Good afternoon State of Hockey Legion,
Just a quick post from the Xcel Energy Center press box before fans start filing into the arena for tonight’s game against the hated Dallas Stars.
Well, we got what we were hoping for: The Blackhawks did in fact lose in regulation to Detroit in Chicago this afternoon, so tonight’s Wild game will have plenty of meaning behind it. Both teams in St. Paul will be skating with some extra jump in their stride tonight because the outcome will decide the No. 8 playoff spot in the Western Conference. Blackhawks Nation will be rooting for your Minnesota Wild because if Dallas earns two points, it will overtake Chicago for the final playoff spot. It will be the same Wild lineup tonight as it was for Friday’s game in Edmonton with Jose Theodore getting the start in net.
An interesting side note that was just pointed out to me by Mike Russo of the Star Tribune: Since Dallas needs to get two points tonight, and not just one, imagine if the game went to OT. We might very well see a goalie getting pulled in OT. And, because of a weird NHL rule, if the Wild won, Dallas would come away with zero points in the game. If you pull your goalie in OT and end up losing, you don’t get the one consolation point. Obviously, Dallas doesn’t care about one – two is the only number on their mind tonight. Still, it will be something interesting to watch for if this contest in fact goes past regulation.
As I wrote in today’s wild.com game preview, this game means plenty to the Wild. Yes, they want to make the home crowd happy. Yes, they want to close a disappointing end to the season with back-to-back wins. But perhaps most importantly, they want to play spoilers. Some Minnesota fans might still dislike the Stars after they moved to Dallas, but the Wild dislikes its six-game winless streak against the Stars and how chippy many of the recent contests between the two teams have been.
Fans should be clamoring to come down to St. Paul not only to root on the Wild’s attempt to play spoilers, but for the awesome posters that will be the free giveaway at tonight’s game. They look pretty slick and should quickly become the favorite wall decoration of all Wild fans.
Of course, no Lighthouse would be complete without a UMD mention (that’s a rule if you work for Glen, didn’t you know?) Obviously, the Dogs are the talk of college hockey after topping the University of Michigan last night here in this very building. It was a pretty cool scene to see the crowd and Bulldogs go crazy when the deciding goal was scored in OT. I haven’t seen Glen yet today, but I have to imagine he is still rocking a massive smile. No word on if he kept his promise of jumping in the Holiday Inn pool fully clothed after the Dogs first National Championship, but if he hasn’t, we might have to have some Wild TV fun tomorrow.