Minnesota entered its game on Jan. 10, 2008 against the mighty Detroit Red Wings as losers of two in a row and three of their past four games. The Wild were taking on a Red Wings squad that had won 33 of 44 games to begin the season, and they were without a doubt the best team in hockey.
After starting the season 7-0-1, the Wild were in the midst of a larger stretch where they had just gone 16-17-1 over the following 34 games, including two losses to Detroit — 5-0 and 4-1.
The game was expected to go that route again as the Wild had received some subpar goaltending in the games leading up to this contest, allowing at least three or more goals in the five prior games.
And to put the Wild in the news, even more, it was just announced that the team had been sold to Craig Leipold for an undisclosed amount. Leipold became the second owner of the Wild in team history as he bought the team from the late Bob Naegele, who remained on as an investor.
“It really is an honor for Bob to pass the baton down to me,” Leipold said. “This is a genuinely incredible moment. For you hockey fans, know one thing: I am incredibly passionate about hockey and I am committed to winning a Stanley Cup.”
“When you look at a franchise that embodies everything a franchise wants to be, this is the franchise everyone wants to be. This is the new standard. For a little boy from Neenah, Wis. … to become part of this franchise is nothing short of incredible,” he said via St. Paul Pioneer Press.
It would take Leipold a while to get the Wild built back into a Stanley Cup contender, as after this season the Wild went the next four years without making the playoffs. And we can debate on a different day if they have ever really been a Stanley Cup contender since they made their return to the postseason.
But anyway, back to the game. Just as everyone expected, the game — featuring two teams going in opposite directions — resulted in a gunslinging shootout between Minnesota and Detroit.
Check out the highlights:
The Wild had leads of 3-1 and 4-2, but they still needed last-minute heroics to send the game to overtime from…
And then they needed shootout heroics from non-shootout specialist Marian Gaborik! What a time to be alive!
If you missed it, Niklas Backstrom was pulled following the fourth Detroit goal in favor of Josh Harding as Jacques Lemaire sensed the momentum at that point was heavily in favor of the Red Wings and decided to switch goaltenders.
Chris Osgood, who started opposite Backstrom in this game, played the entire 65 minutes plus shootout for Detroit.
After the game Lemaire said of his team, “It was a busy day, winning a game against this team, which we don’t do too often, and getting new owners. It’s a big day.”
This was just the seventh time in 27 prior meetings all-time that the Wild had defeated the Red Wings. Not a bad way to get started with a new owner by knocking off the NHL’s most dominant team of the 2000s.