Sunday, October 17, 2010

It shouldn't have come down to that...

Third-period 'non-goal goal' is final blow, as Jackets squeak by against lackadasical Wild

By Wild Road Tripper

Kelly Sutherland is getting the same reputation amongst modern-day Minnesota Wild fans, as fans of the late, lamented Minnesota North Stars had for John Ashley and Bruce Hood.

You should hear his name announced, and immediately boo lustily.

Sutherland's 'I didn't see it go across the line' goal call, with 9:02 remaining in the third period, was just enough for the Columbus Blue Jackets to eke out a 3-2 win over the Wild, in front of the first non-sellout home crowd (17,336) in the Wild's regular season history.

Jackets' center R. J. Umberger claimed to score, Sutherland accepted Umberger's claim, then a non-review review (according to Minneapolis Star-Tribune Wild beat writer Michael Russo) from the Toronto 'war room' confirmed...absolutely NOTHING. (A later review, provided by Fox Sports Ohio, confirmed the goal however.) Sutherland's 'call' was allowed to stand, and that was the difference in the contest.

The Wild then finally turned up the pressure, but to no avail, as Jackets' backup goaltender Mathieu Garon (who tortured the Wild frequently, when Garon played for the LA Kings) stonewalled the Wild, who stormed the Columbus net for most of the last two minutes, something which they should have thought of earlier in the contest, like in the first period, where they only managed TWO shots on goal.

The Wild lost their second game in regulation in the young season, to yet another team which they really should have defeated easily. They have no one to blame...but themselves. They didn't skate at all in the first period, and for a good portion of the third, as well. This was a Jackets team which had been throttled at home (in front of a sellout crowd, BTW) by the Chicago Blackhawks Friday night, 5-1. They were embarrassed. This Columbus team should have been taken to the woodshed. They weren't. And that's the problem. Too many teams have been let off the hook by the Wild, as the Wild think they can turn it on and off like a light switch.

It doesn't work that way. Never has.

With 6 of the next 7 games against teams who made the playoffs in 2009-10, the time to make hay was against teams, like Columbus, whom you should be able to beat. Two points are two points, whether you get them in October or March. Getting the points NOW makes life in March much easier to bear.

This Wild team hasn't figured that out, yet. Hopefully, if this team has any playoff aspirations, the season doesn't come down to games like this one.

Because, it shouldn't come down to that...

Next Game: vs. Vancouver, Tuesday, Oct. 19, 8:00 PM Central Time, Xcel Energy Center. (TV: FSNorth, FSWisconsin, Rogers SportsNet-Vancouver, all feeds HD)

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