In front of 19,040 fans, the Wild opened its season with a 4-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets. It was the first-career win as an NHL head coach for Mike Yeo. Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi, each coming to Minnesota in off-season trades with San Jose, both scored goals in their Wild debut. Marco Scandella scored his first-career goal on the power play in the second period. Brett Bulmer made his NHL debut, the first of 10 rookies to make their NHL debuts with Minnesota this season.
October 11, 2011
In hindsight, it was a tough, injury-plagued season for Guillaume Latendresse. However, on Oct. 11, Latendresse skated in his 300th career NHL game in a 2-1 road loss against the New York Islanders. In the game, Latendress picked up an assist on the Wild’s lone goal, scored by Matt Cullen. Brett Bulmer also had an assist on the play for his first NHL point.
October 20, 2011
The game was all but over and the Edmonton Oilers looked like they would hand the Wild its third-straight loss. But with two seconds left in regulation, Dany Heatley scored from a near-impossible angle to tie the game 1-1 and force overtime. Matt Cullen scored the lone shootout goal to give the Wild - from what looked like a sure loss – its third win on the season.
While growing out some fine ‘staches for MOvember, the Wild set a franchise record for most wins in a single month, going 11-4-0 in November. The previous record was 10 wins, reached twice before (March, 2007 and December, 2009).
November 1, 2011
The Wild kicked off MOvember with an overtime road win against the Detroit Red Wings, 2-1. The game will be remembered as Mikko Koivu’s Exploding Shoulder Game, as Koivu flattened Niklas Kronwall with a puck-protecting shoulder check before setting up Devin Setoguchi for the OT winner. The play would go on to win the Wild.com Top Play Tournament for the title of Top Play of the Year. If the overtime play wasn’t enough, Koivu tied it with one minute left in the third period. That’s why he’s the captain.
November 7, 2012
After missing the entirety of last season with a knee injury, it was unknown how Josh Harding would return during the 2011-12 campaign. Harding was named the NHL’s First Star of the Week on after going 3-0-0, while stopping 90 of 93 shots faced in three starts for a 0.99 goals against average and .968 save percentage.
November 12, 2011
Dany Heatley collected his 700th career point on an assist in a 5-2 loss to the Los Angels Kings. The Kings’ Twitter feed does not make fun of Heatley for the accomplishment.
November 13, 2011
Pierre-Marc Bouchard skates in his 500th NHL game at Anaheim. He celebrates the milestone by assisting on Jared Spurgeon’s game-winning goal against the Ducks, 3-2.
November 17, 2011
Kris Fredheim makes his NHL debut at home against the Colorado Avalanche (Wild won, 1-0).
November 23, 2011
The Wild signs goaltender Paul Deutsch on an amateur contract as an emergency backup. The goaltender's highest level of competitive hockey, besides men's league, was as a high school player. The 51-year-old took shots in warmups, but call up Matt Hackett arrived just before puck drop and sat as the backup netminder.
Deutsch's Wild Day
November 28 – December 10, 2011
The Wild rattles off seven-consecutive wins (Tampa Bay, Edmonton, New Jersey, Anaheim, San Jose, Los Angeles and Phoenix), the third-longest winning streak in franchise history. The streak helped power the club to first place in the NHL through Dec. 19, the farthest into the season the team has been ranked first. The Wild also posted a seven-game road win streak from Nov. 13 to Dec. 10 (Anaheim, Columbus, Edmonton, Anaheim, San Jose, Los Angeles and Phoenix), the longest in franchise history.
November 28, 2011
Mikko Koivu has one of the most well rounded games in the NHL. Against the Tampa Bay Lightning, his career stats were rounded out, as Koivu tallied his 100th NHL goal. Koivu iced the game with an empty netter, giving the Wild a 3-1 win over the Lightning. David McIntyre also made his NHL debut in the game. Cal Clutterbuck scored his 50th career goal in the game, as well.
December 6, 2011
Matt Hackett made his NHL debut in relief against the San Jose Sharks and was perfect, literally. The rookie goaltender stopped all 34 shots he faced for a 2-1 win, the first of his career.
December 10, 2011
In his 300th career game, Niklas Backstrom made 35 saves in a 4-1 win at Phoenix. That’s a lot of pre-game squat walks. In the game, David McIntyre collected his first career point, an assist.
December 12, 2011
I guess you could call it a decent week…for a rookie. Matt Hackett was named the NHL’s Second Star of the Week ending Dec. 12. Hackett set an NHL record for the longest shutout streak to start a career at 102:48. He stopped 76 of 78 shots in his first two career NHL games for 1.01 goals against average, .974 save percentage and two wins.
December 13, 2011
Dany Heatley skated in his 700th career NHL game at Winnipeg (the Wild lost to the Jets 2-1).
December 17, 2011
Jarod Palmer made his NHL debut at home against the Islanders (the Wild lost to New York in a shootout, 2-1).
December 19, 2011
The Wild signed 2011 first-round pick (28th overall) Zack Phillips to a three-year, entry-level contract. Phillips led the Saint John Sea Dogs to the President’s Cup, playoff champions of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. The 19-year-old also was named team MVP, scoring 80 points during the regular season
December 29, 2011
Jarod Palmer scored his first career goal in a 4-3 win against the Edmonton Oilers. With the game tied at one in the second period, Palmer cut down the right side and sent a wrist shot over the shoulder of goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin.
January 10, 2012
Matt Cullen has been around the block…a couple of times. The former Moorhead Spud reached an NHL milestone for longevity, playing in his 1,000th career NHL game against the San Jose Sharks. He didn’t show any signs of slowing down, however, scoring the fifth goal of the game. After overtime, Cullen bolstered his milestone game heroics by scoring the clinching shootout goal. Cullen became the third player (Carney, Brunette) and first native Minnesotan to reach the milestone in a Wild sweater. In the game, Josh Harding appeared in his 100th game.
Cullen’s 1,000th game celebration
January 19, 2012
Devin Setoguchi skated in his 300th NHL game on the road against the Toronto Maple Leafs (the Wild lost 4-1).
January 21, 2012
On Hockey Day Minnesota, Eden Prairie native Chad Rau made a big splash in NHL debut against the Dallas Stars. Rau scored the game-winning goal in the Wild’s 5-2 drubbing against the Stars. In the second period, the Wild scored three goals in 59 seconds (Rau scored the second goal in the trifecta), setting a franchise record for shortest timespan between a triplet of snipes. The game also marked the 100th of Clayton Stoner’s career.
January 24, 2012
Justin Falk scored his first career goal in a 3-2 win against the Colorado Avalanche. With the Wild on a first-period power play, Falk wired a wrist shot from the top of the left circle past Avs goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere. The game also was the 100th of Jared Spurgeon’s career.
Falk's first goal
February 7, 2012
The day after inking a two-year contract extension with the Wild, Nate Prosser tallied his first career goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets (the Wild lost the game 3-1).
Prosser's first goal
February 9, 2012
Dany Heatley set a franchise record quickest goal to start a game, scoring just 13 seconds after puck drop against the Vancouver Canucks. Unfortunately, the Wild couldn’t keep up that pace and were outdone by the Canucks, 5-2.
February 14, 2012
Kris Foucault made his NHL debut against the Anaheim Ducks (the Wild dropped the game 2-1).
February 28, 2012
Kyle Brodziak was an iron man with the Wild during the season, not missing a single game. Against the Los Angels Kings, the forward skated in his 400th career game (the Wild was upended by the Kings, 4-0).
March 1, 2012
In one of the craziest games of the season, two Wild players hit milestones against the Montreal Canadiens. Matt Kassian scored the first goal of his career, and then collected his second in the third period. Devin Setoguchi scored the tying goal with only 10 seconds left; the goal was the 100th of Setoguchi’s career. After coming from a three-goal deficit, the Wild lost in a 5-4 shootout.
March 11, 2012
Stephane Veilleux was acquired, along forward Nick Palmieri and defenseman Kurtis Foster a second round pick in 2012 and a conditional third round pick in 2013, from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for Marek Zidlicky, a few days before the trade deadline on Feb. 24. Veilleux collected his 100th career assist against the Calgary Flames (the Wild lost 4-3).
March 29, 2012
Jason Zucker’s NHL debut against the Florida Panthers at Xcel Energy Center was a pretty good one for the rookie to get his feet wet. Erik Christensen tied the game with 31 seconds left in the game and Mikko Koivu scored the overtime winner just 15 seconds into the extra frame.
Koivu's OT goal
March 31, 2012
Against the Los Angeles Kings, a pair of Wild players hit milestones for games played. A 4-3 shootout win for the Wild was Tom Gilbert’s 400th career game and the 300th contest for Cal Clutterbuck.
April 5, 2012
The Wild went beyond regulation for a fifth-straight game, beating the Chicago Blackhawks in a 2-1 shootout. In the game, Cal Clutterbuck collected his 100th career point with a goal, tying the game on the power play in the third period. Defenseman Tyler Cuma also made his NHL debut in the game.
April 7, 2012
In the final game of the season, defenseman Chay Genoway made his NHL debut against the Phoenix Coyotes and registered an assist (the Wild dropped the game 4-1). The final game of the year also marked the popular “Jerseys Off Our Backs” ceremony.
Jerseys Off Our Backs