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The R.S.S. Feed: Dec. 31, 2008

by Ryan Stanzel / Minnesota Wild
Dec. 31, 2008

Post-game wrap-up
Well that was quite the finish. The Wild go ahead with less than six minutes left - by taking a James Sheppard goal off the board in favor of a Krys Kolanos goal that actually happened earlier but was originally signaled no goal by the referee - only to surrender the tying goal with 26 seconds left. But Brent Burns sends everyone home happy with his fourth career overtime goal with 1:38 gone in the extra session.

Downstairs was hectic, especially with the tying goal. Then, FS North got three players, and Wild radio two. With all that going on, I took a call from the off-ice officials, who thought maybe Kolanos' goal banked in off Sheppard. But it didn't.

The Wild will skate tomorrow in preparation of Saturday's game against Central-leading Detroit. The Red Wings have a bit of a big game tomorrow at Wrigley Field against the Blackhawks.

Happy New Year, everyone. Post-game notes are below.

D Brent Burns scored his fourth career overtime goal after earlier notching two assists to tie a career-high with three points, G Niklas Backstrom made 32 saves and RW Owen Nolan scored a power play goal after missing 10 games due to injury, as the Minnesota Wild edged the NHL-leading San Jose Sharks 3-2 of 18,568 fans at Xcel Energy Center. Krys Kolanos added a third-period goal for Minnesota, which plays host to Detroit on Saturday at 7 p.m. The Wild had lost eight in a row versus the Sharks, and had lost three of four overall.

D Brent Burns notched his 10th career game-winning goal – four have come in overtime – while playing in his 299th NHL game. Burns added two assists for his second career three-point game, with the other coming Jan. 3, 2008, versus Dallas.

Wild RW Owen Nolan returned to the lineup after missing the last 10 games due to injury and scored a power play goal – his sixth goal of the season and fourth on the power play. The tally was Nolan’s 143rd career power play goal, tied with Sergei Fedorov for ninth among active players. Nolan, who played for San Jose from 1995-2003, still ranks second on the Sharks’ all-time list in goals (206), points (451) and PIM (934), and third in games played (568) and assists (245).

C Krys Kolanos scored his second goal of the season – his first since Nov. 4 at San Jose – to give the Wild a 2-1 lead with 5:46 remaining. San Jose LW Milan Michalak forced overtime with 26 seconds remaining.

C Mikko Koivu tallied two helpers to snap a two-game pointless streak. Koivu leads the Wild in goals (11), assists (26) and points (37).

The Wild won in overtime for the first time this season (1-2).

Minnesota scored the game’s first goal for the first time in 12 games, since Dec. 3 against St. Louis. It marked the Wild’s third first period goal in the last 13 contests.

The Wild improved to 5-1-0 all-time at home on New Year’s Eve.

The Wild snapped a nine-game winless streak (0-8-1) against the Western Conference.

Minnesota was winless in eight straight (0-6-2) versus San Jose, and was 0-4-1 in its last five home tilts with the Sharks.

2nd period recap

San Jose gets a power play goal from Devin Setoguchi after a delay of game penalty on Niklas Backstrom, who made a save with no one around him and held on to the puck. By the letter of the law, yes a penalty, but you don't often see it.

Then an early whistle cost the Wild a goal with less than two minutes left. Nabokov never had the puck covered, the whistle blew, and Andrew Brunette - crashing the net - swiped the puck in the net. Brunette was interviewed by FS North in the second intermission. I'm back to post-game note-ing.

1st period recap

A good first period for the Wild, which scores for the first time in 12 games. It comes via an Owen Nolan power play goal, his first tally since Dec. 1. Nolan, of course, missed the last 10 games and asked Jacques Lemaire to put him in the lineup tonight. It marked Nolan's 143rd PPG, tied for ninth among active players. Also, it was Minnesota's first power play goal versus San Jose at home in 24 attempts, since Feb. 7, 2003, when Cliff Ronning scored. Yes, Virginia, it had been awhile.

The Sharks put the pressure on late in the first period but didn't score. Of course, San Jose is 10-2-2 when its opponent scores first.

Owen Nolan was on FS North at the intermission. San Jose is radio only tonight. Brian Boucher, the Sharks' back-up goalie, was on with their radio. Tom Holy, PR guru, was trying to get him to act like he was out of breath, which of course as a back-up goalie, he wasn't. I'm going to suggest to Josh Harding that he start doing that with Tom Reid at intermission.

And I'm headed back downstairs for the FS North interview with a Wild player at the 10:00 mark. We usually just go with the guy closest to Kevin Gorg. This is my first 10:00 interview. Aaron Sickman handles these, and last year, KSTC-TV had the New Year's Eve game. We don't do these on the road. Until the 2nd intermission...

Pre-game warm-ups

I get ready for this one with James Denton of Desperate Housewives just a few feet from me, as he warms up for the "Let's Play Hockey" intro.

The Wild scratches are Marian Gaborik, Colton Gillies and Benoit Pouliot. As expected, Owen Nolan was activated off IR and Marc-Andre Bergeron was placed on IR. The Sharks scratches are Douglas Murray and Tom Cavanagh.

Kevin Gorg's interview with Cal Clutterbuck went off without a hitch. Gorg, by the way, is wearing some nice pink socks tonight.

I didn't have a chance to catch up pre-game with former Houston Aeros coach Todd McLellan, but I did talk to  former Aeros equipment guru Rick Bronwell. I hope to say hi to Todd after the game. A lot was made about his first game versus the Wild as a head coach in November. This one may be just - if not more - special because it comes in the building he spent training camp for four NHL campaigns. McLellan coached eight current Wild players in Houston.

Wednesday, 4 p.m. CST

San Jose at Wild: Game preview
I'm in my spot at Seat 51 of the Al Shaver Press box, and with more room as Seat 52 (Aaron Sickman) is celebrating his birthday tonight.

No more news to report since this morning, other than a quick wardrobe change for me after several noted that my "ice blue" shirt this morning matched the Sharks jerseys. Also, Owen Nolan has officially been activated, and Marc-Andre Bergeron has been placed on injured reserve.

I got Jacques Lemaire for his pre-tape with FS North at 3 p.m., and was nearly whacked in the head on the way there: Sons of both Jeremy Roenick and Sharks assistant coach Trent Yawney are on this trip with the Sharks.

San Jose will be out of here quickly tonight to try to beat the 11:30 p.m. incoming airport curfew in San Jose.

There may just be one update per period tonight. I'll spend most of the second period downstairs as Kevin Gorg, with FS North, will interview a Wild player at the 10:00 mark.

Speaking of, I need to head downstairs to meet up with Gorg for his Cal Clutterbuck pregame interview.

Wednesday, 10:30 a.m. CST

These 5 p.m. games are great, especially when the Wild skates at 9 o'clock. I was in the office before 8 a.m. making copies, so the odds of me hitting midnight tonight aren’t great.

First things first …

Owen Nolan has missed the last 10 games with a lower body injury, but will play tonight for the first time since Dec. 5 after telling Jacques Lemaire he was ready. Today was Nolan’s first full skate with the team, and he admitted he’s not 100 percent, but he says it has been hard watching the team struggle. He still needs to be medically cleared to be activated, but that isn’t supposed to be an issue. The Wild would need to make a roster move, likely putting Marc-Andre Bergeron (lower body) on injured reserve.

Kim Johnsson, who missed Monday’s game due to a family emergency, will play tonight. Marian Gaborik skated for an hour before the pre-game skate. He was expected to practice with the team after, but it was decided he needed to get a good skate in first without pain to move into full practice, and, after his “feeling out” skate, the decision on practice was made.

It looks like Niklas Backstrom will start tonight against the Sharks, who have won eight straight against the Wild. San Jose hasn’t allowed the Wild a power play goal in St. Paul since 2/7/03, and Minnesota is 1-6-1 over the previous eight meetings at Xcel Energy Center.

San Jose didn’t practice this morning.

I need to wish a happy birthday to media relations guru Aaron Sickman, who will be skipping tonight’s New Year’s Eve tilt to celebrate with his family. That means that I have the keys to the mothership, along with VP Bill “Billy Rob” Robertson. I will basically be treating this as a road game, as I get to go downstairs for intermission interviews, and I’ll head to the locker room a bit early to set up post-game. I won’t be blogging nearly as much as usual during the game for that reason.

At practice this morning, I arranged for Cal Clutterbuck to be the pregame warm-up interview with FS North’s Kevin Gorg. Jacques Lemaire will also pre-tape with FS North at 3 p.m., and they’ll show snippets throughout the game.

Tonight’s press meal:

Potato beer-cheese soup
Grilled Atlantic salmon with BBQ sauce
Carved beef tenderloin
Oven roasted garlic potatoes
Vegetable medley
Assorted desserts

Happy New Year, everyone!
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