Happy returns for Brodziak, Wild wins 4-2 in Edmonton
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As far as we know, Kyle Broziak didn't ever make any prophetic MacArthur-like prediction of future glory when he left Edmonton in 2009. But the words "I shall return" were uttered in the form of two goals on Thursday, as the Alberta kid, and former Oiler, sparked the Minnesota Wild to a 4-2 road win on Thursday.
It was the fifth career two-goal game for Brodziak, who came to the Wild two summers ago in a trade with the Oilers. More importantly, it gave the Wild its first winning streak of the season.
"Kyle, coming back here to Edmonton, I know this was a big came for him," Wild coach Todd Richards said in the post-game scrum. "He scored two big goals for us, his first two of the year. But where he's probably even more valuable...are his penalty kill and his faceoffs."
Penalty kills, and faceoffs became more and more important as the game went along, as Wild players seemingly spent more time in the penalty box than on the team bench.
In what looked like it could be a blowout early, the Wild scored on three of seven shots in the opening period, and could have seemingly opened an even wider lead had they not begun a parade to the penalty box after going up 2-0. In all, the Oilers had 10 power plays in the game, and scored on two of them. That tied a Wild team record, as only one other time had the team been shorthanded 10 times in a game.
"They've got some real good talented young players that can make plays, so we tried to eliminate their time and space," Wild defenseman and key penalty killer Greg Zanon told FSN North after the game. "It was a little unacceptable on our part, 10 is way too many in a game."
There was some pregame speculation that Jose Theodore might make his first start for the Wild. Instead, Niklas Backstrom earned the win in more ways than one, stopping 34 shots as the team improved to 3-2-1.
"It starts with your goaltender. He made some big saves for us," Richards said. "And blocked shots, guys paid the price there. It was a team effort, because when you're killing that much, I had to use a lot of different guys."
Most encouraging in the win was the message that may have been sent within the Northwest Division via the Wild getting a rare victory in Rexall Place. The team had gone 1-6-1 in its previous eight trips to Edmonton. Instead of furthering that dismal record, the Wild set a new team record, scoring three goals in the first period of consecutive games for the first time ever.
"It wasn't the way we wanted to draw it up, but the guys found a way to win, playing against a division rival," Richards said.
With Backstrom busy on Thursday and the Wild playing in Vancouver 25 hours later, on Friday night, expect to see Theodore in goal versus the Canucks.