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Opening Night Memories

by Kevin Falness / Minnesota Wild

Minnesota Wild fans should have nothing but good memories from Opening Night, seeing has how the club is 8-0-1 in home openers, with that tie being the first-ever regular season game at Xcel Energy Center and featuring a goal by hometown kid, Darby Hendrickson.

The next year, the Wild shocked the Boston Bruins with a two goals from Stacy Roest. The next year, the Wild thumped the Bruins with a 5-1 victory to set the tone for a miraculous season. Then came decisive wins over the Rangers and Flames in 2003 and 2004, respectively. There we even a couple overtime thrillers, like a 3-2 win over the Avalanche in 2006, and who could forget last year's stunning comeback from 3-0 in the third period to beat the Ducks. 

For players, Opening Night is more than what happened in a game. For some, it's their first-ever NHL game, and for others, it's a night to be recognized for achieving the ultimate goal. Here are what some current Wild players shared about their Opening Night memories.


In 2000 when we won the cup in New Jersey and again in ’03, raising the banner on opening night was pretty cool. I’ve had a few good opening nights in some buildings as well, personally. I look forward to it. It’s fun to play in front of your home crowd and get the season started on the right foot.


Last year’s opening night was pretty special for me just because it was my first in the NHL. The year before I wasn’t able to be here for the first game. Even though I had played a full year in the NHL, I never got a chance to experience opening night. I’m hoping this season can one up last year’s overtime win over Anaheim, and it will be extra exciting and be something that I can remember forever.


After we won the cup (in 2006 with Carolina) and I signed with New York the following year, I was then traded back (to the Hurricanes) the following summer. That opening night was pretty special for me.  To get back to Carolina and play in that building again, that’s one that I’ll remember.


I remember my third or fourth year, it was the home opener in Montreal against Toronto. I started that game and we ended up tying 2-2 but I had some key saves in overtime. That really stands out, and that was probably my most exciting home opener.


Every home opener is always special and I’ve got some great memories from back home when I saw the championship banner go up. But here my first home game, even though I didn’t play. Manny Fernandez started that game in my first year here against Colorado. It’s something special to get to your first NHL game and be a part of this and part of the crowd. That’s for sure something I will remember.
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