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Ryan Stanzel will bring you live commentary as the Wild take on the Calgary tonight at the Saddledome.8:30 p.m.
Good news Wild fans, I am 1-for-1 tonight as far as teams I root for. Congrats to the Eastview Lightning girls varsity basketball team, a winner tonight. I did not make it to the game - perhaps as payback to my niece Tyra for constantly telling me "cool" teenage sayings to put into the RSS Feed that really aren't cool. Remember "home skillet bisket?" Who knew you folks were laughing at me after that one.
Big happenings tonight as my trusty chihuaha/dachsund mix Daisy and I settle down for the first Wild road game we've ever seen at our new Crocus Hill area condo. I have promised her a walk during the first intermission, let's hope we have a little extra spring in our step after a couple Wild goals. We have already met a half dozen new four-legged friends today while wifey is hard at work at Xcel Energy Center. There are just a few events there in March, it turns out.
The Wild had typically had awful luck in Calgary, so maybe it's a good thing I have changed my surroundings. But Minnesota, remember, knocked off the Flames in overtime back on Dec. 11. Tonight the Wild tries to win back-to-back games at the Saddledome for the first time ever. Calgary, no doubt, still abuzz after today's trade of Steve Staois from Edmonton. It's believed to be the first ever trade between the Oilers and Flames.
Miikka Kiprusoff will be either very sharp, or kind of tired, coming off the Olympics. We'll hope it's the latter. His Olympic back-up, Niklas Backstrom
, will start opposite him. Tonight's healthy scratches for the Wild are Robbie Earl and John Scott. Andrew Ebbett moves up to the second line, with Guillaume Latendresse
and Martin Havlat.
Again, a congratulations to usually-in-game-commentator Glen Andresen and his much better half on the birth of baby Devin. I suppose that is reason enough to miss the next two road games. I hope you will join me back here Friday.
Feel free to e-mail the RSS Feed
during the game tonight. I'll put a couple e-mails in the Feed.
Lastly before faceoff, a shameless plug. Remember when you had to log onto Wild.com for the RSS Feed? We still want you here, but for smaller, quicker hits of information, make sure you are also following us on Twitter
Is this thing on? It's been awhile. Chuck Kobasew wastes no time getting back on the ice after missing two-plus months with a knee injury. He starts with Owen Nolan and James Sheppard.
Olympians Marty Havlat and Miikka Kiprusoff go toe-to-toe, as Havlat backhands a blind shot on net that Kiprusoff swallows up.
Derek Boogaard and Cal Clutterbuck
on the ice at the same time? Look out, Saddledome boards
Joined by Owen Nolan? That hardly seems fair. Nolan tried to set up Boogaard streaking down the slot, but a bouncing puck rolled off the big man's stick.
Do you believe in the broadcaster's jinx? I don't, considering I'm the one feeding them nifty nuggets. However, FS North reminds us Jarome Iginla has not scored in his last nine games versus the Wild. Nine! Let's hope to make that 10.
Kipper strong again at the near post, stopping Andrew Ebbett's stuff attempt. With Eric Belanger dealt to the Caps, both Ebbett and James Sheppard will get a chance to play extra minutes at center. Ebbett is playing with Latendresse and Havlat tonight.10:02
We hit the first TV timeout, with both teams looking like they haven't played in a couple weeks. Some turnovers, but some awesome back-and-forth action. Both teams have survived thus far.
Scary hit as Chuck Kobasew goes head first into the boards. But it was a soft hit and he pops right back up.
The puck gets behind Backstrom after a crazy carm off the end boards, but Koivu whacks it into the corner and out of harm's way.
not usually one to play the puck, but he comes out there to swipe a puck out of harm's way.
Who's the most hated TV character of the last two weeks? Evgeny Plushenko, the talking fish from McDonald's, or the "discount" insurance girl.
Let me take this time to tell you that you'll want to stay tuned after tonight's game - or DVR - as the Houston Aeros will take on the San Antonio Rampage on tape delay from tonight in San Antonio. I am ignoring all emails from "Robert the Intern" (remember him?), now working for the Aeros, so I can fully enjoy the second half of tonight's double dip.1:23
Sometimes I think Owen Nolan gets the benefit of the doubt and other players don't go that hard after him (or are they afraid fof hIm?). But here, Cory Sarich hits him hard into the boards.1:04
Wild strikes first! Nolan wound up with the puck after the hit from Sarich, and broke in 2-on-1 with Kyle Brodziak. Nolan, with Sarich back, slid a right-to-left pass to Brodziak, who fired the puck past Kiprusoff for his eighth goal of the season. Four points in the last two games, over an 18-day stretch, for Brodziak. Zidlicky an assist, his team-record 32nd for a defenseman. It's 1-0 Wild.
End 1st period
The Wild has seemed to be on the short end of those "momentum" goals this season, but gets a big one here heading into the first intermission. I'll be back after walking the dog.1st intermission thoughts
Goal scorer Kyle Brodziak
is helping the Wild in more ways than on the ice this week. The Wild is practicing in a suburban ice rink in Edmonton Saturday morning before flying home to the Twin Cities. If they flew home Friday night post-game, it would be a 3:30 a.m. arrival back home, and practice would be tough Saturday with a matinee Sunday. Anyways...when Aaron Sickman went to ask how much it would cost for practice, the answer was: a signed Kyle Brodziak
jersey. Brodziak played youth hockey in that particular suburb.
Took a quick look around the NHL scoreboard at the intermission. Good news - Vancouver beat Detroit. After one, Colorado is trailing Anaheim 1-0. That score could turn around and the Wild would be happy. Lots of scoreboard watching over the next six weeks. And three-point games, are four-letter words.
Stat of the first period? How about faceoffs. Wild is 11-of-17, after trading away the league's seventh-rated faceoff man. Andrew Ebbett has stepped up, he's 4-for-5. Owen Nolan is 3-for-3.2nd period
Underway here in the middle stanza.
James Sheppard ducked under a huge hit from Mark Giordano, but it looks like Shepp took part of the hit. He's hunched over on the bench. Huge hit from Giordano.
Wild COO Matt Majka is on the air with Dan and Mike discussing Sunday's game, which will be the 400th consecutive Wild sellout at Xcel Energy Center. Majka is in Calgary with some other Wild staffers and a group of corporate sponsors and suiteholders.
A slow-moving start to the second period. The Flames with two shots on goal to none for the Wild thus far.13:30
A nice hockey plug in the upcoming movie "She's Out of My League." Funny, I wonder who's playing me, and who's playing my wife?
nearly had a second goal. Kipper turned aside Brodziak's blistering slapshot from the right circle. Derek Boogaard had his stick held on a rebound or attempt, or maybe the goal would finally have come?
Mike Greenlay just said "situation", and I really shouldn't tell you that I lift my shirt up and say "the situation" back as a tribute to Jersey Shore.
Quite a bit of pressure here for the Flames in the Wild zone. The Wild needs to tilt the ice back the other way.
Wild is getting outshot 14-12, but this in from FS North graphics guru Sarah Servetnick: Minnesota has been credited with 13 blocked shots, to Calgary's one. Two blocks each for Zidlicky and Schultz, and a whole slew with one.9:38
That will tilt the ice quickly! Wild takes a 2-0 lead on Brunette's 18th goal of the season. A 3-on-2 for Minnesota. Mikko Koivu, on the left wing side, feeds a cross ice pass to Antti Miettinen in the right circle. Kipper stopped Miettinen's shot, but the rebound lay right there for Brunette to put it into a wide open net. Brunette has a goal in three straight games.
I just looked up a stat on Mikko Koivu, so I know he has 10 assists in the last 10 games but no goals. Until now. Using his teammate as a decoy, Koivu fires a slapper over Kiprusoff's glove side for his 17th goal of the season and a 3-0 Wild lead. Brunette with a helper, and Cam Barker too - Barker has a goal and an assist in his first two games with the WIld.
Feeding some notes to the "real" media folks, but I'm back. Still waiting for our first penalty tonight - and Cal Clutterbuck
is getting roughed up a bit in front of the bench.
Another crazy carom off the end boards necessitates an awesome save by Backstrom.
We can't get too comfortable with this 3-0 lead. Wild led 3-0 after one in my first year - last goal by Wes Walz, I believe - but surrendered the next five. You never know what will happen in Calgary.
End 2nd period
What a start out of the break for the Wild. And how great has Owen Nolan been tonight?2nd intermission thoughts
Checking in on Colorado/Anaheim, tied 2-2 after two. A lot of people ask what I "do" during games (yes, that means you Mom). I look up notes like this that most times don't get used, because something happens to make the note not appropriate anymore. Rather than react and have something not make the broadcast, the paper or Wild.com, I'd rather have it ready. So I present to you a chart with the four games in Wild history in which one team OR the other has been whistled for no penalties. The Wild has never played in a game in which neither team was whistled for a penalty.
No Wild PIM
3/14/03 vs. NSH
1/2/04 vs. EDM
No opp PIM
3/6/07 vs. SJS
3/5/09 at SJS
If it's still penalty-less through the midway point, I'll put a call into Elias Sports Bureau, to see the last NHL game without a penalty.That is the sure jinx to a penalty being called.3rd period
Wild hits the ice for the final 20 minutes. And Daisy is wagging her tail - not only for that reason, but I just told her that Mom is coming home after a long day at high school wrestling tournament.
How strange is it that this game has had no penalties thus far? The Wild and Flames have played 54 games entering play tonight - averaging 29.8 PIM/per game between them.
They give out blocked shots like they're Easter candy at the Saddledome, but not the same with hits, at least tonight. The Wild has been credited with just eight - none by NHL hits leader Cal Clutterbuck
, whose bobblehead night in Houston is coming up.
And that will save me a call to Elias Sports Bureau. Greg Zanon snapped his stick, but didn't stop playing the puck, and that's a penalty. The Flames get the game's first power play.
Lots of back-and-forth action, which means a TV timeout. And I reach for my phone - which isn't buzzing. Nope that's the Filet-o-Fish, getting me once again.7:40
What a night for the Wild Olympians! Marty Havlat makes it 4-0. Guillaume Latendresse with the assist.
"The situation!"End 3rd period/Post-Game Notes
And the Wild wraps up a nifty 4-0 win over the Flames. Post-game notes are below. I'll be back for Friday's game against Edmonton. You, me, Daisy and Crocus Hill are 1-0-0. Twenty more to go!
The Wild has won two straight games in Calgary for the first time in team history. Two of the Wild's five all-time victories (5-18-4) at the Saddledome have come via shutout.
Minnesota has won four straight overall against Calgary for the first time in team history, outscoring the Flames 14-2. The Wild tied its biggest win ever against the Flames (4-0 at Xcel Energy Center on April 3, 2009).
Minnesota improved to 2-7-0 in its last nine road games.Niklas Backstrom
earned his 19th career shutout. Backstrom earned just his second shutout in his last 49 decisions.Kyle Brodziak
scored a goal and has four points (2-2=4) in his last two games.
Andrew Brunette has a goal in three straight games for the second time this season (Oct. 10-Oct. 16) and has five points (3-2=5) in his last three games.Mikko Koivu
has a four-game assist streak, with six helpers in that span. Koivu's goal snapped a 10-game streak without a goal, and gives him 13 points (3-10=13) in his last 11 games. Koivu's season-high for an assist streak is six games (Dec. 23-Jan. 2). Koivu now has 17 goals - three off his career-high, set in 2006-07 and matched in 2008-09.
Cam Barker, acquired Feb. 12 from Chicago, had an assist and has a point in each of his first two games with the Wild (1-1=2). Barker was also a career-best plus-three.
Brent Burns recorded his ninth career game of plus-three or higher.
Jarome Iginla, the all-time leader against the Wild with 27 goals and 49 points, was held without a goal for the 10th straight meeting with Minnesota. He was minus-two, the first time in his career he has been worse than minus-one versus the Wild.
The Wild and Flames averaged 29.8 PIM/game in their first 54 meetings but had just two minor penalties tonight - both coming against Minnesota. The Wild saw an opponent go without a penalty for just the third time in team history (March 6, 2007, versus San Jose, and March 5, 2009, at San Jose).