenseman Dion Phaneuf is a hard hitter, we can add a hard shooter to his resume - the kid broke not one but two panes of glass in the same period.

Tangle's game puck is awarded to: Calgary's Craig Conroy. The Flames forward not only potted the game-winner but logged over 20 minutes of ice time in the process, usually doing a lot of forechecking and disrupting on the ice. For the Wild, I give a consolation game puck to Brian Rolston. Although he committed two dumb penalties in the game, having Rolston heat up with less than 30 games remaining is crucial. As we saw against Vancouver, his play frees up guys like Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Mikko Koivu. Josh Harding also played well in net for the Wild, stopping 35 shots.

Tangle's "WTF?" award goes to: Wild coach Jacques Lemaire. How can Kim Johnsson and Martin Skoula combine for 49:04 TOI while Keith Carney and Kurtis Foster combine for only 18:11? Johnsson himself spent more time on the ice than Carney and Foster combined. While we're on the subject of Time on Ice, Derek Boogaard again logged very few minutes, spending only 3:21 on the Saddledome's ice. One more final thought on coach Lemaire - I love the way that Todd Fedoruk has been playing lately, but he isn't exactly power play material. He was put on the man advantage to fill Mark Parrish's spot - who was scratched tonight - but he didn't even get in front of Kiprusoff like Parrish does. You want somebody who can block the crease, put Stephane Veilleux out there or even Boogaard, whose two career goals have both come from right in front of the crease.

The Wild finish up their road trip against Edmonton later this week before breaking for the All-Star Game (Robtangle edit: The Wild play the Colorado Avalanche next game, not Edmonton. Either way, the next game isn't televised in my dorm so I can't really help out much). Going 2-1 on this Canadian swing wouldn't be a bad tour in my opinion. Until then, keep your stick on the ice.

~ Robtangle

Category: General
Tags: Flames, Wild
Posted on: January 17, 2008 1:23 am

Wild vs Flames (1-16-08) Thoughts

Coming into Wednesday's game against Calgary, I figured the Minnesota Wild had figured some stuff out. They came in with a three-game winning streak, including a great shootout victory against Detroit. They were getting soild goaltending from Josh Harding, and the offense was really starting to click.

Boy, was I wrong.

An understatement would be to say that the Wild played poorly. We scored one of our goals on an interference non-call and the refs took one away from the Flames by blowing an early whistle. But no, the Wild were too complacent (and lucky) to make it to overtime, take the single point, and pack it in. As a result, we lost 2-0 in the shootout and 3-2 for the game, letting Calgary gain a point on us in the Northwest Division.

Tangle's Game puck is awarded to: Kurtis Foster. The guy doesn't get to play often, but tonight he showed Jacques Lemaire that he deserves more ice time. He shot an absolute missile from the point to tie the game up in the third period, and was - gasp! - actually hitting people, something the defensive corps doesn't accomplish much at all. The 6' 5" Canadian was physically imposing on the Flames, and physicality is what's needed within Division matchups. Good job, Kurtis. Here's to you taking injured D-man Sean Hill's spot in the rotation.

Tangle's "WTF?" award goes to: Kim Johnsson and Martin Skoula. Wow, were these guys bad tonight. Skoula drew a dumb delay of game penalty when we were starting to gain some momentum. Not to be outdone, Kim "Turnover" Johnsson decided to slash a Flames skater, who was out of the play completely, while the Wild were rushing on the last chance in overtime, effectively killing our shot at a break down the other way as well as an extra point. Congratulations, you two, you win the inaugural "WTF?" award. Cherish it, because I don't see you two winning much else in the near future.
Category: NHL
Tags: Flames, Wild
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