The view from Minnesota

They call it the “state of hockey’’ up in Minnesota, and give credit to those fans. The Minnesota Wild made a brutal fall out of the playoff picture in the second half of the season, but last night, in the third-to-last home game of the season, with nothing really at stake, the Wild drew an announced crowd of 18,209 to Xcel Energy Center. They haven’t had an announced crowd under 17,000 since before Thanksgiving. There are a couple playoff teams that would love to say that. The Wild weren’t particularly impressive last night, but they did skate hard, forecheck and block shots. Against a Kings team that was a half-step slow at times — a 3:45 a.m. hotel arrival will do that to a team — the Wild pushed the action and got rewarded for it. If the goalie who makes the biggest save deserves the win, then Nicklas Backstrom deserved the win last night for his overtime save on Mike Richards’ one-timer. Here’s how the Minneapolis Star Tribune and the Pioneer Press covered last night’s game, followed by some additional postgame quotes from the Wild’s locker room, courtesy of The Associated Press…

Wild succeeding in role of spoiler (Star Tribune)

Minnesota Wild beat Kings as new guys star (Pioneer Press)


(on being a “spoiler” team…) “We take a lot more satisfaction out of doing things the right way and keeping up with the standards we have for ourselves than we do in beating somebody else and hurting their chances.”

(on his goal…) “You look at all the goals that are scored in the league, 90 percent or 95 percent are going to be scored like that, just going to the net. You’re not going to score a lot of pretty goals.”

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