Jacques Lemaire didn't mince words after the game. The first three words out of his mouth in his press conference were "It's just terrible." Followed soon after by "not acceptable."
Lemaire thought his team probably took the Predators too lightly. The mental part of the game was not there. The coaches stressed - even in timeouts - that they wanted to forecheck, so don't give the puck to the goalie. Instead, regular dump-ins to the goalie.
Jacques finished things off with "Some nights are tougher than others. What can you say."
The Wild will skate tomorrow in preparation of the Sunday 2 p.m. matinee against Edmonton.
Post-game notes are below
C Jason Arnott and C David Legwand scored a goal apiece and Dan Ellis made 22 saves for his third shutout of the season, leading the Nashville Predators to their second straight shutout of the Minnesota Wild, 2-0, in front of 18,568 at Xcel Energy Center. G Niklas Backstrom
made 24 saves for Minnesota, which is 1-1-0 on a four-game homestand that continues Sunday against Edmonton at 2 p.m.
The Wild fell to 6-3-0 in the last nine overall meeting with the Predators, and has just two losses in the last 12 home meetings (8-2-2).
The Predators became the first team to shut out the Wild in two straight meetings since they did it Jan. 19 and Feb. 26, 2004. The Predators won 2-0 and 4-0, with both games coming in Nashville. Three other teams (St. Louis, Colorado and Columbus) have also blanked the Wild in two straight meetings.
In three games this season against Nashville, the Wild has scored one even-strength goal. Five of the Wild’s six goals in a 6-2 win Nov. 29 were power-play markers.
The Wild is 1-7-1 in the last nine games against a team which played the night before, after winning the first three games with that situation this season. Nashville beat Anaheim 4-2 last night.
Minnesota was shut out at home for the 24th time in team history, and for the second time by Nashville. The Preds and Wild skated to a scoreless tie March 21, 2001. It marked the Wild’s fourth overall time being shut out this season.
The Wild, which blanked Anaheim 3-1 on Wednesday, was shut out in the game immediately following one of its own shutouts for the first time since Nov. 11 (1-0 win over Vancouver) and Nov. 13 (2-0 loss to Edmonton), 2003.
Nashville became the third team all-time to shut out the Wild twice in one season but with different goalies. Colorado did it in 2001-02, and Phoenix in 2000-01.
Minnesota fell to 15-10-3 at home this season. The Wild had just 11 regulation losses at Xcel Energy Center last season (25-11-5).
RW Pierre-Marc Bouchard
had his four-game point streak (3-6=9) snapped.
RW Cal Clutterbuck
had five hits, giving him an NHL-best 194 this season. Clutterbuck finished minus-one, his first minus-rating in the last 19 games.
We'll see what kind of peptalk the Wild got to start the third. Minnesota starts the period with Belanger between Fritsche and Bouchard.
David Legwand makes it 2-0 Nashville with a shot that either hit a defenseman or Backstrom on the way by.
Backstrom gets beat five-hole but gets enough of the puck to send it wide. Shots now 22-10 in favor of Nashville.
If the Wild is going to get back into this one, there's no time like the present. Kevin Klein goes for interference, and the Wild's power play 0-for-3 tonight including a long 5-on-3, gets to work.
The crowd restless again, this time as Brent Burns and Andrew Brunette run into each other trying to get into the zone.
Deep into post-game notes. Wild getting some chances now, but still down two goals.
in 1-on-1 with Ellis, but the goalie makes the save, his 10th of the third period.
End of game
I'll be back after the post-game press conference with a quick wrap-up.
Back upstairs from giving the tour, and I've missed a few Nashville shots, but thus far, none for the Wild.
Shea Weber absolutely clocks Stehpane Veilleux.
A Wild power play as Ryan Suter heads to the box for cross checking. Suter is still upset with Sheppard.
And it's 1:36 of a 5-on-3 as Dan Hamhuis fires the puck 12 rows deep trying to clear.
The WIld still without a shot on this power play. Greg Zanon just risked his life to block Marek Zidlcky's one-timer, and he did.
Another blocked shot, this one by Joel Ward on a Brent Burns slapper.
Puck slides by Mikko Koivu
, and the Wild crowd is getting antsy. One shot on this 5-on-3.
You smelled this coming, after the 5-on-3 kill by the Preds. Jason Arnott cuts in from the right point and rips a one-time pass by J.P. Dumont by Backstrom for his team-leading 19th goal of the season. It's 1-0 Nashville.
You know Marek Zidlicky doesn't like losing to his former team. He comes into the left circle and fires a pass from Dan Fritsche, but Ellis is up to task.
A boarding call to Colton Gillies puts the Predators on the power play.
Arnott gets a good chance at goal No. 2, but a terrific pad save by Backstrom.
Backstrom is awesome again after losing his stick. Credit an assist to the saved goal to Martin Skoula, who two-arm tackled David Legwand.
The fans are having a field day tonight with with referees. Jerred Smithson went for hooking, and Eric Belanger for holding the stick. That call looked pretty good. Teams skate 4-on-4 for most of the rest of the second period.
End 2nd period
Shots are 20-10 through two in favor of Nashville, and the Wild may be a bit lucky to only be down one goal.
Kim Insley from the KARE 11 morning show just led us in the Let's Play Hockey intro. Koivu centers Miettinen and Brunette, with Zidlicky and Skoula on the blueline. Legwant between Erat and former Wild prospect Ryan Jones for the Preds.
absolutely robs Martin Erat, all alone at the left doorstep.
Kim Johnsson saves a goal perhaps, with Antti Pihlstrom comes in the right side for a rebound that Johnsson swiped into the corner.15:02
collides with Shea Weber, knocking him into goalie Dan Ellis. By the time the Wild got the puck to James Sheppard in the low slot, Ellis was back in position to stop the shot.13:58
Preds winger Steve Sullivan returned last month from a 142-month absence. I wonder how he's feeling tonight completing his first set of back-to-back games in two seasons.
A spectacular play by Ellis to break up a long Brunette pass headed to Miettinen at the right doorstep. He pushed the puck into the corner right as Miettinen was ready to tap the puck in.
drives Greg de Vries hard into the boards in front of the Nashville bench. The definition of a "hit".
A pretty slow developing first period. Shots 4-4.
This just in - Kurtis Foster, out since last March 19 after fracturing his femur, is expected to play for the AHL's Houston Aeros on Sunday. He hasn't been assigned there yet, but look for Foster to likely play for the Aeros, in Chicago (where he started his pro career).
James Sheppard pays the ultimate price from Ryan Suter while going after a loose puck in front, taking a stick up high. It'll just be a two-minute minor, but the Wild gets the first power play of the game.
Zidlicky and Martin Erat - countrymen and former teammates - each go for slashing. The Wild stays on the man advantage.
I'm not sure how this isn't a penalty. Cal Clutterbuck
tries to break out for a 2-on-1 and gets mugged by Dan Hamhuis and Steve Sullivan, but there's no call.
Eric Belanger shoots just wide on a breakaway. Belanger walked through all five Predators with a great move.
End 1st period
Not exactly a spine-tingling first period, but it hardly is when one team has played the night before. Shots 5-4 in favor of Nashville. I'm off to show Jackson - my fourth-grade Wild buddy - and his dad around.
Craig Weller (head) and Owen Nolan (upper body muscle spasms) are out again tonight. For the Preds, Wade Belak, Ville Koistinen and Jordin Tootoo are out.
A special treat tonight, as both Kevin Gorg and Mike Greenlay from FS North will be between the benches for the broadcast, with Dan Terhaar calling the play-by-play from the press box. Greenlay is wearing a camera - "Greenlay Cam" - on his headset, which will be used in the broadcast.
I watched almost an hour of Wild Fantasy Camp today. I tell you what, Phil Housley could still play in the NHL, I'm convinced.
Gorg put on quite the show too. Gorg is normally a goalie, so skating around was a bit new to him. He was using someone else's helmet, which I estimate A)was three sizes too small, and B)may have been made of leather.
It looked like a fun time was had by all.
Another funny moment today, too. I was walking over to Wild Fantasy Camp, through Headwaters Cafe in RiverCentre, and I saw more than 30 grown men in Mikko Koivu
jerseys. Some investors/management from TPS Turku - Koivu's former team in Finland - are in town, shadowing the Wild organization for a couple days. They all got signed red Koivu "C" jerseys. Bill Robertson and Aaron Sickman talked to the group this afternoon in the press box, while I readied game notes for Sunday's matinee against Edmonton.
Friday, 1 p.m. CST
A very, very busy day over at Xcel Energy Center. In addition to the game tonight against Nashville, it’s Wild Fantasy Camp day. Fantasy campers will spend the afternoon practicing and playing a game alongside Brad Bombardir and Darby Hendrickson. Among the fantasy campers are FS North’s Kevin Gorg and KARE 11’s Dave Schwartz. I plan on spending some time this afternoon in Row 2 and letting them know how they’re doing.
Owen Nolan (upper body) and Craig Weller (head) are out tonight, meaning the Wild won’t have any healthy scratches. Kim Johnsson and Andrew Brunette did not participate in this morning’s pregame skate. Also not participating was Wild Radio’s Tom Reid, still recovering from minor knee surgery yesterday. Kevin Falness informs me that Reid still expects to work tonight’s game.
The Predators beat Anaheim, 4-2, last night -- meaning it’s kind of like Nashville, Anaheim and the Wild are playing a mini round robin tournament this week. The Wild’s record is not good (1-6-1 in the last eight tries) against a team playing the night before. They’ll get another crack at it Sunday -- as Edmonton plays Saturday afternoon in Detroit. Dan Ellis, who lost his starting job to rookie Pekka Rinne, will play in net tonight for Nashville.
I hoped to catch up with Joel Ward this morning, but I didn’t have time. Wardo has really made a home for himself in Nashville, where he plays in all situations. Ward played briefly for the Wild, but spent three years in Houston. He’s one of the best guys you’ll meet in all of hockey or otherwise.
Yesterday, I wrote about Jacques Lemaire’s appearance on NHL Live, co-hosted by none other than Jimmy Dowd. If you’d like to listen to it, click here
or you can go to:
It’s an exciting day – Jackson, my Wild buddy that I mentor every week, is coming to the game with his step dad. I’m going to show Jackson Seat 51 of the Al Shaver Press Box!
Tonight’s press meal is:
Tomato Basil Soup
Blackened sea bass
Potatoes au gratin