Sometimes the difference in a game is the presence of a superstar. In the case of today’s game between playoff hopeful Minnesota and virtually dead in the water Columbus, Rick Nash was the difference maker by being the game’s lone superstar. Nash delivered a crushing blow to the Wild’s playoff hopes delivering a two goal, two assist effort while Antoine Vermette scored in overtime to give Columbus a 5-4 victory in St. Paul.
Nash’s big game is the highlight effort showing the Wild and everyone else what it’s like when he can take control of a game. It also showed the one dynamic the Wild are missing on their own team in not having a game-breaking superstar. Mikko Koivu is a great player (and he had two assists today for Minnesota) but he’s not a guy that can flip a switch and dominate. That’s what Nash did today even in spite of the Jackets blowing a 4-2 lead with 5:07 to play when Antti Miettinen and Pierre-Marc Bouchard were able to beat Mathieu Garon (32 saves) late to tie things up.
That momentum for the Wild heading into overtime wouldn’t last though as Brent Burns’ bad decision turned into Vermette’s game winning goal. Although the Wild gain a point in the standings thanks to making it to overtime, they’re still five behind Anaheim and Calgary who are tied at 83 points for the eighth spot in the West. Anaheim gets the tiebreaker there for the time being, but for Minnesota, getting two points today was a must-get and they didn’t do it. Niklas Backstrom was helpless most of the day making 28 saves in the loss. If the Wild want to make the playoffs, they’ll have to get on a hot streak now and keep it going until the end of the season. More realistically, we can count out the Wild on crashing the postseason party.