Jacques Lemaire is often asked why he doesn't let his defensemen "pinch" more - play with more of an offensive side. He told assembled media tonight that they saw the reason why tonight. The Wild gave up a ton of odd man rushes, leading to a pair of 2-on-1 shorthanded goals, and lost at home when leading by three goals for the first time in team history.
Post-game notes are below.
RW Daniel Alfredsson scored Ottawa’s second shorthanded goal of the game early in the third period, as the Senators rallied from a three-goal deficit for a 5-3 victory over the Minnesota Wild in front of 18,568 at Xcel Energy Center. The Wild surrendered a three-goal lead and lost at home for the first time in team history.
RW Owen Nolan tallied two goals and an assist in the first period, RW Pierre-Marc Bouchard
had a goal and a helper in that same span, and C James Sheppard had two assists for Minnesota, which has lost back-to-back games after winning four of five. The Wild plays host to Northwest Division-leading Calgary on Thursday at 7 p.m.
The Wild led 3-0 after RW Owen Nolan’s second goal of the game 13:13 into the first period. Ottawa scored the final five goals of the game, becoming the first opponent ever to win after trailing by three goals at Xcel Energy Center. The last time the Wild has lost a three-goal lead in a road game was Oct. 24, 2007, when it fell 5-3 at Calgary after leading 1-0 after one period.
D Chris Phillips and RW Daniel Alfredsson each scored a shorthanded goal for Ottawa. The Wild had only once before yielded two shorthanded goals in a game – Dec. 29, 2007, against Edmonton. Minnesota had allowed only two SHG in the first 54 games of this season.
RW Owen Nolan scored two goals and added an assist, for his second three-point game since late in the 2003-04 season. His other was a hat trick, Jan. 30, 2008, against San Jose. Nolan, who also tied a team record with three points in a period, now has 15 goals this season and 396 in his NHL career. The Wild fell to 8-4-1 when he scores a goal, and to 8-1-0 when he has at least two points.
RW Pierre-Marc Bouchard
scored his 13th goal of the season and added an assist. The Wild fell to 30-4-1 when Bouchard scores a goal, dating back to Dec. 23, 2006. Bouchard’s goal came just 1:15 into the game, the second quickest goal to begin a game for the Wild this season. D Marc-Andre Bergeron scored 46 seconds into a 6-3 win over Phoenix on Jan. 13.
C James Sheppard posted his third career two-assist game and his fifth career two-point game.
The Wild fell to 11-3-1 against the Eastern Conference this season, still the most wins of any team in either conference against the other conference.
The Wild scored three first period goals for the first time since Jan. 10, 2008, at Detroit. It marked the Wild’s first three-goal first period at home since Jan. 3, 2008, versus Dallas.
has replaced Niklas Backstrom
in net to start the third period. A chance for Harding to pick up his second win of the season.
Jarkko Ruuto goes for interference, and the Wild, which gave up a shorthanded goal on its last power play, goes to work.17:31
It's another shortie for the Sens, who become just the second team ever to score two shorthanded goals in a game against the Wild. The other was Edmonton, on Dec. 29, 2007. There was a brief review, but the goal correctly sood. Daniel Alfredsson broke in 2-on-1 with Mike Fisher and snapped a shot from the left circle. Harding made the save, and the puck went straight up in the air, then off his back and into the net. The review was making sure Fisher didn't kick the puck in. He never touched it.
The Wild hasn't yet gained the zone on this power play. The fans are getting very restless.
You don't see a bench minor to interference very often. Cal Clutterbuck
sets this up with a big hit on Dany Heatley
. Superpest Jarkko Ruutu (remember, he allegedly bit Buffalo's Andrew Peters) grabs Clutterbuck from the bench and picks up the penalty. A must-score power play here for the Wild, which has never allowed three shorthanded goals in a game.
Owen Nolan set up Andrew Brunette, who got hit as he tried to poke the puck in. And seconds later, Antoine Vermette had a shorthanded breakaway but was foiled from behind.
The Wild desperately trying to get the equalizer here.
My apologies, still coming up with some notes from the first period. Nolan's three-point stanza ties a team record. It's just his second three-point game since the 2003-04 season. The Wild has been held without a shot in the first six minutes of the second period.
A pretty sloppy second period on both sides, without a great deal of scoring chances. Ottawa should get some here, going on its first power play after a hooking call on James Sheppard. The Sens held the puck a good 30 seconds with the extra attacker, but couldn't find the net.
A good penalty kill, but seven seconds later, the Senators are on the board with Brian Lee - the Fargo/Moorhead product - scores his second goal of the season. The puck deflected to him at the left point, and with Backstrom out of position, he found the back of the net.
The Senators are enjoying a 7-3 shot advantage this period. Since taking the 3-0 lead, the Wild has gotten into some bad habits.
James Sheppard sets up Nolan for the hat trick, but Nolan has his stick tied up in front.
Seconds later on the other end, Backstrom robs former Wild defenseman Filip Kuba from point blank range.
You could see this coming, and we really have a game now. The Wild is pinned deep, Chris Kelly skates out from behind the net and finds Antoine Vermette just inside the right circle. Vermette fires by Backstrom for his ninth goal of the season, and it's 3-2 Wild.
A perfectly clean hip check by Marc-Andre Bergeron on Mike Fisher, and Nick Foligno inexplicably goes right after him, throwing haymakers before Bergeron knew what hit him. The Wild should get a power play out of this. Indeed, the Wild gets a power play, as Foligno gets a double minor for roughing, while Bergeron got a single penalty for roughing. Minnesota is 1-for-1 on the power play tonight.
And we're tied up. Brent Burns pinched at the point, the puck bounced high up in the air, and Daniel Alfredsson broke in 2-on-1 with Chris Phillips. Alfredsson waited for Marek Zidlicky to commit, then fed Phillips, who calmly slid the puck by Backstrom for his fifth goal of the season. It's my duty to tell you that the Wild has never surrendered a three-goal lead in a home game.
End 2nd period
The boo birds hit the Wild as they head off the ice. We'll see if 20 more minutes can decide this.
Tonight's State of Hockey flagbearer was Dalton Reither. He did an outstanding job. Let's Play Hockey was done by Nick & Joyce Olsen, season ticketholders who have been married for nearly 48 years! Also, Kurtis Foster
will again play for the Houston Aeros tonight, in Iowa. Foster wasn't sure he would be up to playing back-to-back games, but he took the warm-up and is apparently ready to go.
The Wild controls the opening faceoff. Belanger centers Veilleux and Clutterbuck.18:45Just 1:15 into this game, the Wild has taken the 1-0 lead and given 18,568 a Valentine's Day present. Good job clearing the zone by James Sheppard, who hit Owen Nolan coming up the right side. With Sheppard driving the net, Nolan left a pass for Pierre-Marc Bouchard between the circles. Bouchard fired a shot by Elliott for his 12th goal of the season. And we must tell you, the Wild is 30-3-1 when Bouchard scores a goal, dating back to Dec. 23, 2006.
The Senators have gotten the game's last three shots, but Niklas Backstrom
has been good thus far. No surprises, there.12:48
Jason Spezza got Backstrom out of position but slid the puck across the length of the crease. I think it kissed the near pipe (kissed...get it?)
gets into the Ottawa zone with a burst of speed. Elliott makes the save, then covers up with both Belanger and Veilleux whacking away at the rebound.
draws a penalty on Jarkko Ruutu for holdiong. Ruutu takes a penalty inside his own zone. New Sens coach Cory Clouston doesn't look happy. The Wild gets the game's first power play.
Clouston is even less happy now, as Owen Nolan's 14th goal of the season - on what do you know, a tip - makes it 2-0 Wild. Brent Burns fired from the right point, and Nolan redirected the puck past a stunned Elliott. Terrific play by Burns, knowing right where Nolan was. That marks the 395th career NHL goal for Nolan.
Nolan makes it 3-0, but that was the play of young James Sheppard's career. Around a couple of defenders after taking a Bouchard pass at the blueline, he dropped a no-look pass to Nolan, who swiped the puck into the net before falling down. And that spells the end of Brian Elliott's night. Alex Auld comes on.
Nolan's got 44-some odd minutes to try to record his 12th career hat trick. He has one since 1999. This is his second two-goal game of the season (Jan. 4 in Colorado).
End 1st period
The Wild leads 3-0 after one, outshooting the Sens 15-8. A couple times, though, they fell into some bad habits. No doubt Jacques Lemaire will address this at the intermission.
Greetings from seat 51 of the Al Shaver Press Box. Myself and Aaron Sickman (seat 52), who is kind enough to help out with the R.S.S. Feed when on the road, are dressed in nearly identical holiday outfits tonight, black suit and red shirt and tie. We are different however, as Sickman is wearing just the cutest red socks with black hearts on them. I'm hoping he let one of his two kids pick out the socks.
Former Wisconsin Badgers goalie Brian Elliott led the Senators out of the locker room. He is no doubt excited to play in Xcel Energy Center, as is Brian Lee, the former Fargo-Moorhead standout. I saw a Lee Senators jersey in the parking ramp tonight as I was walking into the arena.
The Sens also feature former Wild D-man Filip Kuba, who plays against the Wild for just the second time in his career. He was scoreless last year in one game with Tampa Bay.
Chris Schubert and Alexandre Picard are the scratches for the Sens.
For the Wild, it's Niklas Backstrom
in net. Derek Boogaard draws back in the lineup tonight. Colton GIllies is the Wild's lone healthy scratch.
Wild radio analyst Tom Reid will miss tonight's game due to a knee problem. This is the first Wild game that Reid has ever missed. Kevin Falness will fill in for Tom Reid alongside Bob Kurtz. We wish Tom a quick recovery.
Saturday, 11:30 a.m. CST
It’s hard to believe, but the Wild has just 10 home games remaining in the regular season after tonight, when the Ottawa Senators visit Xcel Energy Center. The Wild is 11-2-1 against the Eastern Conference, but Jacques Lemaire told the assembled media this morning that it’s just a coincidence.
The Wild held an optional practice this morning -- Lemaire didn’t take the ice, but he generally doesn’t on gamedays. Video coach Matt Shaw was also getting some extra work in, looking at Ottawa games. Players taking the morning off were Kim Johnsson, Brent Burns, Owen Nolan and Andrew Brunette.
Lemaire also told the media that his team has to be much stronger with the puck than it was in Thursday’s 4-2 loss to Detroit. The Senators have struggled for much of the season, but have now won three straight under new coach Cory Clouston.
It will be Niklas Backstrom
in net tonight for the Wild. The last two skaters off the ice were Derek Boogaard and Colton Gillies, so it would appear one of them would be out tonight. The likely bet is Gillies -- Boogaard would be the natural choice to have on the bench or ice considering Ottawa has Jarkko Ruutu, who allegedly bit Buffalo’s Andrew Peters earlier this season.
Tonight’s game is on locally on KSTC-TV Channel 45. There is, in an unusual occurrence, no Canadian TV broadcast. CBC has exclusive Hockey Night In Canada broadcasts on Saturday nights, and tonight’s game isn’t one of them. Other than that, Ottawa travels with three beat writers, including one from a French newspaper.
It was a busy morning at Xcel Energy Center, including a waffle breakfast in the club level for some season ticketholders.
Tonight’s press meal:
Potato beer cheese soup
Southwest pork loin
herb roasted chicken
jalapeno cheddar cheese mashed potatoes