If you had stopped watching this game in the first period, nobody would blame you. The Dallas Stars looked out of sync, yet again, amassing several costly turnovers that turned into goals. In the meantime, the Wild did their best skate and pray impression; content with a lead, and willing to spend their time thanking the hockey gods for it instead of playing actual hockey.
If you detect an Eakin's worth of acrimony in my writing, it's because the Minnesota Wild can be incredibly hard to watch. So yes, the comeback felt spiritually fitting.
And not just because the Wild shut Dallas out of the outdoor game. Yea that's part of it if we're being jealous and human. I can't actually blame the Wild for it; Chicago's a big draw, and successful. Who were we at the time? All the same Minnesota...wherever you roam, you better admit that the water around you has grown, and accept that soon you'll be drenched to the bone because...yes, the time's are a changing.
1. Minnesota Hockey 1 Exciting Hockey 0
What's the over/under on how long it takes Benn / Roussel to do something stupid here?— Wild Xtra (@wildxtra) November 29, 2015
Through the first period, and halfway through the second, Minnesota was successfully playing their game. For as much as we rag on the Wild's brand of hockey (and let's face it, it's not like previous incarnations of the Dallas Stars can't sympathize), it suits the roster. Ryan Suter is the pulse of the team, and Yeo has tapped into it; they don't play flashy, but they play fluid.
The Stars can seem rattled by disciplined hockey at times. Like they're the kid at the table rolling his eyes at the boy asking the teacher for more homework. If this were last season, the delinquent behavior might have spiraled out of control. But as the ole' saying goes, there are no anklebiters in foxholes.
2. Once You Pop, You Don't Stop
Stars +4.5% at Wild. Line shuffle in the Stars forwards clearly worked. pic.twitter.com/PLuS3GhRcI— Micah Blake McCurdy (@IneffectiveMath) November 29, 2015
Ruffling, adj. to switch roster players in a dragging or clumsy manner. Puck prevaricating, and evasive.
When fans and observers speak of "Ruffling", this is typically what they mean. Last night, there was nothing clumsy about Ruff's actions. Everyone in the top six played their way into the top six. Ruff admitted after the game he wanted to play the guys with the most energy, so you can see the logic in just sticking all of that energy in a paper bag and letting them rip. Granted, correlation does not equal causation, but rip they did.
3. Shorthanded Salvation
Benn goal, Stars trail 3-2 pic.twitter.com/8ZnNDPkCA6— Stephanie (@myregularface) November 29, 2015
An assist isn't always the one they tally on the scoreboard. Sometimes the real assist comes from the opponent. Thanks to one of the most awfully timed passes you'll see all season, Mikael Granlund's turnover to Cody Eakin led directly to this shorthanded goal by Jamie Benn. It's kind of ridiculous how accurate his shot is, which makes you wonder why he's so comically inefficient in the shootout. It isn't even December, and Benn is already two shy of the 20 goal mark.
4. Cashing in on Klingberg's Contract
Who walks the line better— christmas pun TBD (@Pat_Iversen) November 29, 2015
No words. No writing. Just tactile appreciation.
5. The Creed of Corsi
If the rope-a-dope could be programmed, categorized, or easily referenced, this is basically what it would look like.
This Dallas team is built like a prizefighter; you can hit them in the mouth, but they'll hit you right back.
6. Game: Blouses
Relive the magic here:
On to some stray observations:
- Patrik Nemeth played that two on one as bad as you possibly could; took away neither the shot, nor the pass. But he really settled down after that first period in which everyone appeared to be struggling (I'm not gonna argue that Jordie's pinch was worse, but how does he end up behind the Wild player??). Nemeth ended up the second best possession player on the team (behind Jason Spezza), and not exactly sheltered with 16 minutes of ice time to boot.
- Antti Niemi continues to play big in big games. The Wild actually had more high danger scoring area chances (10 to Dallas' 9), so he needed to be excellent, and he was.
- Valeri Nichushkin played his way onto Spezza's line and it looked pretty good. The two are possession beasts. As much as I like Mattias Janmark, he's just not a finisher. He's got playmaking ability, but he doesn't always get himself in positions to make plays (doesn't mean he doesn't have a solidified spot on the roster). At this point, Spezza and Nuke should be joined at the hip like Benn and Seguin. Speshkin? Sounds like a European breakfast dish. Nichuzza? Sounds like an Asian crime syndicate. Whatever the case, keep those two together please.
- Benn, Seguin, and Klingberg is basically a cheat code. In case you don't follow Josh Bogorad, he was kind enough to point out that all three of Dallas' overtime wins happened on the second shift of the three amigos.