The Ducks and Wild performed to expectation in Game one of their matchup. Both teams played stingy defense, both teams had offensive control and quality opportunities, and the game ended with a digging goal and just a 1 goal differential.
Niklas Backstrom is to be commended for his outstanding play. A couple pipes saved his game but he made huge saves when he was needed. He even made the save on the second goal when he was then obliterated by his own defenseman, Kim Johnsson, allowing Dustin Penner to scrape up a loose puck in the crease and stuff it in.
Two things stood out for me in this game.
One, the Ducks are speedy as hell and performed well with long outlet passes and in beating defensemen wide along the boards while retaining control of the puck. Selanne looks like he's still in his twenties. That knee must be bionic because he played like he was worth six million dollars.
Two, the Wild look timid. I ran out of enough hands and fingers to count how often they would win a race for a puck but hesitate to get it for fear of getting hit in order to make the play. Thus they lose the puck. That timidity may work in the regular season when you can hold out for a shootout win, but in the playoffs you had better be prepared to give and give in spades to make something happen.
All in all it was a solid game. Bryzgalov was solid for the Ducks (a couple pipes saved him as well), NiederPronger was steady but not overly exceptional, and it was a physical, chippy game.
What do the Wild need to do for game 2?
They need to find a way to slow down the Duck attack, especially the cross ice breakaway pass.
Also, they have to get that powerplay ignited. Any chance the Ducks will give you to get 2 minutes of extra advantage you need to find a way to capitalize on.
Game 2 should be just as intense and just as exciting. Hopefully it will also end up with a series tied at one game apiece.