By Michael Russo
SUNDAY UPDATE: Mark Parrish has a mild head injury. He is listed as day-to-day and will try to practice Monday, according to the Wild.
I’ll tell you what, this was a fun game story to write. Lots of terrific quotes in the locker room and time to actually write because of the time change.
And I’ve got the Shins singing inside my ears, which I find to be one of the most relaxing way to write.
I cannot believe this game wasn’t televised in the Twin Cities tonight, at least locally. The Wild scored three gorgeous goals, so go online and look at the highlights tomorrow (Sunday). Hopefully, you can see the Brian Rolston winner from the start of the shift because Pierre-Marc Bouchard was ridiculous.
The Wild must have known Nick in New York and his lovely wife were driving to Ohio from the Empire State for this one because it treated them to a show.
Actually, for two periods, it put on a show. In the third, the Wild was outshot 11-1, and in reality, that one would not have been a shot in Minnesota. It was a center-ice dump-in by Mikko Koivu on a penalty kill.
But Niklas Backstrom, whom I just realized didn’t get his name mentioned in my game story, stood tall by making 11 of his 33 saves in the third to win for the seventh time in 11 starts (7-2-1 and one no-decision).
Wild has won seven of its last 10, believe it or not.
Tonight was a weird game, too. Somebody must have taken a saw to everybody’s sticks during the day because they were breaking in half all game. I mean, dozens of fractured sticks.
RW Mark Parrish sustained a head injury. The birthday boy collided with Jan Hejda on his first shift and was clearly dazed. He continued playing — 14 more shifts to be exact — until he was pulled early in the third with a head injury. He looked horrible after the game. He’ll be re-evaluated on Super Bowl Sunday. By the way, only seven or eight Wild players have to practice Sunday.
As I mentioned, there were a slue (or slew) of pretty goals tonight. I wrote tons about them in Sunday’s paper, so spend $1.25
Quickly, here’s a funny story on the first goal, a Kurtis Foster bomb — OK, he says a 57-mph wrister — that deflected off Ron Hainsey and in.
Pierre-Marc Bouchard was in the circle to take the faceoff. I was sitting here in the pressbox wondering what the heck was going on. After all, PMB has taken four faceoffs this season.
Well, funny how things turn out, Todd Fedoruk jumped too early and the linesman kicked Bouchard out for Mikko Koivu, who’s been a faceoff wizard since he’s returned from injury.
Koivu won the draw cleanly and Foster scored. This whole bizarre sequence was in my mind all game, so after, I asked Koivu why he wasn’t in the circle initially. Turns out he was late jumping onto the ice and the linesman wouldn’t let him in to take the draw.
Worked out in the Wild’s favor in the end though. See how little things make all the difference? Bouchard takes that draw, I promise you Foster doesn’t score, and then who knows how the complexion of the game changes.
Speaking of Foster, Wild is 11-4-1 when he scores a goal all-time.
Rolston scored a goal for the fifth straight game, tying his career high. The NHL high goal streak this season is six games. Also, Rolston’s next goal will be his 20th, meaning he and Marian Gaborik, who had two tonight, will become the only Wild players in history to have three consecutive 20-goal seasons.
The way Rolston’s playing now, I’m guaranteeing it will be three straight 30-goal seasons, too. He was terrific tonight, although I gave Gaborik and Pavol Demitra first- and-second stars in the paper, and a Nick Schultz-Brent Burns combo the third star. PMB could have been up there, too.
This might get chopped out of the Star Tribune’s 3 Stars box, but Wild is 25-3-1 when scoring first and 24-2-2 when scoring at least three.
OK, blog will likely be dark Sunday as I remain in Columbus to watch the Super Bowl. Talk to you Monday ladies and gents.