Brian Burke is no longer throwing words around like “truculence” as Toronto’s general manager, but Randy Carlyle, the no-nonsense, brusque coach he hired to command the Maple Leafs, is still there. Carlyle, as the Wild knows from his days coaching Anaheim, loves the rough stuff. In fact, the Wild got so pushed around during its first-round series loss to the Ducks during Anaheim’s 2007 Stanley Cup run that then-GM Doug Risebrough loaded up the following year by acquiring heavies Todd Fedoruk and Chris Simon to join enforcer Derek Boogaard. Wednesday night, the Maple Leafs incited scrum after scrum and took out Minnesota’s starting goaltender halfway through the first period. But in the end, for the second consecutive meeting against the Maple Leafs, the Wild dramatically outchanced Toronto and rallied for a 2-1 shootout win. The Wild didn’t do it the easy way. It went 0 for 5 on the power play and frustrating fans to no end by registering one shot on a five-minute major in the third period. But with 4 minutes, 17 seconds left, Zach Parise scored his ninth goal and finished off Charlie Coyle’s setup after Coyle stole the puck from Phil Kessel in the Maple Leafs’ end. Parise and Jason Pominville each scored in the shootout as the Wild, which got another 36-minute game from Ryan Suter, picked up points for the 10th time in 11 games (8-1-2). Niklas Backstrom was knocked out of the game after taking a forearm shiver to the head by Maple Leafs forward Nazem Kadri. Later, Kadri was assessed a match penalty for charging into Mikael Granlund with an illegal hit to the head. Jonathan Bernier made 33 saves and looked on his way to his fourth career shutout against Minnesota before Parise scored. Josh Harding, who leads the NHL with a 1.21 goals-against average and .947 save percentage, made 19 saves for the Wild after Backstrom left the game 10 ½ minutes in after stopping 3 of 3 shots. It was a maddening night to be a Wild fan for some time. The Wild couldn’t score despite the majority of the night being spent in Toronto’s end. The Wild was also outmuscled and never stood up to Kadri after he sidelined Backstrom. Bernier was solid, as was Toronto’s defenders. Daniel Gunnarsson, Jay McClement and Dion Phaneuf each deflected golden point-blank chances by Parise, Granlund and Jared Spurgeon, respectively, out of play.
Wild lose Backstrom, but rally for 2-1 shootout win vs. Toronto
Minneapolis Star Tribune | Nov 14