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The R.S.S. Feed: Dec. 1, 2008

by Ryan Stanzel / Minnesota Wild
-- NEWS --

* Joe  Sakic did not travel to Minnesota

-- WILD TV --
* J. Lemaire
Jacques reveals the captain for the month of December and talks about tonights matchup with the Colorado Avalanche
 
The media caught up to the recently named December captain after practice

* M. Koivu
October and November's captain says his game won't change a bit and that he enjoyed the 'C' 

* Game Preview
Dan Terhaar and Mike Greenlay break down tonight's matchup with the Colorado Avalanche

-- W
ILD RADIO --
* PONDcast Preview
We'll talk to Kim  Johnsson about being December's captain plus Brunette, Koivu, Belanger and both head coaches


* Bonus PONDcast (Nov. 30)
Falness hosts WCCO's THIS WEEK IN HOCKEY



-- WILD vs. COLORADO --
All-Time Wild Record: 17-22-7
     * 11-7-4 at Xcel Energy Center
     * 6-15-3 at Colorado)

Minnesota defeated Colorado 3-1 at Pepsi Center (11/6)…Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Andrew Brunette and Benoit Pouliot scored, Marek Zidlicky tallied two assists and Niklas Backstrom made 35 saves for the Wild…Darcy Tucker scored and Peter Budaj made 17 saves for Colorado.

WILD CAREER LEADERS: Marian Gaborik has tallied 31 points (16-15=31) in 38 games against the Avalanche...Owen Nolan has collected 25 points (15-10=25) in 44 contests...Andrew Brunette has recorded 16 points (6-10=16) in 27 games.

WILD GOALIES: Niklas Backstrom is 8-1-1 with a 1.96 GAA and a .932 SV% in 10 starts against Colorado…Josh Harding is 1-2-1 with a 2.21 GAA and a .929 SV% in four starts.

AVALANCHE CAREER LEADERS: Joe Sakic ranks second in career points and goals scored against Minnesota with 38 points (16-22=38) in 41 matches and tied for first with seven GWG...Milan Hejduk has recorded 35 points (15-20=35) in 44 games...Ryan Smyth owns 25 points (9-16=25) in 38 contests.

AVALANCHE GOALIES: Peter Budaj is 6-6-2 with a 2.80 GAA and a .896 SV% in 15 starts against the Wild…Andrew Raycroft is 2-0-0 with a 2.51 GAA and a .904 SV% in two starts.

CONNECTIONS: Andrew Brunette spent the previous three seasons with the Avalanche (2005-08)...Owen Nolan was the first overall pick in the 1990 NHL Entry Draft by the Quebec Nordiques and played in nine games with the Avalanche in 1995 before being traded to San Jose...Martin Skoula spent five seasons with the Avalanche (1999-04) and was a member of the 2001 Stanley Cup squad...Daniel Tjarnqvist appeared in 60 games for the Wild in 2005-06...Jordan Leopold is a Minnesota native (Golden Valley).
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Dec. 1, 2008

Post-game Wrap-up
If you watched Wild TV earlier today, you weren't surprised. Jacques Lemaire warned this morning that the team wasn't sharp - so much so that he keps the team on the ice a bit longer. The result, a 6-5 loss, in which Lemaire said the first two periods were the worst he's seen in quite some time.

I hda to cut post-game notes a bit - just hte "most important" stuff. You don't often see something that has "never" happened before - but the Wild had never before lost - not in regulation, overtime or a shootout - when scoring five goals. Something that got cut out, was the fact the 11 combined goals scored tied an Xcel Energy Center record.

The Wild skate at noon tomorrow. I'll be updating notes all morning I presume, and I'll check in after practice with some notes and a look ahead to Wednesday's matchup against St. Louis.

And don't forget to listen to Andrew Brunette on NHL Live tomorrow at 11:15 a.m.

C Paul Stastny had two goals and an assist and RW Milan Hejduk has a goal and two helpers, as the Colorado Avalanche held on to defeat Minnesota 6-5 in front of 18,568, handing the Wild its first ever loss in 70 games when scoring five goals or more.

C Mikko Koivu (1-2=3) and RW Pierre-Marc Bouchard (2-1=3) each had three points, and RW Owen Nolan scored his fourth goal in as many games for Minnesota, which played its 300th regular season home game and plays host to St. Louis on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

RW Pierre-Marc Bouchard notched his 12th career three-point game, and his eighth two-goal game. Bouchard has three goals in his last three games. That marks his first two-game goal-scoring streak since Nov. 5-11, 2007. The Wild fell to 25-2-1 when Bouchard scores a goal, dating back to Dec. 23, 2006, and 11-1-0 all-time when he has three or more points. His last two-goal game and three-or-more point game happened Jan. 21, 2008 at Vancouver (2-2=4).

C Mikko Koivu recorded a goal and two assists, his second straight three-point game. Koivu has 10 points (4-6=10) during his current five-game point streak, tying a career-high, set March 9-19, 2008. Koivu has 98 assists – only five Wild players have recorded 100 with the team. He has 144 points in a Wild sweater – moving him past Pascal Dupuis for sixth-most in team history. The Wild fell to 20-6-3 all-time when Koivu has two or more points.

RW Owen Nolan has a goal in four straight games – two off his career-high, set Nov. 28, 1999-Dec. 8, 1999 and matched Jan. 20-30, 2003.

D/RW Brent Burns had a goal and an assist, giving him 100 career points (31-69=100). He became the 13th player in team history to reach 100 points.

C Eric Belanger skated in his 500th  NHL game.

Minnesota lost for the first time in franchise history when scoring five goals (69-1-0).

The Wild went 3-for-4 on the power play, after a 5-for-11 performance against Nashville on Saturday. Minnesota had only once before scored three or more power play goals in back-to-back games. The other time came Dec. 29, 2006 (Columbus) and Dec. 31, 2006 (Anaheim), when the Wild scored three goals in each game.

Minnesota was 7-0-2 in the last nine regular season home meetings with Colorado, allowing just 15 goals in the process. The Avs had scored six goals against the Wild just twice – in back-to-back matchups Dec. 23, 2001 (6-3 decision in Denver) and Feb. 8, 2002 (6-0 Avs win in St. Paul).

Minnesota fell to 10-5-0 this season when scoring first. That’s one more regulation loss than the Wild had last season when scoring first (36-4-5).

The Wild allowed six goals in a home game for just the fifth time in team history, and for the first time since a 6-1 loss to Ottawa on Jan. 16, 2006. The team record for goals allowed at home is seven, set Oct. 24, 2001, in a 7-3 loss to Carolina.

Minnesota tied a franchise record, allowing four goals in a period (2nd) in a home game. It happened two other times, the last coming Jan. 30, 2006, in the first period of a 5-4 loss to Detroit.

3rd period
19:55
Josh Harding, who made 25 saves in defeating Nashville on Saturday, is in net for the Wild.

18:23

Harding is tested early, on Ruslan Salei's boomer from the right point. But Harding sticks out the left pad to make the save.

17:50

Benoit Pouliot gets loose in the left circle and has a great chance, but Budaj just gets a piece of the puck, flicking it wide.

14:40

The Wild is 3-for-3 on the power play tonight, marking just the second time in team history the Wild has three or more PPG in back-to-back games. This and much, much (much) more in post-game notes tonight, following the game.

11:50
Budaj gets lucky - and good. He makes a save but gives up a rebound on the left doorstep. Marek Zidlicky fires, but a defenseman rescues the puck before it can cross the line.

11:17

The Wild, 3-for-3 on the power play tonight, gets chance No. 4 as Brett Clark goes for hooking.

9:16

They won't go 4-for-4. No shots credited on that power play.

6:49

Special thanks to Doug in North Carolina for his note that this game currently has as many goals (10) as the Monday Night Football game has points (10).

6:00
And we've really got a game now. It's 6-5, as Brent Burns scores from close range. The goal is under review, but it appears that it will count. Mike Ramsey looks content, and he's no doubt in contact with video coach Matt Shaw. The goal is good, with Kim Johnsson with the assist.

3:20

The Wild has NEVER lost a game in which it has scored five goals. It is 69-0-0 all-time when scoring five or more.

1:47

We're down to less than two minutes left. Koivu, Brunette, Burns, etc., are hardly leaving the ice. Wild need just one more to force overtime.

53.2

That'll make things terribly difficult, as Marc-Andre Bergeron goes for tripping. Just as importantly, the faceoff will come back in front of Josh Harding.

End of game

Colorado does a nice game of keepaway until the final seconds. The puck wound up in the net about a second after the buzzer sounded. A defenseman cleared the puck away as the buzzer went off.



2nd period
19:55

That first period still has our head's spinning up here, and it's time to begin the second with the Wild on the power play.

19:38
At what point will opponents stop putting the Wild on the power play. That's 7-for-13 in the last two games now. Pierre-Marc Bouchard gets a pass at the right post from Marc-Andre Bergeron. Bouchard looks to pass first as he often does, but the puck - destined for Andrew Brunette - hits Peter Budaj's stick, and finds its way into the back of the net. That's 3-2 Wild. Butch's 12th career three-point game (Wild is 11-0-0 in the previous 11), and his eighth career two-goal game (Wild is 6-1-0 in the previous seven). Bouchard has never had a hat trick.

16:11
And again the Avs answer back, this time Paul Stastny with his fifth of the season, from the right doorstep off a nice pass from Brian Willsie, behind the net. Game tied at 3-3.

14:41

Paul Stastny nearly gets a second of the game. Niklas Backstrom holds firm at the right post, then covering up the rebound with Stastny breathing down his neck.

13:17

Derek Boogaard with a clean hit on Wojtech Wolski. Cody McCormick accosts Boogaard briefly after the whistle, but calmer heads prevail.

12:19

New Wild captain Kim Johnsson and Paul Stastny both go down to the ice in the corner in the Wild zone, but it's going to be Johnsson who goes for interference. The Wild is 1-for-1 on the PK tonight.

11:44
Milan Hejduk scores to make it 4-3. After Eric Belanger fell, Hejduk shed Mikko Koivu along the left wing wall and walked and fired a quick shot by Backstrom, before bowling over the netminder. Backstrom is a big slow to get up, but he appears to be ok. It's Hejduk's team-leading 10th goal of the season, and the see-saw continues. Colorado outshooting the Wild 18-6!

9:17

It's now 20-6 in shots on goal. The Wild looks to be lacking some legs. Most players had the day off yesterday, and today was an "extended" morning skate. With this tough stretch of games lately, they needed a break at some point.

8:45

The Wild is 7-0-2 in the last nine home meetings with Colorado, allowing just 15 goals in the process. In fact, tonight's game marks Colorado's biggest offensive output in a regular season game at Xcel Energy Center since a 4-2 Avs win Jan. 5, 2006 - almost three full years ago.

5:18

Some nice work by Brent Burns and Mikko Koivu, who criss-cross going into the offensive zone. Koivu winds and fires from the left circle, but Budaj is in good position to make the save.

3:28
It's 5-3 Colorado, as T.J. Hensick gets his first goal of the season. Pierre-Marc Bouchard turns the puck over at the blueline, and Ian Laperierre headmans a pass for Hensick, who jukes Marc-Andre Bergeron, gets around him and slides a shot under Backstrom on a breakaway. This is just the 19th time in 300 home games the Wild has allowed five goals.

2:09
Stastny gets a second goal of the game for a 6-3 lead. The Wild has nine shots - Colorado has six goals. The Wild has allowed six goals or more for just the fifth time in team history. The team record is seven, set Oct. 24, 2001, in a 7-3 loss to Carolina.

48.7

Could the Wild power play get the team back on track? David Jones goes for tripping.

40.1
Call me Nostradamus! It's 6-4, after Owen Nolan's fourth goal in as many games. I may have to extend post game notes to two pages tonight. Nolan, camped out in front, deposits an Andrew Brunette feed under Budaj for his fifth goal of the season. What a pass by Brunette. He faked a pass to Pierre-Marc Bouchard in the left circle. Two defenders bit, leaving Nolan alone in front. Even Bouchard thought the puck was coming to him. Mikko Koivu also with an assist, for a three-point night.

End 2nd

We could have a wild third period in store!



1st period
Eric Belanger will take a faceoff across from Tyler Arnason. Belanger playing between Stephane Veilleux and Brent Burns, at least to start. The Tony Fly Morning Show of B96 leads us in Let's Play Hockey.

19:55

Belanger wins the faceoff, and we're underway.

16:39
An early 3-on-1 for the Wild, but Eric Belanger was backchecked as Stephane Veilleux set him up.

14:23
A quick scrap between Craig Weller and Cody McLeod, after Weller stiff-armed McLeod, who in turn tripped Weller. The funniest purt was Derek Boogaard, who isn't used to being on the ice and not partaking in a fight. As Jamie MacDonald of Wild.com commented, it was like Boogey was taking notes.

14:10
And that fired up the troops! Just like Craig Weller's first fight did Saturday, seconds later Pierre-Marc Bouchard finds the net for his fourth goal of the season and second in two games. Great assist by Mikko Koivu, who has tied career-high with his five-game point streak. Also note the Wild is 25-1-1 when Bouchard scores a goal, dating to Dec. 23, 2006. It's 1-0 Wild.

11:14
A note on that last goal. Koivu also has a five-game point streak, tying his career-high.

10:51
But the lead wasn't very long-lived. Martin Skoula jumps at the puck along the left wing boards, and Marek Svatos pushes the puck around him to himself, and fires high glove side by Backstrom for his fourth goal of the season. Liles and Salei, the two defensemen on the ice, with the assists. It's tied 1-1.

10:20
The Wild nearly go back on top, as Marc-Andre Bergeron rings a shot off the post.

9:45

The back-and-forth action continues. Paul Stastny tries to get loose in front of the net, and Erik Reitz lays a big hit on him to push him off the puck.

7:17
David Jones gets his third goal of the season, somehow finding himself wide open in front of the net. He takes a nice pass from Ian Laperierre in the corner and deposits it under Niklas Backstrom. We're still awaiting the 10-minute media timeout.

6:47

We hit the 10-minute TV timeout, as Mikko Koivu is set to be interviewed by VERSUS' Bob Harwood. The Wild getting outshot 7-2 thus far, but down 2-1 on the scoreboard.

4:30
The Team of 18,000 is silent, but a group of fans in the upper level, to my left, just got the troops rallied with a "Let's Go Wild" chant. Nothing like a big goal here would before the end of the first. Robert the Intern just informed me the Wild has allowed two goals in the first period for just the second time this season. Dallas put a three-spot up on Minnesota in a 4-2 win Oct. 29.

3:34

Marek Zidlicky goes off for interference, and the Wild goes on its first PK of the night. Minnesota is now tied for first in the NHL at 89.5 percent with the Rangers.

47.9
Just six seconds after Colorado's Ryan Smyth goes for hooking, Mikko Koivu ties things up at 2-2. Brent Burns' shot from the point got blocked by Peter Budaj, but Koivu, in the left circle, fired the puck over the fallen netminder for his team-leading ninth goal of the season. Burns gets his 99th NHL point. It's 2-2. And Smyth still isn't happy, he just got an unsportsmanlike minor for barking at the ref.

End 1st

The Wild will get another 1:11 power play time to start the second period. Six-for-12 now on the power play in the last 12 games after Koivu's goal. The Wild made the best of its five shots - tying a season-low for the first period. Minnesota scored on one of five shots in the first period of a 6-2 win at Florida Oct. 16.



Pre-game warm-ups

Cal Clutterbuck and Colton Gillies are scratched tonight. Craig Weller's one-goal, two-fight performance Saturday in Nashville keeps him in the lineup. As expected, Eric Belanger returns from a lower body injury. Peter Budaj starts in net for Colorado.

I'm back from dinner and am just formatting post-game notes for later.

It's interesting how much people talked about Andrew Brunette's first game back in Colorado. Other than a couple interviews this morning, Bruno's second game against his former team didn't draw that much attention. I expect him to have a big game tonight.

I'm also thrilled because Brian Stensaas of the Star Tribune just mentioned that the blog got a plug on XM Radio's In the Slow the other day. Jim "Boomer" Gordon, producer for the XM (and now Sirius?) show, talked about Kurtis Foster skating with the team last Friday at the pre-game skate. Boomer is a great guy who helps us getting players on the air. If we could only do something about his NFL team (Steelers) of choice.

And speaking of XM, in case you hadn't noticed, former Wild player Jim Dowd has been guest hosting on NHL Live on XM and NHL Network. Tomorrow just after 11:15 a.m., he'll interview Andrew Brunette. I can't wait to hear that.

Former Gopher Jordan Leopold got a nice round of applause. He'll start for the Avs alongside former Wild blueliner Daniel Tjarnqvist.

12 p.m. CST

The Wild begins its second straight week of home games Monday, Wednesday and Friday, followed by a road game in Nashville Saturday.

The big news out of the pre-game skate was that Kim Johnsson is the Wild’s December captain. Wild.com was there with video of both Johnsson and Jacques ( K. Johnsson | J. Lemaire). Johnsson has worn the “A” since early in the season and is averaging almost 25 minutes per game. He’s providing some offense, and obviously great leadership. Mikko Koivu, the captain for the first two months, reverts back to the “A” along with Andrew Brunette. The “ceremony” took place in the locker room. Usually, when captain is named on a non-gameday, the captain is presented on the ice, and the guy wears his jersey and takes a “victory lap.”

Eric Belanger tested his lower body injury this morning and proclaimed himself ready to go, in his 500th NHL game. He'll be looking for his 100th NHL goal. The Wild also hits a major milestone tonight, playing in its 300th regular season game at Xcel Energy Center.

Pretty heavily attended skate, with both newspapers, two television stations plus Wild.com and all of our friends from VERSUS.

The bad weather around the country affected one of the game’s scheduled linesmen – but Thor Nelson was able to get here to fill in. That e-mail came from the NHL this morning, so I had to update the top sheet of game notes.

A busy week, not only with games, but Twin Cities Live will also cover Wild Bingo this Friday. Once a month, Wild wives and girlfriends play bingo with kids at a local hospital.

I’m going to set up some stuff for Wednesday’s game against St. Louis. And I’ll be back pre-game tonight, after feasting on the following:

Lentil soup
Roast strip loin
Southwest chicken breast
Vegetable medley
Oven brown potatoes
Salad
Assorted desserts
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