Yestarday when I got the phone call I was extatic. I got in my car and drove six hours back to Anoka to see the family before tonight's game. All day today I lived the pregame hopes and dreams. I imagined how the win would happen tonight, how the pregame festivities would go, how awesome it would be to celebrate.
I did not however imagine the Wild wiffing on at least a half dozen opportunities, the most prominent a play that led to Rob Neidermeyer sniping. I was stunned how many times players had the puck and lost it with no one really contesting them. Brent Burns was the one that let the costly one go, but Skoula, Veilleux, Demitra, Gaborik and Koivu all had similar mistakes too. I don't understand what happened to make them do that, that isn't anything the Ducks really had control over, it was just teribly unfortunate for the Wild.
Besides the wiffs it was a fairly boring hockey game. The intensity of the playoffs wasn't something I felt from the players, any skill up front wasn't seen by either teams at all through the game and I was just disappointed to see 1-2-2 or trap forechecking by both teams for 75% of the game. The only player that really showed emotion tonight was Wild's fourth line forward Stephane Veilleux who absolutely nailed Chris Pronger on the penalty kill. That hit started the emotional rollercoaster that was the last seven minutes of the second period. It was ended by a long buzzing sound, and not really seen again.
It was a typical game between two tight teams though, whoever took advantage of the mistakes would win. Minnesota made probably 4-5 mistakes, got scored on twice. I think Anaheim made one mistake all game, with 38.6 seconds left and Pettori Nummelin took advantage.
I really think Minnesota can beat Anaheim though and will be extremely disappointed if they don't win game four, a game that i sadly will not be able to go to. Oh well I still have my puck, towel and new hat to remember the game. Wish me luck as I drive back to Houghton tomorrow through the beautifully cheesy state of Wisconsin.
WILD IN SEVEN!