It’s over. The Minnesota Wild has finally snapped its eight game losing streak by defeating the Edmonton Oilers 4-3 Thursday night in St. Paul. In a very emotional game, Minnesota found a way to do most of the things that have lacked in its game since its long streak began earlier this month.
Finding itself down 1-0 just 84 seconds into the game, the Wild leaned on the leadership and intensity of Mikko Koivu, something it had failed to do since his return from injury just after Christmas. Koivu, the team’s captain, refused to let the early deficit doom his team, and answered with a goal of his own in the latter part of the period. Mikko would also add an assist on Dany Heatley’s game winning goal. Jarod Palmer and Pierre-Marc Bouchard also tallied for Minnesota.
This game was all about emotion for both teams. Intensity has been missing from Minnesota’s game for a little while now, and it seems that it may have found it again, thanks in part to the Oilers. The game was very back-and-forth, and there were many skirmishes after the whistle. On top of that, it saw players being dumped into benches, and recently called up Matt Kassian tally 20 penalty minutes while only having 2 minutes and 12 seconds of total ice time. It was very refreshing to see the fire under the Wild’s game be relit, and is very encouraging for the future.
Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom improved his home record against Edmonton to 16-0-0, the best of any goalie against a single team in the league. Thursday night was only the second time in that streak that he has allowed more than two goals. Mikko Koivu continues to do his part, as he extended his point streak to nine games. Defenseman Marek Zidlicky also played a stellar game, as he recorded three assists on the night. Minnesota will next welcome the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday night, where we will see if it continues to bring emotion to the ice.
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