Who declared it 'Rick Nash Night' at Nationwide?
The Minnesota Wild's salute to the 'Bataan Death March' went thru Mid-Ohio Friday night, as the Wild managed to stave off victory, as two goals scored 27 seconds apart in the latter half of the third period, propelled the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 4-2 victory over the moribund Wild Friday night, in front of 16,419 at Nationwide Arena.
Rick Nash scored the game winner, and an empty net goal at the end of the game to lead the Jackets, who end the season series 2-2 against the Wild, each team winning its' games at home. Nash's empty netter was his 30th of the season.
Mikko Koivu did accomplish his 20th goal of the season in the first period to open the scoring for Minnesota, who have now lost 4 of their last 6 games away from St. Paul.
It was also the NHL debuts for two Wild rookies: forward Casey Wellman, who added an assist to Minnesota's second goal as he split the Jackets' defense, stole the puck and then passed to Chuck Kobasew for the tally. But after then, the Wild stopped working. Stopped skating, Stopped everything.
And then, there was defenseman Justin Falk, who left the game after a concussion shot to the head delivered by Columbus' Andrew Murray at 4:27 of the second period, for which absolutely no penalty was called by either referee, Brad Watson or Stephane Auger. The referees also missed R. J. Umberger's goaltender interference with Josh Harding on Columbus' second goal, as Umberger backed into the blue crease area (as confirmed by TV replay,) as Kris Russell took the shot while the Wild were being called for a James Sheppard penalty.
The future does, indeed, look bleak for the local sextet, as the most points after tonight they could earn is 96. 95 points are what most experts figure will be the playoff 'magic number', so does the march to the 'Tragic Number' begin Sunday afternoon? We will see what happens in the Next Game: vs. Calgary, Sunday March 21, 2:00 PM Central (1:00 PM Mountain) Time, Xcel Energy Center. (Wild TV: FSNorth (in HD); Flames' TV: Rogers SportsNet-West; XM Radio, Ch. 206)
P.S.: Would the party who commented in last night's blog about going to Philadelphia please re-comment your e-mail address? I lost it this evening. Sorry. -- WRT