I was lucky enough to get invited to the game between the Minnesota Wild and the Colorado Avalanche yesterday. My buddy had two extra Wild Tickets because one of his sons decided he would rather go to a birthday party than the Wild game. It was definitely my daughter and my lucky day. The game had as close to an NHL playoff atmosphere as a regular season game could. The Avalanche came in needing to beat the Wild to give them any chance of catching them for a playoff spot. The Avs left everything on the table and it was awesome to see the Wild respond with an overtime victory. I am confident that the Wild secured a playoff spot with the big win and that the Avalanche will be on the outside looking in.
There were two things that really stood out to me while watching the game. The first one was that Niklas Backstrom is just plain good. At this point of the Season, Jacques Lemaire needs to ride his hot goalie all the way to the Stanley Cup instead of feeling obligated to put Manny Fernandez in the rotation. The second one was that Brent Burns has developed into a very good NHL hockey player. He brings a lot of energy to the ice and has become a very solid defender. It doesn't hurt when he scores a goal like he did in the overtime yesterday. I am counting the days until the playoffs start. I just hope my buddy's kid has another birthday party to go to.