I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating: There is no better time to be a hockey fan than during the Stanley Cup playoffs. This is the reason I have season tickets so I can make sure I get to be at the Xcel Energy Center when the playoff series comes to St. Paul.
Last night did not disappoint. The Wild were down two games and needed a win and frankly some offense, and they got both last night at home.
It was rough start with the Stars’ Patrick Sharp getting the first goal just 26 seconds into the first period. Then a few minutes later Sharp struck again making it 2-0 Stars. This was the moment when the crowd could have turned on the home team. I kept looking around waiting for the fans to start booing, but instead they (myself included) started cheering on the little things. A hit, time in the Dallas zone, a good pass, getting the puck out of our zone, really anything that happened that was positive, the fans were cheering. By the end of the first period the Wild were buzzing in the Dallas zone and you could just feel the game start to shift.
I thought to myself if we could just get one goal before the period ended, we would turn this game around. And then with less than a minute left, Chris Porter redirected a pass by Erik Haula for his first goal of the playoffs and it was a big one. This was the goal that changed the momentum in this game and gave the Wild and the fans a reason to believe that they could do this!
The rest of the game it was pretty much all Wild. Six minutes into the second period, Erik Haula tied it up 2-2 with a great redirect goal. At the end of the period Jason Pominville got his first goal of the series and gave the Wild their first lead, 3-2.
In the third period it was time for Wild captain Mikko Koivu to step up and be a difference-maker. He scored on the Power Play to give the Wild a 4-2 lead. The crowd (me included) went CRAZY!
That goal would end up being the game winner as the Wild went on to beat Dallas by a score of 5-3.
Now we can all move onto Game 4 at the X on Wednesday night. It’s a late one so make sure you’re well rested. Puck drops in St. Paul at 8:30 p.m., and if you’re going to the game I leave you with these words from Wild Head Coach John Torchetti: “I thought our fans did a great job, I know they were upset at first, but they certainly got behind us. I thought they were awesome and that’s what we need next game. We need that support, the trust; you know that’s what it’s all about.”
Fans really can make a difference! See you at the X, and go Wild!