You know it's a good night for Minnesota hockey fans, when the booing against Todd Bertuzzi stops, as 'Big Bert' becomes totally insignificant.
Yes, that is exactly what happened tonight, as the Minnesota Wild put together one of their better efforts in front of 18,316 at Xcel Energy Center and drubbed the Detroit Red Wings 5-2. The Wild end their three-game homestand 2-0-1, earning 5 of a possible 6 points in the last week, prior to going on their second-to-last roadtrip of three games, beginning Thursday night in Denver.
Antti Miettinen's two first-period goals started things off, but after each the Red Wings would bounce back with Pavel Datsyuk goal to make it even. Then the Wild started to pull away late in the first period, as Andrew Ebbett's tip of a Greg Zanon blast gave the Wild a 3-2 lead after one. No scoring in the second period, but plenty of up-and-down, back-and-forth action as two teams who would rather skate than fight did just that. The third period was a real disappointment to the many Red Wings fans in the crowd, as first Guillaume Latendresse and then Martin Havlat both scored 69 seconds apart, early in the third to give the Wild a nice three-goal cushion as the period wound down. Unlike previous three-goal leads this season, however, this time the Wild did not stop working, even as the Red Wings tried to press the attack.
Josh Harding, who was pulled last week after the first period vs. Detroit for a hip injury, returned and made 26 saves on the night to record his 4th win of the season. With Niklas Backstrom currently having back problems, Harding might just have to start tomorrow night's Next Game: vs. Colorado, 8:00 PM Central (7:00 PM Mountain) Time, Pepsi Center. (Wild TV: FSNorth; Avs' TV: Altitude, both feeds in HD; XM Radio, Ch. 208)