180-degree improvement in Wild effort puts Los Angeles down for fourth straight loss
By Wild Road Tripper
That classic line from the TV game show, "Hollywood Squares", aptly sums up what the difference was between tonight's effort between the Minnesota Wild and Los Angeles Kings, and last Friday's no-show effort by the Wild in Detroit.
Brent Burns did his best Marian Gaborik imitation, Martin Havlat and Owen Nolan scored also as the Wild got off the schneid to hand LA their fourth straight loss, a loss which puts the Kings in a very precarious position as they continue on to Nashville, to face a red-hot Predators team which all but has a date with the Phoenix Coyotes in the first round of the Western Conference Playoffs all sewn up.
The Wild even went so far as to kill a two-man 2-minute power play early in the third period, after retiring referee Kerry 'the Hairdo' Fraser called two Wild players for penalties on the same play -- Cal Clutterbuck for hooking, Nick Schultz for cross-checking -- and forced the Wild to use the same three penalty killers -- Mikko Koivu, Greg Zanon, and Burns -- for 1:14 of the 2 minutes. On that power play for LA, Dustin Brown was alone at the side of the net not once but twice, and never got a shot off, blowing the pass both times. Zanon, playing despite having a broken ankle, blocked 6 -- yes, SIX -- shots during the game, including two on that power-play alone. (OW!)
What started out as a very dull, boring game in the first period had, by the end of the evening, become a lively, defensive struggle as the 18,284 in attendance at Xcel Energy Center roared their approval.
Next Game: vs. Chicago, Wednesday, March 31st, 7:00 PM, Xcel Energy Center. (Wild TV: KSTC-45; Hawks' TV: CSN-Chicago; Versus (in select areas only, check listings); XM Radio, Ch. 207)