Wow, didn't this game already happen two days ago? Well, with the new scheduling in the NHL, rivalry teams (and teams within the division that have to travel far) will play against each other twice in a row. So, once again the Killer Whale Canucks stepped onto the ice at Xcel. Hopes were definitely high as the Wild had blanked the Canucks only two days earlier. With Roloson (and Cloutier) in goal again, things looked good. Unfortunately for Wild fans, no one can go undefeated at home....
For the first time this year, the crowd wasn't electric as the teams stepped on the ice. Sure, they cheered, but it wasn't like Wednesday night. Our boys played in their third jerseys (see right).
In the first period, it was all Canucks. Again, the total reverse of the game on Wednesday. The Wild gave up 13 shots and only took 1. Rollie the Goalie was on top of his game and only gave up a rebound goal to Anson Carter. At the end of the period, the fans are still optimistic that the Wild can come back. One of the guys in front me says, "The Wild do this all the time...no problem."
The second period saw a great deal of scoring. Walz bangs home the tying goal about 3 minutes in to the period. Derek Boogaard gets the first point of his career (congratulations). The Wild then get their first lead of the night on a power play goal by Bouchard. Still, the Canucks would keep coming back. They had an answer for every goal.
With the Wild up 2-1, Markus Naslund got the puck from Richard (Why did the Wild let me go) Park and fired a shot that went off of Scott Ferguson's skate and into the net. 2-2.
Park struck again 3 minutes later when he fired a long pass (that in the old NHL would have been a two-line pass) to Ryan Kesler. He fakes Roloson out of his skin and bangs the goal home up high. Two minutes later, however, the Wild are on a power play, and Brian Rolston lets loose his feared slap shot. The puck moves beyond the speed of light and gets by Cloutier (but doesn't pop out of the net through the back like when he was in Boston). Tied at 3, the period ends.
The third period, however, was all Canucks, all the time. Ricahrd Park put the game away for the Canucks with a beautiful wrist shot. If you've played and practiced with a goalie for a few years, it's not hard to get to know what he does right and wrong. Park knows Roloson's weaknesses, and it showed.
The absoultely worst part of the night, however, was the fifth Canuck goal. The (debatedly) most hated hockey player in Minnesota scores on an empty net. The fans who hadn't left (some had already...what's wrong with you?!) all boo in disgust and leave.
The final score is 5-3 Canucks. Former Wild man Richard Park is the first star with three hard-earned points. Remember: former Wild players Brunette and Park are who put Patrick Roy into retirement. Park is now on the Canucks, and Brunette is a member of the Avalanche.
There were also some interesting moments off the ice as well:
The "Let's Play Hockey" moment was done by Jeff Grayson. If you don't know who he is (and I honestly didn't), he hosts "Call of the Wild" on TV. No comments or allusions to Pawlenty tonight. Finally, a little over a week later, the whole thing is put to rest.
I, personally, knew we were doomed when the Wild went up 2-1 and some fans started saying, "Sieve." What did I say before, folks? If you do it at the wrong time, it jinxes your team. I was going to yell at these guys, but someone else who knew the whole process got to them before me.
Dutch Schnell...Goalie Racer. Yup, Goalie Racer. Only in Minnesota.
It's interesting to see how fast people can become fairweather fans. The Wild were losing, and the guys in front me start talking about the Vikings. Suddenly we're up two to one, and it's Wild, Wild, Wild. We the team was down 4-3, these guys said that if was that way with 10 minutes left, they would leave. It's one goal. What the hell are these guys thinking? And sure enough, they did leave, talking about the Bears and Vikings this weekend. Now, the Wild are pretty good this year. They've only played a few games, and they have a better record than Conference Finalist Calgary (take that Mike). If any of teams here lose a game, it's the end of the world. That's it for some of the fans. It's just not right.
Then again, what do I know? I'm the guy who thinks that the New York Rangers are still going to blow it. I could be wrong.
3 down, 38 to go.