A somber mood downstairs, and a lot of questions about the Wild disallowed goal, then the non blowing of the whistle on the other end when Backstrom had the puck covered.
Jacques Lemaire was pleased with his team's game. He said the first period was good, but he thinks his team started to "think more than skate" when its chances weren't going in.
No word on Andrew Brunette. He's still being evaluated. If he can't play Monday in Chicago, the Wild will either have to call a player up from Houston, or put Erik Reitz up front. Speaking of Chicago, defenseman Kurtis Foster will travel in order to practice with the team tomorrow. It will be his first practice away from the Twin Cities since suffering the fractured leg last March.
And that's a wrap from Hockey Day Minnesota - 2,600 words-ish. Notes are below. Aaron is on this trip, and he or I will be back with an update either late Sunday or Monday.
G Jonas Hiller made 30 saves for his fourth shutout of the season, RW Corey Perry scored twice and RW Bobby Ryan added a goal, as the Anaheim Ducks defeated the Minnesota Wild, 3-0, in front of 18,568 on Hockey Day Minnesota at Xcel Energy Center. G Niklas Backstrom made 31 saves for Minnesota, which plays at Chicago on Monday at 7 p.m. before a Tuesday home game against Los Angeles at 7 p.m.
D Nick Schultz skated in his 492nd NHL game, moving past RW Marian Gaborik for most games played all-time in a Wild sweater.
Minnesota had not been shut out at home since Feb. 7, 2008, a 1-0 loss to Dallas. The Wild was blanked at Xcel Energy Center for the 23rd time in team history.
The Ducks shut out the Wild for the fifth time in the regular season – but the first time since March 3, 2004.
Anaheim lost 3-1 in Pittsburgh last night. The Wild dropped to 1-6-1 in the last eight instances when its opponent was playing the second game of a back-to-back.
Minnesota went 0-for-4 on the power play and is 2-for-27 (7.4 percent) with the man advantage in the last five games.
The Wild lost in regulation for the first time in five home games (3-1-1).
Wild RW Andrew Brunette left the game in the second period with a lower body injury and didn’t return. He will be evaluated after the game. Brunette has the NHL’s longest active consecutive games played streak at 497 games.
The Wild fell to 1-1-1 all-time on Hockey Day Minnesota, a joint effort with FOX Sports North that included two outdoor high school games at Phalen Park and more than 20 hours of continuous hockey coverage.
Rob Niedermayer goes for holding, and the Wild, 0-for-2 on the power play tonight, goes on the offensive.
Antti Miettinen beats Jonas Hiller, but the puck clanks off the far post. You've just got this feeling something is going to go the Wild's way tonight, at some point.
Bobby Ryan hops on a rebound and pokes it into an open net for his 13th goal of the season. Ryan recently scored the fastest hat trick ever by an American. He only needed one tonight to make this a 2-0 game.
Pierre-Marc Bouchard is stoned on an early breakaway.
A scary collision in the corner - between Andrew Brunette and the boards - leads to Brunette being helped off the ice with an apparent lower body injury. We'll try to get an update as one becomes available. Replays showed Brunette's skates got locked in a rut on the ice. Tonight is Brunette's 497th consecutive game played.
Marek Zidlicky goes for hooking, and Anaheim goes on its first power play, against the Wild's top-ranked PK unit.
Corey Perry makes it 1-0 Anaheim with his 12th goal of the season, off a great cross-ice pass from Andrew Ebbett. The puck was rolling on its side, and Perry flipped it into the open net.
Andrew Brunette will not return. His leg injury will be evaluated after the game. The atmosphere in here is still a bit stunned and sullen. The Ducks have taken a timeout, after being forced to ice the puck.
The sleeping giant is awoken. The Wild has a pair of goals waved off. Marek Zidlicky off the post, and then a clear goal but the referee ruled the whistle was blown. It looked like Owen Nolan knocked the puck in. The whistle had definitely blown, but I'm not sure why - the puck was still outside the crease with Hiller trying to cover it. Owen Nolan fights Steve Montador, and this place is going crazy. Unfortunately, the Wild now down to 10 forwards for most of the rest of this period. But as Herb Brooks said: "Great moments are born from great opportunity."
End of 2nd
The second period ends, but not before more controversy in the crease, as the Niklas Backstrom had the puck covered for quite some time without a whistle. The referee was actually standing in the crease too to make sure he had the puck covered.
George Parros, Brett Festerling and Todd Marchant are the Ducks' scratches tonight.
A pair of Minnesota-based armed services units just led us in Let's Play Hockey, a nice video from Iraq.
A turned over puck comes right to Krys Kolanos low in the left circle, but Jonas Hiller swallows up the shot.
Niklas Backstrom gets clobbered in front of the net, and Cory Perry goes to the box. The Wild's power play, down to 10th in the NHL, gets its first chance. The Ducks have been shorthanded more times than any other NHL team.
Pierre-Marc Bouchard hits the outside of the net on the near side.
What a post-to-post-save by Backstrom on Chris Kunitz streaking up the left side. A fast-moving first period thus far.
Speed kills, and the Ducks go back to the box, when rookie Bobby Ryan couldn't keep up with Mikko Koivu and had to hold him.
The Wild with six shots - three on that last power play - but nothing that could be classified as a major scoring chance.
Cal Clutterbuck just drilled Steve Montador into the boards, and then backchecking on the other end, stopped a Ducks scoring chance.
End 1st period
Shots 8-7 in favor of Minnesota. A fairly tame first period.
Erik Reitz (healthy) and Craig Weller (head) are out for the Wild. Anaheim's scratches will be determined. They're skating 20 guys plus two goalies in warm-ups. So the Ducks will scratch two players currently on the ice in warm-ups. You often see 19 skaters during warm-ups, but hardly ever 20.
The goaltending matchup pits Niklas Backstrom against Jonas Hiller, whose numbers this year are actually much better than Jean-Sebastien Giguere's. Giguere threw a memorable fit here last season after allowing three goals on 11 shots in 23 minutes in late January. Hiller has faced the Wild three times - twice in relief - but won his lone career start against the Wild, making 27 saves in a 4-2 Ducks victory Jan. 18, 2008 - one year ago tomorrow.
The Wild travels to Chicago tomorrow for a game on Monday, but its next opponent is already in town, believe it or not. The Kings lost 3-2 in a shootout today in Dallas, then flew here to await the Wild on Tuesday night. At least we warmed it up a few degrees for our friends from the left coast.
The Gophers hung on for thrilling 8-6 over St. Cloud State. The Gophers were up 5-1 at one point, and it was 7-4 early in the third. Then 7-6 before you knew it, and Ryan Stoa ended things with an empty-netter. If there are 14 goals scored here at Xcel Energy Center tonight, you can write my blog Tuesday.
Any day you've seen two NHL teams pre-game skate, parts of three high school games and more than a dozen Olympians before 5 p.m., you're doing well. And that's just the appetizer, as I settle into Seat 51 in the Al Shaver Press Box before tonight's Wild/Ducks tilt. We are watching FS North up here, and the Gophers are up 3-2 after one period in St. Cloud.
Couple of midget teams on the ice now. One of them appears to be coached by Minnesota Hockey's own Mike Snee. Snee's kid scored a highlight-reel goal at an intermission last season. It wouldn't surprise me if he's out on the ice now.
I caught about 30 minutes of play over at Aldrich off White Bear Lake Ave., where the U.S. Women's National Team was scrimmaging the Whitecaps. Since many of the Team USA ladies also play for the Whitecaps, it wasn't too fierce.
I'll be back during warm-ups. We know tonight's lineup. Craig Weller (head) and Erik Reitz (healthy) are the Wild's scratches.
Duluth East up 4-2 after two. This was a brief stop, as I'm going to grab some lunch en route to Aldrich Arena, where the Whitecaps are set to take on the U.S. Women's National Team. From there, hopefully to St. Paul Academy before heading home for a pair of warm socks and to get ready for the game. I'm not sure I'll make the Gopher women's game.
A quick update while I wait for the car to warm up.
Stillwater and Minnetonka girls are underway. I said hi to Mike Ramsey on the way out. He's watching daughter Rachel and the rest of her teammates.
The crowd has thinned out a bit, but still a good turnout. It's still snowing a bit, and the wind has really picked up. I think stopping home for a change of socks may be added to my itinerary.
I've taken lots of pictures. The camera battery sill needs some charging as I head back to Xcel Energy Center to watch White Bear Lake and Duluth East. Ducks forward Ryan Carter played for White Bear Lake, by the way.
I just met J.T. and Nick with Pond Hockey, the documentary. Wild minority partner Phil Falcone is one of the producers of the documentary, which features interviews with names like Broten, Gretzky, Crosby and Gaborik. You can order from www.pondhockeymovie.com. Jeff, the star of the movie, a star pond hockey player in Minnesota, was out here earlier as well.
Took a break for a bit inside the lodge here at Lake Phalen, after Johnson beats Marshall 4-0.
I was greeted out hgere by FSN GM Mike Dimond, coordinating producer Joseph Maar and my FSN PR counterpart Becky Ross, whose fur parka I wish I had. Everything is going smoothly.
On the adjacent rinks, there's some sled hockey and youth games going on. It's just awesome.
GPS died on the way out here, so thanks to marketing guru Wayne Petersen for the good directions. Hopefully I can find the rest of my spots, too.
Thanks, too, to a Ramsey County sheriff for the ride from the parking lot. Twice, actually, since I forgot the camera in the car. It was a long, cold walk back to get it.
Have about 45 minutes before Minnetonka and Stillwater girls. I just saw Mike Ramsey's daughter warming up.
Post-skate (Wild) update
The Wild held an optional practice. All guys skated but Veilleux, Belanger and Johnsson. Craig Weller, out through the weekend with a head injury, also wasn't on the ice.
A small media contingent this morning, as well. Erik Reitz appears to be the lone healthy scratch tonight.
A nice gift this morning from Wild TV producer/director Pat O'Connor -- an old school New York Giants hat.
I'm off to Lake Phalen, where Johnson is up 3-0 in the second period. Mike Ramsey is headed out there, as well, as his daughter plays for Minnetonka, which will face Stillwater. The entire game is on FSN tape delayed tonight after the Wild game.
In all the Hockey Day excitement, I forgot my old friend Dave Farrish, assistant coach for the Ducks, is in town. Just said hi to him. Farrish was the head coach with ECHL Louisiana my "rookie" year. We went 56-12-4 and lost in the first round of the playoffs. What a bummer. Farrish coached Derek Boogaard his first year pro. Also arriving are Jamie MacDonald of Wild.com and Kevin Falness of Wild Radio.
It's 2-0 St. Paul Johnson. And we have an update from my FSN counterpart Becky Ross at Lake Phalen: "Dress warm." Good thing is, I'm ready!
Wild pre-game skate is officially underway. Matt Benz, Wild assistant equipment manager, with a good zinger at Brad Bombardir. He asked me if the group of fans upstairs won -- or lost -- the contest to spend the morning with Bomber. Now that the team is on the ice, I wrote "8:00 game" on the board in the locker room since it's an unusual start time.
A group of Ducks just walked in, led by Jean-Sebastien Giguere. The Ducks lost 3-1 in Pittsburgh last night, but at least had the time zone switch on their side flying into St. Paul.
I switch the TV in the press conference room just in time to see St. Paul Johnson take a 1-0 lead. Great atmosphere at Lake Phalen. The neutral zone looks tiny.
Live from the Wild locker room, watching the beginning of the first outdoor game from Lake Phalen.
Chatted with Wild broadcasting's Maggie Kukar on my way over here. She and the rest of the production crew were at the truck at 5 a.m.
I walked into Xcel Energy Center to the booming voice of Brad Bombardir, speaking to "Our Family" -- a group of fans that won a contest to attent -- in the club level. I stopped briefly by one of the two live Fox Sports North locations, and Marney Gellner was interviewing a couple of soldiers from Iraq. I'm waiting to hear the results of the floor hockey game from Iraq.
I just ran into Cal Clutterbuck, and told him that FS North has requested him for the pre-game bench interview tonight. Hopefully Clutterbuck won't add Kevin Gorg to his mammoth list of hits this season.
Hello again. I'm about to head downstairs for the Wild pre-game skate, and to catch some in-arena Hockey Day Minnesota stuff while I'm at it. I've started the game notes for Monday at Chicago. The Wild then plays home against Los Angeles on Tuesday before a welcomed six day off from games for the All-Star Break.
I'll be back with a Wild skate update. From there I plan on heading out to Lake Phalen, hopefully to catch the end of the St. Paul Johnson vs. Rochester John Marshall outdoor game, and the beginning of the Stillwater and Minnetonka girls game. Other places I hope (but can't guarantee) to hit today are Xcel Energy Center for the White Bear Lake and Duluth East game, as well as the White Caps exhibition game against the U.S. Women's National Team out in Woodbury, the St. Paul Academy and Providence Academy game, as well as the Gopher women versus Bemidji. We'll see how I do.
The weather has warmed up considerably - it's around 20 - and light snow flurries are currently floating through the air.
Greetings, hockey fans ...
Here's one quick and early post to let you all know that I'm going to try to take in as many Hockey Day Minnesota festivities as I can throughout the day. I'll have a camera with me, too, so I'll be able to post some pictures at some point during the day.