0:00 - Close. Very close but the Columbus Blue Jackets will take this one 2-1. Wild is outshot 39-33. Backstrom does a fantastic job with 37 saves.
0:16.1 - The net is empty, giving the Wild a 6-on-4 advantage. Columbus calls its timeout.
1:16 - Another first as Todd Richards calls a timeout trying to get his power play unit organized.
1:43 - Just what the Wild needed. James Sheppard draws a holding penalty from Marc Methot and Minnesota will be on the power play for the rest of the game (barring a goal, which would be just fine).
5:10 - So that was scary. Niklas Backstrom
misplays one behind his own net and the Wild get out of it without allowing a goal. Meanwhile the shots sit at 37 for Columbus and 29 for Minnesota, an indication that this brand of Wild hockey may see more shots on goal for both teams.
6:40 - The Wild put on the heat against the Jackets that finishes with a slapper from Clutterbuck saved by Mason. I may have forget to mention that this game is a matchup between two Vezina finalists from last season. They have reminded us why they were nominated tonight.
9:50 - BLUE JACKETS 2, WILD 1 as Rostislav Klesla fires a slapshot past Niklas Backstrom. It appears the Blue Jackets are getting their money's worth so far on that freshly-signed four-year extension.
10:25 - Despite having spent four minutes in the box, Brent Burns still leads the Wild in ice time tonight with more than 19 minutes.15:17 - WILD 1, BLUE JACKETS 1: Andrew Brunette gets his 600th career point and the first goal of the season for the Wild on assists from Martin Havlat and Mikko Koivu (get used to that combination). Two nice passes and a great move by Brunette to get one by Mason on the power play.
15:54 - Wild on their third power play of the game as Brent Burns gets tripped.
18:46 - The Jackets get the first scoring chance in the third period on an odd-man rush. Backstrom stands tall again with a big save.
0:00 - The Blue Jackets lead after two periods, with Umberger's short-handed goal still being the difference. The Jackets outshot the Wild 17-12 in the second period and lead in the game 30-21. Backstrom's 29 saves are the difference right now for the Wild.
0:56 - The WIld kill off the penalty to Burns. Let's see if the Wild can't gain some momentum after a strong kill.
2:52 - More than halfway through this four-minute kill, the Wild get a stoppage of play. Backstrom standing tall.
4:58 - The Blue Jackets, feeling a little momentum after their first goal of the season, are about to go on their second power play of the season. A four-minute penalty as Brent Burns drew blood on Kristian Huselius.
9:02 - Rick Nash nearly scores again for the Blue Jackets on another breakway, which would have been another short-handed marker. Nicklas Backstrom comes up with a big save to deny Nash.
9:30 - BLUE JACKETS 1, WILD 0 as R.J. Umberger scores the first goal of the season for the Blue Jackets - shorthanded on a breakaway attempt.
11:04 - Petr Sykora takes a quick shot point blank on Mason, but he turns it away. On the Jackets' rush back, Samuel Pahlsson's interference call will give the Wild its second power play.
14:15 - The Wild looks good in its first power play of the season, albeit an unsucessful one. Martin Havlat nearly scores but is robbed by last season's Calder winner Steve Mason. The Wild are now outshooting the Jackets 16-12 with seven second-period shots.
15:20 - The Wild's first power-play unit is looking very good getting quite a few chances.
16:18 - The Wild will go on its first power play of the season after Nick Schultz draws a penalty on Derick Brassard.
20:00 - Second period underway.
0:00 - No score after the first period. Columbus outshoots the Wild 11-9 in the first. A few great scoring chances and a couple of posts.
2:35 - ...And the Wild successfully kills its first penalty kill under Todd Richards. The Jackets got two shots off during their first power play.
4:35 - The Wild will go on its first penalty kill of the season. Pierre-Marc Bouchard
gets called for a hook.
6:16 - Kyle Brodziak
and Owen Nolan go 2-on-1 into the Jackets' zone and the shot goes a little high over Mason. The Wild seems to be matching the intesity of the Jackets now after Columbus came out of the gate flying around the ice.
7:45 - The Wild return the favor by almost getting a goal of their own. Another great shift and another great scoring chance by the Wild's top line applying the pressure to a tired group of Jackets out on a long shift.
8:54 - WHAT a save by Niklas Backstrom
! The Jackets already had the horn going. An insane stick save by Backstrom.
12:30 - The Wild and Blue Jackets both hit posts (in the same shift).
13:39 - Our first TV timeout of the season.
14:08 - This first line (Brunette, Koivu, Havlat) is looking good after only one game together in the preseason. After a nice play by Martin Havlat to keep the puck in the zone, Brunette makes a nice move and Koivu gets a good shot off. The first great scoring chance of the season for the Wild.
15:40 - Wild being outshot 5-1 early in the first. Nikita Filatov - who had a hat trick against the Wild last season - misses the net despite a nice move.
17:33 - Some interesting sights already: Pierre-Marc Bouchard
playing center on the second line, John Scott on the wing on the fourth line and Cal Clutterbuck
already stirring it up (not a surprise, of course).
19:22 - A few big saves early by Niklas Backstrom
as the Columbus Blue Jackets come out with some fury.
20:00 - Koivu, Brunette and Schultz wearing A's
6:03 p.m., Saturday
Good choice of music for the pre-game TV open with Coheed & Cambria's "Welcome Home." Another job well done by Pat O'Connor and his TV crew. I don't know about you, but I'm already a big fan of the new TV graphics.
5:54 p.m., Saturday
The credits are rolling for Karate Dog
, starring Chevy Chase, Pat Morita, Jon Voigt and Simon Rex, on KSTC-TV, Channel 45 and we are all impatiently awaiting the beginning of the 2009-10 Wild season.
4:48 p.m., Saturday
Opening day is here for the Minnesota Wild and everyone is excited to start the 2009-10 NHL season. All 22 players were on the ice morning for what Head Coach Todd Richards termed a “great practice” this morning. Benoit Pouliot and Jaime Sifers were the last two players on the ice so it appears they will be the scratches tonight with John Scott playing wing. Niklas Backstrom
will get the start in net with Andrew Brunette, Mikko Koivu
and Nick Schultz wearing the A’s for the Wild.
Owner Craig Leipold will be in attendance tonight along with Bonnie and Tom Richards, the parents of Todd Richards. Almost seems like we are in the Twin Cities today as the Gopher football game was on in the hotel during lunch. And when we arrived at Nationwide Arena this afternoon, guys were watching the Twins game as they got ready for the game tonight.
To see some great photo’s taken today by assistant equipment manager Brent Proulx at the rink check out the Wild’s Twitter
Watch the action tonight on KSTC-TV, Channel 45 or tune in to 830 AM WCCO Radio. If you live outside the Twin Cities metro area click on this link
for more information on watching the game tonight. (This update courtesy of Aaron Sickman)
4:09 p.m., Saturday
We are less than two hours away from the first regular season game of the season for the Minnesota Wild and Columbus Blue Jackets. For those of you crazed hockey fans with the NHL Network, hockey began early today with the Chicago Blackhawks taking on the Florida Panthers in Helsinki, Finland and winning 4-0.
Right now, the Blues and Red Wings are just underway in the third period in Stockholm, Sweden. In a crazy game, the Blues have stormed back from a three-goal deficit and now lead the Wings 4-3.
But on to the game of most importance today.
Tonight's lines should looks something like this for the Minnesota Wild.Brunette - Koivu - Havlat
Nolan - Bouchard - Sykora
Clutterbuck - Sheppard - Miettinen
Belanger - Brodziak - Scott
Burns - Zanon
Schultz - Johnsson
Zidlicky - Hnidy
And, of course, last year's Vezina Finalist Niklas Backstrom
We'll be updating you in a little bit when Wild PR Manager Aaron Sickman
checks in with wild.com. Happy Opening Night, Wild fans.