Ed. note: Today's edition is brought to you by Aaron Sickman, who is traveling with the team on its one-game road trip to Chicago.
Third period/end of game
Shall we call VERSUS the Wild national TV network? The Wild improve to 5-1-0 on VERSUS this season, but it wasn't without a frantic third period that helped see the Wild outshot 41-26, including 30-13 over the last two periods. Niklas Backstrom
finishes with 40 saves -- hitting the 40-shot mark for the eighth time in his career.
One thing that jumps off the scoresheet: the Wild was credited with just five hits all game. Five? Cal Clutterbuck
likely had that on his own (and just took out his frustration apparently with an empty net goal). Hits are one of the most subjective stats out there, but this was a pretty physical game.
The Wild's plane was delayed coming out of Denver but should be waiting for the guys about when they arrive. It's about an hour flight coming out of Midway. The boys should be on the ground about midnight. The Wild will switch pre-game skate times with the Kings tomorrow, with L.A. skating at 10:30, and the Wild at 11:30. The home team has the option of when to skate when playing the night before. The Kings will sleep in St. Paul for the third consecutive night tonight.
Some notes from tonight:
This was Zidlicky's fifth two-goal game and second this season, and also his 15th career three point game.
In addition to scoring his 50th career goal, tonight marked Mikko Koivu
's 10th three-point game. The Wild is 9-1-0 in those situations.
The Wild scores three or more goals on the road for the first time in 11 games, since scoring six at Nashville 11/29.
The Wild wins for just the third time in the last 11 road games (3-8-0).
Andrew Brunette, whose consecutive games played streak seemed to be possibly over Saturday night, gets two assists, as does veteran Owen Nolan
And tonight was the Wild's first two power play goal game for Minnesota since 12/31 against San Jose, and its first two power play road game since going 5-for-11 at Nashville 11/29.Second period
You have a feeling the second period ended just at the right time. The Wild up, 3-1, and Niklas Backstrom
just made an unbelievable paddle save, reaching back across his body to rob reigning Rookie of the Year Patrick Kane.
Zidlicky with two goals total, but a great period by Kim Johnsson. A couple big hits with the Hawks in prime scoring position.
The crowd back into the game during the second, and a PK for the Wild to start the third, will likely decide the game. First period
scored the 50th goal of his career, then assisted on Marek Zidlicky's power play goal late in the first, making it 2-0.Pregame
Andrew Brunette's ironman streak will continue, as he will play tonight vs. Chicago.2:00 p.m. CST
The Wild held an optional practice today. Everybody was there but Pierre-Marc Bouchard
and Owen Nolan. Andrew Brunette skated for about 20 minutes and said that his leg felt better the longer he skated, and he's pretty optimistic about playing tonight. Niklas Backstrom
will start between the pipes and signs point to Khabibulin starting on the other end.
John Forslund, Eddie Olczyk and Christine Simpson will serve as the broadcasters
for tonight’s game, which will be televised nationally in HD on VERSUS. Simpson will be talking to a Wild player during the second TV timeout of the first period at the bench.
In logistical "news" ...
We do not have a media bus in Chicago, due to the game being on VERSUS, so everyone was on the 12:30 bus back to the hotel for lunch. It is a nice, 20-minute ride without traffic. The bus will depart back to United Center at 4:30 this afternoon.
Because Los Angeles has been in St. Paul since Saturday night and we are playing tonight, the Wild have switched practice times with the Kings tomorrow morning. Minnesota will skate at 11:30 so players can get a little more rest before coming to the rink tomorrow.
I'll be looking forward to seeing what the atmosphere at the United Center will be like tonight. The Blackhawks have sold out every game here this season and I can’t remember the Wild ever playing a game in front of a sold out crowd here. The building is plenty loud without every seat being filled, so tonight's packed house should be quite some fun.