By Kate Butler:
Coming off of a 2-1 win over the Calgary Flames, and with a
fresh new goalie between the posts, the Wild took the ice against Vancouver
after an interesting 24 hours. Darcy Kuemper started in goal for the Wild,
making his NHL debut. However, veteran goaltender Roberto Luongo was a forced
to be reckoned with when the Wild finally got some shots on goal.
Halfway into the first period, Kevin Bieksa put his Canucks
on the board with a goal on the tail end of power play. Minnesota opened the
second period on a power play, but didn’t capitalize that time around. Jannik
Hansen raised the bar nine minutes into the second period, when his goal put
Vancouver up 2-0. A short four minutes later, the Wild’s Devin Setoguchi fired
off a shot on a power play and made this into a one-goal game.
The Wild’s lack of strength in the first period proved to be
detrimental to the rest of the game, and even after juggling lines, they came
up with a scoreless third period making the final score 2-1. Minnesota crashed
the net on several occasions throughout the third period, but Luongo denied all
shots that came his way.
The Wild’s performance during the final period of play
warrants the question: Had they played with this same tenacity during the first
two periods, would Minnesota have come out on top? Minnesota had numerous
scoring chances in the third period, but couldn’t seem to finish the job. As
coach Mike Yeo said in an interview regarding the team’s scoring opportunities,
“We just have to capitalize.”
One of the top stories of the night had to be the
performance of Kuemper. Going from being a prospect to
being between the posts, Kuemper made 28 saves throughout his first game as an
NHL goaltender. It is still unclear as to which of the three goaltenders the
Wild will put in the net for their next game, but it’s safe to say he has a
chance at being their guy.
The Wild will take on the Colorado Avalanche this Thursday,
Valentine’s day, at 7:00 p.m. Tune in to KFAN 100.3FM for all the action.