"Shootout loss, delayed flight, hotel arrival at 3:00 am, playing a team that has won 5 in a row, leads their division and is second in the conference, in a city in which they haven't won since 2003? Sounds like a recipe for disaster. That's exactly what we were looking at when Karlis Skrastins (the 36 year old defenseman with 29 career goals in 758 career games) opened the scoring at the 3:52 mark of the first with the assist to Wild fan favorite Steve Ott. Yeesh. Not exactly the way to open the game.
Luckily the Wild settled down, Jose Theodore got in a groove and, more importantly, the defense allowed him to see the puck in front of him (that's called foreshadowing, folks).
The key tonight was getting through the second period doldrums without being out of the game. The Wild were in control of the second, outshooting the Stars 10-3 when Steve Ott took advantage of a lazy Mikko Koivu hi-sticking penalty and a bad Greg Zanon screen, putting the Stars up 2-0. That could have been lights-out for a tired Wild team, but instead they bounced back and thanks to Mikko Koivu's hard work, Antti Miettinen was able to pound home a rebound when Koivu drove to the net and caused trouble for Stars netminder Kari Lehtonen. With the lead in shots on goal 15-9 in the period and 22-16 overall, the Wild were actually looking pretty good in a tough situation.
The Wild came out buzzing, seemingly on pure adrenaline, and Chuck Kobasew took advantage of a premo rebound, burying it past Lehtonen after Cal Clutterbuck and Matt Cullen did the dirty work to get the puck up the ice and apply pressure. However, after that goal, the ice tilted. Severely. Adam Burish put the Stars up 3-2 on yet another bad screen (and Greg Zanon, by the way, was on for all three Stars goals at this point). and the tilt got even worse. The Wild went almost 10 minutes without any sustained pressure in the offensive zone, and Jose Theodore did a fantastic job keeping the Wild in the game.
Then we know what happened in OT.
One of the questions posed on the Wilderness before the game was "Does Jose Theodore have it in him to change the team's luck in Dallas?" Here was their answer: "If it weren't for his defensemen screening him all night. Jose needs to start yelling at people (I'm looking at you, Greg Zanon.)"
Which makes me wonder...has anyone ever seen José yell at his defenseman, anywhere? I know Patrick Roy did it a lot, but I haven't seen José.
On the Wild's website, Glen Andresen mentioned this in his 5 Takeaways: "Ott was his usual annoying self, and the Wild did little to challenge him. He routinely got in the face of José Theodore and jostled with Wild skill players."
Urgh...again, I'm relatively new to hockey, so this was my first exposure to Ott, and I despise him. Period.
16:18 - MIN 0 - DAL 1 - The Stars draw first blood just after coming up empty on an early power play. Ott finds Karlis Skrastins at the blue line, and when he sees traffic in front, he just sends a long wrist shot that Theodore doesn't see until it's too late. The puck zips by the waffle glove and lights the lamp early.
4:02 - Again, well after Theodore gloves a long shot from the blue line, Ott, who is at least 20 feet away, goes all the way to the crease to start jabbering at Theo. Brent Burns is there and he quickly horsecollars Ott and pulls him out of there. I think it's about time for Brad Staubitz to find Ott out there. This is infuriating me.
17:52 - This time it's Clutter's nemesis with a breakaway in the Wild zone. Richards finds Ott with a long lead pass. He goes in full steam and then shoots from about five feet out and of course keeps going and barrels into Theodore. He wasn't pushed, so I don't know why there's no call here, and I'd also like a Wild player to step up and rattle this guy's cage.
11:26 - The Stars do have some talented players as well, and one of them is James Neal. He makes a great play to rush past the Wild defense and get in on Theodore. But like he did two games ago, Theo makes a spectacular pad save right along the goal line and he kicks it out despite falling into his own net.
8:15 - MIN 0 - DAL 2 - I don't feel so good. There is nothing more nauseating than seeing Ott of all people take a nifty drop pass from Neal and then roofing a wrist shot past Greg Zanon and Theodore and into the top corner on the far side. I think I'd rather see Jarkko Ruutu score against us.
16:06 - Theodore comes up big and helps the Wild dodge a bullet. Neal gets free in the right circle and puts a shot right on. Theo makes that save but the rebound comes right back to Neal and from point blank range he misses the net.
14:03 - MIN 2 - DAL 3 - Just like that, the Stars grab the momentum again. Behind the net, Trevor Daley throws the puck to the front of the net where former Wisconsin Badger Adam Burish is standing with his back to the net. Burish stops the pass and as Theo moves to his right, Burish puts a backhand to the opening just vacated and gets the Stars a lead again.
8:07 - Ever since Kobasew's tally, it's been all Stars hounding the Wild in the Minnesota end. Theodore has had to be rock solid to keep his team in this one.
2:05 - A shot from the point gets through to Theodore and the rebound comes right to Mike Ribeiro all alone in front. He tries to fake out Theo, but the Wild keeper stays right with him and puts up the wall.
1:23 - MIN 3 - DAL 4 - And it's over. A Stephane Robidas shot on the power play eludes the shoulder of a screened Theodore. The Stars win their sixth straight, while the Wild gets a second straight point but stays winless in its last five.
And this was what Robidas said about his game-winning goal:
Robidas scored a power-play goal 3:37 into overtime to lift Dallas to a 4-3 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night and stretch the Stars' winning streak to six games.
Robidas' shot from the high slot didn't have a lot of steam, but it still got past screened goalie Jose Theodore while Minnesota's Brent Burns served a tripping penalty.
"It wasn't a great shot. I got lucky it went in," Robidas said after his sixth career game-winner, second in overtime. "I had it in my mind to shoot it right away, so I just put it to the net and it went in. Maybe that threw (Theodore) off, too. It's one of those goals that's maybe not a pretty goal, but I'll take it."
FYI...Theo said in an interview while with the Caps that Robidas was the best roommate he's had in the NHL (they were friends while playing together in Montreal.)
And that's it for tonight. G'night!