It’s going to be a short one tonight because, frankly, it’s late and I’m tired.
The Wild responded against the Dallas Stars and responded in a big way. They fell behind in the first period, after being outshot 11-5 (but not being outplayed) when Eric Nystrom repaid the Wild’s “betrayal” by putting the Stars up 1-0.
If we’ve learned anything about the Wild over this last stretch of games, it’s that when the going gets tough, they fold, right?
Not this time.
Minnesota fought back, this time, and Devin Setoguchi potted a power-play goal to tie the game.
The Wild continued to play good hockey but, again, the Stars got the upper hand with Phillip Larson scoring to put them up 2-1. After that, Darroll Powe manned up and answered the bell against Steve Ott, and everything changed.
Just over two minutes over that fight, Cal Clutterbuck potted his 12th goal of the season after a Dallas turnover and a missed check then, not even 20 seconds after that, Chad Rau scored his first NHL goal, banking the puck off of Brendan Morrow’s stick and past Kari Lehtonen and 59 seconds after Clutterbuck scored, Kyle Brodziak fired a one-timer past Lehtonen to put the Wild up 4-2 and they never looked back.
Dany Heatley capped it off in the third with a goal for his first three-point night since November 2010 and the Wild, all of a sudden, look like they remembered how they got to the top of the standings in the first place.
- The entire defensive unit looked cohesive, once again. In fact, they looked better than they’ve looked in weeks. I don’t want to point my finger and say it was Zidlicky but, after the best defensive performance that the Wild have had in the past few weeks, it’s going to be hard to put him back in the line up. Stoner and Falk were both beasts, Prosser got an assist in his first game back with the team, Spurgeon played out of his mind, Schultz and Zanon were steady again. No one played their way out of the line up, so I don’t see number three coming back in.
- Heatley played, in my opinion, his best game in a Wild uniform. A goal, two assists, three shots and, most of all, he wasn’t a liability and he was noticeable when he was on the ice. All of this after getting bumped down to the second line and playing with a couple of grinders in Brodziak and Johnson.
- Harding looked sharp and, despite Backstrom’s record against the Avs, I don’t see Harding leaving the net after this one. No way Yeo changes anything after this one.
1) Dany Heatley – A goal, two assists and, best of all, he wasn’t invisible.
2) Chad Rau – Scored his first NHL goal.
3) Justin Falk – Could be that he was the Wild’s best defenseman on Friday. He was physical, played great defense and had a great bounce back game after being scratched in Toronto.
In the move that absolutely everybody expected and most saw coming, the Wild traded Eric Nystrom to the Dallas Stars for “future considerations,” which essentially means that they get out of the remaining $2.8 million of Nystrom’s contract and don’t have to take on any salary in return.
Basically, they gave him to the Stars.
This isn’t a bad thing for either Nystrom or the team and, as Nystrom told Kent Youngblood, “It came down to numbers.”
The Wild didn’t feel that Nystrom was living up to his contract, so they waived him prior to the start of the season, then put him back on re-entry waivers before the trade.
It’s a win-win-win scenario for everyone involved, really.
The Wild get out of a contract that they didn’t want (I love Nystrom’s attitude, but his play on the ice wasn’t living up to his contract, quite honestly. The Wild have players on the roster that can do the same things he did for much less), Nystrom gets back in the NHL (As Chuck Fletcher told Mike Russo, “Eric is an NHL player. This trade gives him the opportunity to get back into the league.”) and the Stars get above the cap floor (Claiming him off of re-entry waivers wouldn’t have brought the Stars above the floor…Trading for him at full price does.)
For Fletcher, this is another good move to add to a list of good moves he’s been making lately. He was man enough to admit that Nystrom wasn’t working out and he made a move to correct it. It doesn’t take a genius to know that he wasn’t working out, and he’s got a chance to reclaim some of the limited success he had in Calgary.
In any event, this is a good move by the Wild who get an extra $1.4 million in cap space next season and the Stars get a player who’s going to be playing with a chip on his shoulder, not to mention a great person.
Like I said. A win-win-win scenario.