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The Official Site of the Minnesota Wild

The R.S.S. Feed: March 31, 2009

by Ryan Stanzel / Minnesota Wild
Post-game wrap-up

Henrik Sedin usually does damage with his assists - many to his brother - against the Wild, but tonight it was his goal with 60 seconds left in OT that lifted the Canucks to a 2-1 victory. It marked his first goal in the last 27 games against the Wild, although he had 24 assists in that span.

Jacques Lemaire was pleased with the third period (when the Wild tied a team record by not allowing a shot) but felt his team didn't have enough energy in the first two periods. And he wasn't happy with the team's five power plays, in which it generated five shots.

The Wild will take its team picture before a noon practice at Xcel Energy Center tomorrow. Talk to you then. Post-game notes are below.

C Henrik Sedin scored with 1:00 left in overtime, G Roberto Luongo made 33 saves and RW Pavol Demitra scored a power play goal with 1:02 left in the second period, leading the Vancouver Canucks past the Minnesota Wild 2-1 in front of 18,568 at Xcel Energy Center. RW Marian Gaborik scored a goal and Niklas Backstrom made 17 saves for Minnesota, which has a point in each of its last seven home games (3-0-4). The Wild plays host to Calgary on Friday at 7 p.m. Minnesota has 81 points – two points behind eighth-place St. Louis. Ninth-place Anaheim (82 points) is playing at 10th-place Edmonton (81 points) tonight.

The Wild had held Canucks C Henrik Sedin without a goal in the past 26 meetings, dating back to Oct. 25, 2005, prior to his overtime game-winner. He had 24 assists since his last goal versus the Wild.

RW Marian Gaborik scored his eighth goal in 12 games this season, and his fifth goal and eighth point in five games since returning from a 38-game absence. The Wild is 7-3-2 with Gaborik in the lineup this season. Since 2005-06, Minnesota is 114-64-24 with Gaborik in the lineup and 51-62-12 without him. Since 2005-06, Minnesota is 65-14-0 when Gaborik scores a goal, including a 25-1-5 mark since Nov. 24, 2007.

G Niklas Backstrom made 17 saves. Backstrom has just four regulation losses in 34 home starts (22-4-8) against the Northwest Division, with a 1.66 GAA and a .935 SV%, allowing two goals or fewer 27 times.

LW Andrew Brunette extended his point streak to four games with an assist. He has six points (3-3=6) in that span. Brunette is the Wild's third-leading scorer with 46 points (20-26=46).

D Martin Skoula recorded an assist, giving him three points (2-1=3) in four games. Skoula had 11 points (1-10=11) in his first 72 games this season.

The Wild was 20-for-20 on the penalty kill in a five-game streak until RW Pavol Demitra’s goal late in the first period.

Minnesota went to overtime for the fifth time in seven home games. The Wild has a point in each of its last seven home contests (3-0-4) and hasn’t lost in regulation at home since a 5-3 decision to Ottawa on Feb. 14.
The Wild matched a franchise record by not allowing a shot in the third period. Minnesota also allowed zero shots to Chicago in the third period of a 3-2 loss at Xcel Energy Center on Oct. 29, 2000.

Minnesota is 3-6 in overtime, including losses in the last three games, while Vancouver improved to 4-4.

Minnesota finished the season series against Vancouver at 1-4-1. The Wild had won at least two games against Canucks every season prior to this. Vancouver won all three games played at Xcel Energy Center this season.

3rd period
As I originally thought, Demitra gets the Vancouver goal, straight in off Johnsson. That announcement draws some boos for the former Wild forward. And Koivu goes for interference, which sets up a Vancouver power play.


But that didn't last long. Daniel Sedin high sticks Kim Johnsson off the faceoff, and we'll have an extended 1:58 of 4-on-4 time.

And we're tied at 1-1! Marian Gaborik picks good friend Pavol Demitra's pocket and beats Luongo for a goal. He then blows a kiss to the crowd with a fist pump. Andrew Brunette with an assist.

Nolan fires from the far edge of the left circle, but Luongo makes the save. Just looked up the following - Wild is 25-1-4 in the last 30 games in which Gaborik scores a goal, entering tonight. And this from Robert the Intern - the Canucks are one of three teams this season without a regulation loss when leading after two.


Luongo is all over the place, this time robbing Antti Miettinen from the low slot. Shots are 6-0 this period for the Wild.


Martin Skoula picks up a second assist on that Gaborik goal. giving him three points (2-1=3) in four games.


Still no shots this period for the Canucks.


There's a scrum in front, and with bodies and sticks all over, Luongo covers up the puck. And the Canucks STILL have no shots this period. The Wild has held its opponent without a shot in a period just once - all the way back on Oct. 29, 2000, in a 3-2 loss to Chicago at Xcel Energy Center.


Probably my last update before post-game, but Sami Salo goes for delay of game for flipping the puck up over the glass. So the Wild will end regulation on a power play. Head coach Jacques Lemaire takes a timeout.

2nd period

This just in from the Star Tribune's Mike Russo- and good news at that - Raffi Torres scores for Columbus, giving the Jackets a 2-1 lead early in the third against Nashville.


Ryan Kesler is out of the box, and the Wild is officially 0-for-1 on the power play.


A great chance for Eric Belanger, who snaps a shot that goes off Luongo, then the near post, beforegoing wide.


The Wild is swarming, and Mikko Koivu fired a shot just wide.


The crowd is delighted as Alex Burrows knocks Backstrom to the ground and gets called for it - just before the puck went in the net.


The power play expires with no goal. The Wild's best chance came on a Mikko Koivu stuff attempt short side.


Luongo continues his strong play, stoning Brunette from close range after a no-look behind the back pass from Gaborik.


We finally hit the 10-minute timeout, several minutes late. Not many whistles in this game. We've seen several fan thank yous by players and broadcasters on the scoreboard tonight. No one asked the R.S.S. Feed to be represented. Interesting...


Backstrom stops a Kevin Bieksa right point blast. Shots are 8-7 this period in favor of the Canucks, despite the fact much of the stanza has been played in the Vancouver zone.


Eric Belanger takes a puck in the gut while sitting in the Canucks crease. But he draws the penalty, as Bieksa put him on the ground and goes for roughing. Actually, he put him into the post and falls into the crease. We'll see if the Wild can take advantage.


Ryan Kesler breaks loose the other way, and Antti Miettinen gets called for hooking him off the play. We'll have 11 seconds of 4-on-4, followed by the Canucks' first power play.

And the Canucks score to make it 1-0. Pavol Demitra gets credit for the tally, rolling a puck through the crease that went off defenseman Kim Johnsson and into the net for his 19th goal of the season. Update: The goal goes to Kesler, who must have deflected Demitra's centering pass, before it banked off Johnsson and into the net.

End 2nd period

A deflating goal for the Wild and the Team of 18,000. They've got 17 minutes to regroup and come out with a tying goal.

1st period
It is indeed the same lineup for the Wild. Craig Weller makes his second consecutive appearance. Burns and Bouchard still out (concussion), as is Derek Boogaard (upper body). Colton Gillies, Kurtis Foster and Peter Olvecky are the Wild's healthy scratches. For the Canucks, Rob Davison, Ossi Vaananen, Mason Raymond and Jannik Hansen are scratched. Vancouver activated Rick Rypien for the game.

It's Luongo versus Backstrom in net. Mattias Ohlund and Alex Edler on the blueline for Vancouver, while Burrows and the Sedin brothers start for the Canucks. Johnsson and Schultz start for the Wild, with Veilleux, Belanger and Clutterbuck.

Tonight's "Let's Play Hockey" declaration came from sportswriter Larry Fitzgerald, Sr., father of Arizona Cardinals star wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, Jr.


Belanger wins the opening draw.


Marian Gaborik and Ryan Kesler have a bit of a slashing match at the blueline.


Luongo lucks out, as Antti Miettinen deflects Big John Scott's point shot just wide of the far post.


Luongo makes a shoulder save on Marek Zidlicky's blast from the right point. He comes up a little bit slow after taking that zinger.


Not much action in the last several minutes. But we'll get the game's first power play, as Ryan Kesler goes for crosschecking.

End 1st period

A couple hooks go uncalled with the Wild on a possible break as time is expiring. Shots are 12-7 after one. A strong first period for the home team.

Tuesday, 11:45 a.m. CDT

Canucks at Wild: Game preview

Broadcast news: Wild radio analyst Tom Reid, will return to the booth tonight. Reid had missed six games while recovering from complications that followed knee surgery.
The Wild is home for consecutive home games for the first time since the week after Valentine’s Day, beginning tonight against Vancouver. The Canucks could vault over first-place Calgary in the Northwest Division with a win.

The mood was excellent in the Wild locker room. A couple days of home cooking will do that to you. Jacques Lemaire said his team has to be “a hardworking team” because it “can’t afford to lose games this time of the year.”

He also talked about what the addition of Mats Sundin has done to the Canucks.

“They have a new dimension. He gives them two really good lines that can score. They’re better offensively because you have to check two lines, and be aware of both the Sedins, and Sundin."

The Canucks are wrapping up a six-game road trip and no doubt can’t wait to get home.

The Wild will play with a lineup very similar to Sunday’s win over Edmonton, Lemaire said.
Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Brent Burns, both with concussions, remain out. Niklas Backstrom will get his 16th straight start tonight, opposite Roberto Luongo, who has his worst save percentage against any team versus the Wild (it’s sub .900). But he has been known to steal a few games for Vancouver in the past.

Cal Clutterbuck decided to put his dirty, smelly practice jersey on my head this morning, instead of in the laundry hamper. It smelled, and as a result, I may now smell as well. But as Aaron Sickman quipped, “At least Clutter wasn’t out there working hard and sweating, so it could have been worse.”

We are all pretty excited about tonight’s press meal:

        Tomato basil Soup
        Chicken Diavola
        Meat Lasagna
        Oven Roasted Potatoes
        Vegetable Medley
        Assorted Desserts

Just a brief wrap-up of our trip home from Edmonton on Sunday. The airport was empty – literally. They opened Customs just for us. So we flew through there. One airport worker was there with his son getting autographs. The guys loved it. We were in the air almost immediately, and home about 1:45 a.m. We’d have been twice as long at the airport if we waited until Monday to fly home. Thankfully, the 6 p.m. local time game allowed us to get out Sunday night, instead of Monday morning.

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