Taming the WIld, a Report from the English Isles

Another slightly later report, as I had to play catch up on the game after watching a game and then training at my local rink (60 mile round trip). There's not many rinks over here. I even picked up my own upper body injury, to use the parlance of the NHL. Bloody amateurs that we are. I haven't read the news on this very site yet today, but I can guess there's more gripes about the ice at Barclays, and sure, the guys who have to play there are professionals but my rink and the ice conditions there bring a whole new meaning to the word terrible.

On to the the Isles game, watched while enjoying a couple of cold Goose Island IPAs. I am envious of some of the beer you yanks produce. A few changes in the lineup, Greiss in net, Pulock out with a broken foot (really not good news) but Leddy back in (better news). Beauvillier was in again, which is making me wonder whether he's going to stick for the season. The Cizikas line starts the period, in usual Cappy style, but the line has been providing god offense and in Cappy speak is 'doing the right things'. The first is pretty back and forth, maybe with a slight edge to the Isles, in my estimation at least. Staal goes on a breakaway for the Isles, leading to the first test of the Isles PK, which I am informed is 18 for 19. Impressive. The goalies bail them out at times, with Greiss doing that in this PK, but with hoe effective it is, I feel like only a monumental cock up or some bad luck will get past the PK. I am hoping this statement won't change that, but at times I feel better about not conceding a goal when the Isles are shorthanded than I do at even strength. Shortly after the PK expires, the PP is called upon, apparently it's 1 for 14 at this point. I don't think I need to say much on the matter, especially as it failed to convert again. A Tavares chance pretty much wraps up the period, leaving me with a thought that is most probably shared by the entirety of the Isles fan base - this line needs to get scoring more. Also, there are too many key forwards failing to get on the scoreboard.

On to the second, where the scoring finally opens up, but in the Wild's favour. Parise scoring after a piss poor line change from the Tavares line. The Wild continue to pressure, and then go on the PP again, which looks dangerous and I'm left wondering if the Isles are going to limp though this game, but thankfully the PK held. Then it happens, a goal from Tavares with an assist from Bailey, to get most of the top line registering a point. Bailey showing some serious smarts to pull the puck in and pass it to the captain for a sweet one timer. The excitement didn't stop there, with only 34 seonds passing before the go ahead goal from De Haan. Another poor line change leads to a breakaway from Parise which gets saved by Greiss to see play turn around for a 2 on 1 from Ladd and Tavares. The following faceoff delivers the goods via Boychuk, making it 3 goals within 3:08, a nice turnaround after going down a goal earlier in the period. Of course the 2 goal lead was short lived after a video review showed via an extreme close up that Parise had scored again. The fucker. The Wild were buzzing from that gratuitous turn of events and were applying pressure, causing all kinds of nerves, but the Isles held out. I still felt somewhat uneasy. It's like when the England football team take a lead, you wonder how long it will last.

I was pretty surprised going into the third that the lines have managed to remain unchanged for so long, considering Cappy's tendency to continually change things up. The period started with the teams trading possession and chances, with neither really establishing real dominance. An unfortunate juggling puck prevented Hamonic from being able to get a decent shot that could've seen that change. What would change that was a pretty damn smart play from the rookie, Beauvillier's block leading into a 3 on 2 where he showed patience to set Quine up to make it 4-2. An insurance goal from Hickey then followed, with Tavares registering another point with an assist to make it 5-2. The defense really are getting involved in providing offense so far this season. Just as it looked like the Wild might be going on the PP again, Coyle decides to jump Kulemin and negate the advantage, The Wild would get their PP though, with Hamonic getting the extra minutes when Coyle acted like a bitch after being confronted. The Isles kept their PK stats looking good, although the Wild scored basically as soon as the penalty expired, so swings and roundabouts I guess. AFter a few scary moments in front of the Isles net the game was sealed with the empty netter from Tavares, which gave Ladd his first point in the blue and orange, hopefully with many more to come.

All in all, happy with the win, but still hoping for some more consistency at even strength, as relying on a good PK isn't going to win hockey games. An improved PP would help, but I'm not holding out for that any time soon, as I seem to be saying it every time I write one of these things. I want to be proved wrong though.

Until next time.

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