Everything you need to know about this game happened in the third period. "He Who Wears the Mock-Turtleneck" (Dany Heatley) scored in the first, and Jonas Hiller held Minny to that one goal with outstanding play the rest of the way. But the Ducks didn't fully become an overpowering menace until the third period. Annoying that they don't do that right from the outset? Yes. Do I care considering they won? Not so much.
Oooh girl. I don't know what Boudreau said to the boys in between periods but whatever it was, it lit a fire. From the drop of the puck the Ducks pressured. The forecheck (especially by Nicklas Hagman and Matt Beleskey) was a thing of beauty. I even saw Ryan Getzlaf hustle, then take the inside of a Wild player as that player attempted to wrap around the net. If they want a miracle to happen, they need to keep playing like that. No nights off.
-- JONAS HILLER. I've said it a couple times: it doesn't matter if you're lucky or good as long as you stop the puck. Hiller has done just that, even if he did get some help from the posts or quick whistles. I've been watching his body language in post game interviews. He just looks happier and healthier - even in a loss. I believe that he's the one player that has been impacted the most - in a good way - by the coaching change. From what I've read, he's getting more rest on off days, at Boudreau's insistence, and that has paid of in spades.
-- Once again, MVPerry comes alive in the second half. Through 56 games last season, Perry had 26 goals. We're through 56 games now and he's got 27 goals. If he's going to follow an 11-shot night with a 6-shot night, I like our chances because he's scary, scary good. I didn't even mention that he lead the team in blocked shots with 4.
-- Nicklas Hagman is one of the biggest steals of the season. We knew he was once a big-time goal scorer, and would be a solid addition until Jason Blake returned. He's played his ass off, no matter what line Boudreau puts him on. The goal he scored tonight shows you exactly the type of player he's been since joining the team.
-- I thought Luca Sbisa and Francois Beauchemin were beasts once again. They were all over the Wild. They were blocking shots and throwing people around at the end of the third period (when I was having a heart attack) that really helped Hiller and bailed out the team of what I an almost certain goal.
-- So much for the momentum generated by the power play on Sunday. The boys went 0-3 tonight, which included a double-minor.
-- Not so much bad as it is slightly concerning, Teemu Selanne had the third lowest ice time tonight with 13:27 and the fourth lowest shifts with 15. I'm not going too far into this right now because I have a feeling it's Boudreau resting his 41 year old winger on the first game of back to backs on this loooong road trip. Just watch him a little closer in Pittsburgh.
-- I feel like I'm teetering on starting another "Have you seen this boy?" campaign with Bobby Ryan. When he scores, it's when the game is pretty much in the bag. He's trying too hard, waaay too hard. He had beautiful puck handling skills, but doesn't need to make Sportscenter's Top 10 with each goal. 90% of the time it's going to result in a turnover. I love, love, love him. He needs to contribute more, though.