The Wild loses 4-1 in its final home preseason game. Aaron Sickman will head with the team to Chicago tomorrow, while I take the finale next week in Philadelphia. The Wild will morning skate in the Twin Cities before heading out.
Todd Richards used words like "disappointed" and "frustrated" with his teams effort tonight. He said he's been putting players on the ice in situations that he thinks they need to succeed, but starting tomorrow night ice time will be earned and not given. Richards used the term "compete factor" over and over, saying it was not where it needed to be all night long.
Wild player of the game so far? How about Jamie Sifers - five hits in 12:14 of ice time, including 2:16 of PK time.
The Wild in the mist of a power play as Erik Johnson slapped the puck over the boards.
just received two 10-minute misconducts in a scrum along the boards. No one else picked up a penalty. Clutterbuck was skating along the Blues bench and his stick was whacked out of his hands. I'm sure we'll find out more later.
John Scott and David Perron locked up for many seconds along the boards - no whistle ever blue. Should have been coincidental minors probably. We'll see if things continue to escalate down the stretch.
Wild gets a late chance to score as Perron trips up John Scott.
Scott is getting the best of Perron, who just went to the box again, but thus far the Wild has been unable to score on the man advantage.
Barrett Jackman lays in a heap after blocking a shot - looked like in the stomach - in front of the net.
And the shutout is avoided! Eric Belanger, at the top of the right circle, takes a pass from Kim Johnsson and fires a shot through traffic that skids to the glove side of Ty Conklin for his first of the preseason. It's 4-1 Blues.
End of game
That's a wrap. Be back after post-game media availability.
End 2nd period
Andy McDonald's second of the game made it 4-0 on the power play late in the middle period. The Blues are 3-for-4 on the power play.
I think I successfully convinced my future father-in-law that basketball is not the only game played in Minnesota. We'll continue to work on him! Some entertaining Sled Hockey at the intermission. Time winding down here in the break.
A big night for Sled Hockey and Special Hockey here at Xcel Energy Center (Prairie Island Indian Community made a $10,000 donation) and some representatives from Sled Hockey and Special Hockey just led us in Let's Play Hockey. Nolan-Sheppard-Gillies up front for the Wild and Johnsson and Schultz on the blueline. For St. Louis, it's Johnson and Pietrangelo patrolling the blueline, and Backes-McDonald-Perron up front. Backstrom and Mason in net.
Kim Johnsson registers the Wild's first shot, through a screen, but Mason appeared to see it the whole way.
David Backes sets up the Wild's first power play, with a tripping call on Colton Gillies.
No shots on that man advantage for Minnesota.13:03
Havlat goes for hooking, and St. Louis has its first man advantage.11:45
And the Blues take a 1-0 lead as Patrik Berglund fires a shot from the right circle through traffic that eludes Backstrom.
Havlat with the Wild's best chance so far, tipping a shot just wide.
Quick shot by Alexander Steen makes it 2-0. He takes a feed from Jay McClement in the corner and, standing inside the right circle, hits the top shelf.
David Backes nails James Sheppard into the boards, but it's Owen Nolan who goes to the box for stickinig up for his teammate. Sheppard is ok.
And it's quickly 3-0 Blues, as Andy McDonald takes a tic-tac-toe pass in the right circle and fires it before Backstrom can rotate around.
Possible gamechanging shift by Havlat-Miettinen-Belanger-Johnsson-Schultz. They keep the puck in for close to a minute, before going off for a change. A couple good scoring chances, too.
End 1st period
Wild trails 3-0 and is being outshot 7-6 through one. I'll be back for the third period.
6:20 p.m., Thursday
We're about 10 minutes from warm-ups. St. Louis' lineup: Forwards Perron, Tkachuk, Winchester, McClement, Steen, Crombeen, Oshie, Kariya, Berglund, Boyes, McDonald, Boyes. Defensemen Johnson, Jackman, Polak, Pietrangelo, Colaiacovo, Stachan. Goalies are Mason and Conklin, who are expected to split the game.
No changes in the Wild lineup, posted this morning.
I'll blog tonight first and third period, but I'm going to show my future in-laws what hockey is all about at their first Wild game for a bit as well.
Great news about the eqiupment drive - overwhelming support. Quite the line out front, I hear. Excellent work, Wild fans.
12 p.m., Thursday
Just a few updates from Head Coach Todd Richards post-practice. Benoit Pouliot (groin) is still a week away from returning to the ice. Despite practicing today, Mikko Koivu
and Andrew Brunette will not play tomorrow in Chicago, instead aiming for Tuesday's preseason finale in Philadelphia.
Richards had meetings off the ice with both his power play and penalty kill players, since many of them haven't been on the ice for practices.
We've been notified by the Minnesota Department of Transportation that 35W South will be closed Thursday night between 10 p.m.-5 a.m. at the Crosstown. So this may affect some of you going home from the Wild preseason game. Motorists should follow the posted detours during the closures: Highway 62 west to Highway 100 South – Highway 100 South to Highway 62 East – Highway 62 East to I-35W South.
That's it for now. I'll talk to you tonight from the press box.
10:55 a.m., Thursday
The Wild's pre-game skate is in full swing.
The top two lines for tonight (presumably) were just working on the power play:
Brunette-Koivu-Brodziak are on the ice wearing white. None are playing tonight, but it is good to see Brunette and Koivu back on the ice with the rest of the team. Craig Weller, also sidelined recently, is on the ice in white.
The third and fourth line spots could look something like this:
The centers are currently working on faceoffs with Head Coach Todd Richards at center ice.
The defensive pairings on the ice are:
Shane Hnidy is also out on the ice after nursing a groin injury for much of the last week.Niklas Backstrom
is expected to get tonight's entire game in goal.
Thanks to Tim from St. Louis Park, Danny from Ontario, and Lana for e-mails in the last day or so. Tim was my "date" to the NHL Awards Show in Las Vegas. We sat next to each other, at least.
Players are starting to leave the ice. I'll be back after media availability.
Tonight’s press dining menu:
Soup – Tomato basil soup
Acorn squash casserole
Potatoes au gratin
Blacken mahi mahi with pineapple relish
Salad Bar is available at every game
Assorted desserts are available at every game