How Wild players learned about Packers' playoff loss -- ‘Skol’ chant at Xcel
Usually a mainstay at U.S. Bank Stadium for Vikings home games, fans at the Xcel Energy Center busted out the “Skol” chant on Saturday night.
ST. PAUL -- With the Minnesota Wild and Chicago Blackhawks locked in a heated battle on Saturday night at Xcel Energy Center, there was a noticeable crescendo in the crowd during a relatively mundane moment of the game.
It started as a low murmur, built to tempered cheer, then erupted into a deafening roar.
On the Wild bench, rookie winger Brandon Duhaime turned to veteran winger Marcus Foligno to ask if he knew what was going on.
“I was like, ‘I don’t know,'” Foligno said. “I knew the Vikings weren’t playing.”
With the NFL playoffs in full swing, though, Foligno knew the rival Green Bay Packers were playing the San Francisco 49ers in the divisional round. Initially, Foligno thought the Packers might have won their matchup and were moving on to the NFC Championship Game.
Then he heard the “Skol” chant.
Usually a mainstay at U.S. Bank Stadium for Vikings home games, fans busted out the “Skol” chant on Saturday night at Xcel Energy Center to celebrate the fact that their biggest rival had been knocked out of the NFL playoffs.
” I was like, ‘OK, (the Packers) lost,'” Foligno said. “That was pretty funny.”
Asked if he realized what was going on, winger Jordan Greenway cracked a smile.
“I was on the bench trying to figure it out,” Greenway said. “I didn’t realize it right away. But it was funny to see that that was going on. Just a great atmosphere out there.”
Oh Captain, My Captain
After missing more than a month with a lower-body injury — the same ailment that sidelined him earlier this season — captain Jared Spurgeon returned to the lineup on Saturday night and didn’t miss a beat. He was strong in both ends and chipped in with a pair of assists as the Wild earned a 4-3 overtime win over the Blackhawks.
“He’s just so intelligent,” coach Dean Evason said. “He just makes such sound reads. If you see him make a bad pinch, let us know. Not only that. He stepped right in with his leadership qualities when things were a little sideways. He was verbally talking to the group the entire time of what we had to do. Just slipped right back into his leadership role.”
Between the pipes
It looks like goaltender Cam Talbot will return to the lineup on Monday night at the Xcel Energy Center. He’s missed the past few weeks with a lower-body injury and fellow goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen has filled in admirably in his absence.
That next man up mentality has been a strength of the Wild for much of this season.
“If someone gets hurt, some other guys step up,” veteran winger Mats Zuccarello said. “And Kaapo has really stepped up. He’s played unbelievable for us and helped us win a couple of games. He’s been great.”