Wild southeastern road woes continue in 2-1 loss to Panthers
By Wild Road Tripper
SUNRISE, Fla. -- When will it end?
The Minnesota Wild just can't seem to respond in warm weather. Proof positive was displayed once again Friday night at BankAtlantic Center, as the Wild dropped a 2-1 decision to the otherwise hapless Florida Panthers before an announced (but nowhere close) 15,077 fans.
The Panthers, as motley a collection of other teams' castoffs as there can be, managed to put two goals behind backup goaltender Jose Theodore, as the Wild defense once again came unglued during a key 54-second stretch in the first period, as both Chris Higgins and Mike Santorelli scored for Florida en route to their second straight home victory (the Panthers defeated the hapless Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday night) as the Wild record away from St. Paul dropped to 0-3-1 against the Southeast Division.
Andrew Brunette scored for the Wild. Radek Dvorak played in his 578th game for the Panthers, making him the longest serving Panther of all time.
At the end of the game, however, Brent Burns, following thru on a shot right at the buzzer, managed to butt-end Florida winger Steve Bernier, injuring Bernier to the point where surgery will be necessary to repair the damage to his cheekbone. Burns was suspended for three games on Saturday by the NHL for his actions.
The Wild now face another Southeast team on Sunday, as they travel to Tampa to take on the Tampa Bay Lightning, in a Sunday twilight game at 5:00 PM Eastern (4:00 PM Central) time at the St. Pete Times Forum (TV: FSNorth, Sunshine Network), a team also reeling after the loss of Vincent Lecavalier on Friday night to a hand injury while skating against the Washington Capitals.
(NOTE: Due to travel complications caused by the recent snowstorm in the Twin Cities and computer issues in the Southeast, this blog entry is indeed one day late. My apologies. -- WRT)