The Wild go Duck hunting
NHL teams often bench their tough guys during playoffs, because the game is so much different than the regular season.
There's a sad irony in the fact that the guy who takes the lumps for his team day in and day out often doesn't share the glory of post-season play.
Last month, when I interviewed Wild Head Coach Jacques Lemaire for my cover story about Derek Boogaard, I asked if there was any chance The Boogeyman would see ice during the playoffs.
"If we play Anaheim, he will probably play," Lemaire said.
Evidently, Lemaire is a man of his word, because Boogaard took his regular shift last night in Game 1 against the Ducks.
The Boogeyman has his work cut out for him. Anaheim led the NHL in fighting majors with 71 this year—20 more than the next closest team—and has enough tough guys to start a street gang, led by 6-foot-5, 230-pound George Parros.
Meanwhile, the Wild has an Army of One.
Last night's game was a mixed bag for Boogaard. He took a penalty for charging early in the first period that swung momentum to the Ducks. But in the second period, the Boogeyman played disciplined hockey and drew a holding penalty that put the Wild on a power play right after they scored to go up 1-0.
Unfortunately, the Wild wasn't able to seize the advantage. That left the door open for the Ducks to eke out a 2-1 heartbreaker, despite the Dyson-like goalkeeping of Niklas Backstrom, who got run by his own teammate in the third to give Anaheim a cheap goal and a victory in Game 1.
Game 2 of the best-of-seven series will be played at Anaheim on Friday at 9:30 p.m.