You don't often hear booing at the intermission, but tonight we did when the KSTP Channel 5 weatherman was on the scoreboard predicting 4-to-7 inches of snow tomorrow night. Would anyone like to come shovel off my car at the airport?
It will be interesting to see if both teams play a very defensive game in the third, with each riding lengthy winless streaks. Both teams would obviously like a point, but you'd think a chance to win it in regulation would be enticing.
Joey MacDonald makes a juggling save on James Sheppard's shot in transition from the right circle. No one can get to the rebound. How's this for a statistical abnormality? For the Islanders, 6-foot-8, 250-pound winger Mitch Fritz tonight through two periods - zero shifts.
Gillies from Boogaard and Kolanos, just how the Wild drew it up! The first NHL goal for Colton Gillies, and you can't wipe the smile off the kid's skate. The line broke in 3-on-2. Derek Boogaard, in the middle, fed Krys Kolanos on the right wing and went straight for the net. The puck went off Boogaard's skate to Gillies at the left doorstep, and the bright-eyed 19-year old popped the puck into the net. It's 2-1 Wild behind Colton Gillies' first NHL goal.
In the last 28 minutes, the Wild is outshooting the Islanders 19-3.
Richard Park nearly gets his second against his former team, but Backstrom makes the save on the mini breakaway - just the Isles' second shot in the last 20-plus minutes.
The Wild, now outshooting the Isles 35-12, gets a goal from Mikko Koivu after a great fake around a defenseman. Koivu gets his 11th of the season, from Kim Johnsson. I'm departing right after the game for the airport, so this will likely be my last post until I send something to Wild.com's Jamie MacDonald from the airport. It's 3-1 Wild.
One more, as Pierre-Marc Bouchard scores his sixth of the season. Assists to Benoit Pouliot and Nick Schultz, and it's 4-1 Wild.
Well, folks, that wraps up an encouraging win. I'm heading downstairs to the car, then it's off to the airport, where, hopefully, everything goes smoothly for our departure to St. Louis.
During the first intermission, the Wild unveils the "Hot Seats" zamboni, sponsored by Target, with about 10 kids riding on top the zamboni with Santa Claus.
The Wild with 1:41 of penalty kill time to begin the second.
What a great chance by Bill Guerin, who was nearly wide open in front of the net but pushed the puck wide right.
The Isles power play is over, and a steal by Cal Clutterbuck
leads to Pierre-Marc Bouchard
feeding a streaking Marc-Andre Bergeron inside the left blueline. MacDonald easily stops the shot.
The parade to the box continues, this time by the Wild's Marc-Andre Bergeron, on Kyle Okposo in front of the New York bench.
The Isles could be in business now, with 1:29 of 5-on-3 time thanks to a hooking call to Antti Miettinen.
And it took just nine seconds for former Wild winger Richard Park to make it 1-0 Islanders. A tic-tac-toe set of passes wound up at Park's stick at the left doorstep, and he buried it into an open net for his seventh goal of the season. Doug Weight with an assist, his 998th career point. That's 1-0 Isles.
A tripping call to Bill Guerin, who is about as happy with referee Brad Watson as he was at Cal Clutterbuck
in the first period. We'll have 25 seconds of 4-on-4, plus 1:35 of a Wild power play, although another penalty in that span wouldn't be a surprise.
deflected Brent Burns' point shot just wide.
Koivu off another deflection with a pair of whacks at the rebound, but MacDonald covers up.
Keep your head up with Cal Clutterbuck
on the ice. There, he leveled Thomas Pock.
Maybe the opponent save of the year at Xcel Energy Center. Koivu, Brunette and Gaborik break in 3-on-2. Koivu sends a pass through Brunette to Gaborik, who lets the puck go at an apparent empty net. MacDonald goes post-to-post to rob Gaborik.
Then Koivu gets robbed by MacDonald. A slapshot from the left circle, MacDonald reached far to his left. The Wild is outshooting the Isles 18-9 but still trails 1-0.
Snakebitten doesn't seem like a fair enough word to describe the Wild tonight. MacDonald robs Gaborik one-on-one. Brunette crashes the puck and hits the post. That rebound comes to Marc-Andre Bergeron, whose shot gets blocked out of play by Chris Campoli.
MacDonald with another dynamite save on Cal Clutterbuck
. Minnesota has a 13-2 shots advantage in the second period.
If at first you don't succeed, keep throwing those pucks on net. Stephane Veilleux, camped out in front, ties things up with less than a minute remaining. James Sheppard with an alert pass out of the corner, and Veilleux pounds the puck in the net with a six-game losing streak's worth of frustrations. Veilleux's first goal in 13 games. Antti Miettinen with the second assist, his 15th of the season - second on the team. We're tied 2-2 headed to the third.
The Wild hold the Isles to three shots in the second, a season low for shots against in a period.
After former Gophers coach and current Gophers broadcaster Doug Woog leads the Team of 18,000 in Let's Play Hockey, the Wild skates out Cal Clutterbuck
, Benoit Pouliot, Pierre-Marc Bouchard
up front, with Czech mates Marek Zidlicky and Martin Skoula on the blueline. The Isles starters are Mark Streit and former Wild blueliner Andy Sutton, and Ben Walter, Andy Hilbert and Tim Jackman. Trent Hunter, tied for the Islanders' goal lead with 11, won't play tonight.
Marian Gaborik takes his first shift of the night, alongside James Sheppard and Stephane Veilleux
lets his presence be felt early, crushing Mark Streit into the boards.
Andrew Brunette nearly gets a breakaway. He lets loose from the left circle with a defenseman bearing down on him, but MacDonald makes the save.
Marian Gaborik finds himself open in the left circle and fires a shot, but at MacDonald's chest.
The Islanders are on the power play early on, as Colton Gillies goes for high sticking.
The Wild get a good chance shorthanded, as Isles defenseman Mark Streit nearly deflects a 2-on-1 pass from Mikko Koivu
to Marian Gaborik into the net.
Another excellent shorthanded opportunity for the Wild, as Antti Miettinen hits the post from the right circle.
Clutterbuck fires up the troops with a bone-crushing hit on 6-foot-2, 225-pounder Brendan Witt. It leads to a power play as Bill Guerin slashes Clutterbuck twice on the way up the ice.
We just got a good look at that Guerin slash, and he hit Clutterbuck in a bad spot, let's put it that way.
gets open in the left circle but fires wide left.
Guerin breaks from the box and gets in 2-on-1 with Kyle Okposo, but a nice play by a back-checking James Sheppard to break up the play.
Richard Park picks Kim Johnsson's pocket, but Park gets the penalty for hooking. The Wild get another power play chance.
Marek Zidlicky fires a boomer through traffic but MacDonald makes the save. The shots are 7-5 for Minnesota just more than midway through the first.
A burst of speed has Gaborik in on MacDonald with a bouncing puck, but MacDonald turns aside the shot.
Some good work by James Sheppard leads to a prolonged period in the Isles zone, and Thomas Pock is called for delay of game. The Wild, which has scored just one goal in its last seven first periods, get another power play here.
New York gets its first power play, which will carry over into the second, as Kim Johnsson goes for slashing.
The Wild has an 11-7 shots advantage through one period, with the help of three power plays. A couple of bonafide scoring chances, but neither team cracks the scoreboard in the opening 20 minutes.
The Wild is warming up 19 skaters - including Krys Kolanos and Colton Gillies, who will both play. Erik Reitz, Craig Weller and Eric Belanger (sickness) are out tonight. Marian Gaborik appears ready to make his second straight appearance. It will be Niklas Backstrom
against Joey MacDonald in net. Both Kyle Okposo and Mike Comrie return tonight for the Isles. It will be interesting to see the reaction the Minnesota fans give to Okposo, who left the University of Minnesota just less than a year ago to turn pro in the middle of the season. Also of note - a pair of Islanders are close to some big milestones, and hopefully we don't have to worry about it. But, Bill Guerin has 398 career goals. And Doug Weight enters tonight's game with 997 points.
12:30 p.m. CST
Eric Belanger will miss tonight’s game due to illness, and Krys Kolanos joined the team from Houston to replace him. Jacques Lemaire did not skate this morning (Andrew Brunette also “took his option”), but assistant coach Mario Tremblay filled in to chat with the media. Marian Gaborik was again the star of the media scrums.
The Islanders have quite the traveling party, two beat writers, like we have, but many Web folks, too. It looks like former Gopher Kyle Okposo and Mike Comrie will both return to the lineup.
I returned from the pre-game skate, sent out the press release on Kolanos and am ready to send out an advisory on the Wild’s annual holiday hospital visit on Monday. Robert, our trusty intern, wrote the release.
Our plane is, thankfully, here already for our trip to St. Louis tonight. It dropped the Sabres off in Buffalo last night before beating the bad weather headed that way back to Minneapolis. And, speaking of bad weather, it looks like we’ll be coming home Saturday night in the midst of quite the winter storm.
I have several things to do for the road trip, like print out all my paperwork, but, if there’s any more news this afternoon, we’ll update the R.S.S. Feed.