Following Wild games, Managing Editor Glen Andresen will give the five takeaways that he’ll remember from each contest. Tonight, he looks back at a 5-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Friday night.
We thought the Minnesota Wild might have sent a clear message to the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night in St. Paul. That night, the Wild dismantled the Canucks, made Roberto Luongo look like a bullfighter and seemed to say, “your time is over.” The message the Canucks received was more of a wake up call that told them they better respond in the rematch on Friday. They did in a 5-1 drubbing of Minnesota.
You can say the Wild was flat in the second of back-to-back road games, and you’d be right. Few Wild players were noticeably good. There really weren’t more than a couple Wild scoring chances until Vancouver went up 3-0 midway through the third. But the Canucks won this game no matter what you point to. They were better in every aspect of the game and probably could have made the score look worse if not for some big saves by Jose Theodore through the first 50 minutes.
After Tuesday’s bizarre night and some obvious ill will rekindled in the Wild victory, I was absolutely certain we’d see more shenanigans with the Canucks playing in front of their raucous fans. As has been proven many times, I’m an idiot. While there were some big checks and a decent fight in the first between Clayton Stoner and Guillaume Desbiens, there was nothing. It’s always a little different when you’re watching from home, but I didn’t see anything that resembled bad blood. I think I saw more bad blood when the Wild took on Ilves Tampere in an exhibition in Finland a couple weeks ago.
Jose Theodore made his Wild debut tonight, and while his goals against average won’t look pretty, he has nothing to be discouraged about. Theodore was the reason the Wild still had a chance heading into the third period despite the puck being in his zone for seemingly 90% of the game. The 11th goaltender in Wild history and the first to ever wear the number 60, finished with 30 saves, several of which came on point blank Canuck opportunities.
If there was a noticeable skater in a white jersey tonight, it had to be Justin Falk. The big kid looks like he’s been playing in this league for a long, long time. It’s obvious he’s gained the trust of Head Coach Todd Richards. He saw 18:55 of ice time, and Richards was willing to put him with Stoner, who hadn’t played since Helsinki and has struggled to find his game early this season. Falk was a -1 on the night, but the Wild only had one plus player on the roster – Mikko Koivu. Falk is quickly dispelling any thoughts that his appearance in the Wild lineup will be shortlived. His consistency through seven games has shown he might be here to stay.
Bring back Roberto Luongo! The Canucks all-star goalie got a night off against Minnesota, which torched him on Tuesday. We might be seeing a lot of former Boston College Eagle Cory Schneider when these two teams meet four more times. Schneider got the start and was pitching a shutout until Antti Miettinen finally broke through late to cut the lead to 4-1. But you can’t really say Schneider was brilliant in this game. I can think of one big stop he made on Miettinen in the third, and the rest were garden variety.