Sunday, 8:20 p.m. PDT
We're headed home with a win!...
But not as soon as we hoped. Our original plane was grounded due to a fuel line break. So they sent another plane, but it didn't take off until 7:30 Minnesota time. So we're expecting it on the ground here at 9:30 PDT. They'll need about 30 minutes to refuel, load catering, etc.
We have our appetizers and sandwiches set out at the "FBO" (airport hangar) and, let's just say, send good thoughts our way. I'd say we'll be in no earlier than 3:30 a.m.
I admit, I watched maybe 10 minutes of the game. I was on the phone with the airline people, caterers, bus drivers, everyone. Thankfully, Robert, our intern, was out here visiting family and helped me out of several jams by helping coordinate the interviews outside the locker room while I dealt with travel drama.
Funniest moment, maybe of the year, to me...You'll remember two months ago, John Scott didn't know we were leaving Boston after our game there, so he left his bags at the hotel. Stephane Veilleux
, who had been sick, brought them with him commercially the next day.
Scott got to the hotel around noon today, but he definitely checked his itinerary. Then he decided to have some fun with me. He said, "Hey, Stanzy, what time is the bus to the airport tomorrow morning?" Then he smiled ... after my heart skipped a beat. Just another reason to love hockey players.
We're all anxious to get home to see friends, family and loved ones. We'd love to not have the delay, but what can you do. The joke is whether we'll beat Robert and the Star Tribune's Mike Russo (both on the same 12:20 a.m. redeye) back home. Gosh, I hope so.
You won't find me anywhere near the office, the rink, or my phone tomorrow. Thanks for letting me give you the play-by-play for the last 11 days. No road trips for me for almost two weeks. Talk to everyone Tuesday.
Dealing with some work related issues. But some noise here at Honda Center. Clutterbuck with an open ice hit on Cory Perry. Chris Pronger jumped Clutterbuck after the hit, dropped the gloves and will draw the lone penalty. A Wild power play is forthcoming.
The Ducks even things up with Todd Marchant's fourth goal - this one shorthanded. Backstrom was setting up the puck for Marc-Andre Bergeron, who overskated it. Marchant took the puck and wrapped it into the net before Backstrom and a backchecking Koivu could recover. Game tied 1-1.
The pomp and circumstance with Pronger's 1,000th game ceremony is over with (nice Rolex he got, though), and we're underway. Miettinen/Koivu/Nolan up front for the Wild, with Zidlicky and Skoula on the blueline. Brown/Marchant/R. Niedermayer for the Ducks, who start Jonas Hiller in goal.
What a start for the Wild! The checking line with great pressure. Nick Schultz skates low into the left circle and has his shot blocked by Pronger. Schultz takes another whack at it, and James Sheppard directs it into the net for his fifth goal of the season. Cal Clutterbuck with the second assist. It's 1-0 Wild. They say the goal goes to Veilleux, we will have to get a look at that on the replay.
Clutterbuck got in the Ducks' minds last time these teams met, and it's no different early on today. He smashes Todd Marchant (legal hit) into the Wild boards. George Parros chases him around. Ryan Carter took a run at him after the whistle too.
The Wild is all over the Ducks, outshooting them 7-1 in the early going.
A spectacular passing play by the Ducks, and Bobby Ryan nearly finishes, but pops the puck over an open net.
admitted he wasn't on his best last night, but he's been stellar thus far in this one. The Ducks have gotten the last five shots, and he downright stoned 20-goal getter Ryan Getzlaf's rebound attempt after Scott Niedermayer's shot was blocked in front.
Another one by Backstrom, after a nifty move by Calder Cophy candidate Bobby Ryan springs Andrew Ebbett alone down the left wing side.
The Ducks continue to be all over the Wild, getting the last eight shots now. Corey Perry redirected a shot on net, but Backstrom stood his ground and made a nice save.
Newcomer James Wisniewski clips Eric Belanger with a high stick, and the Wild gets the game's first power play, looking for a two-goal edge.
And we're evened-up, after an interference call to Belanger.
End of 1st period
The Wild ended the first period up 1-0, and that goal was indeed Stephane Veilleux
's. It's his ninth goal of the season, and second in as many days. Veilleux was an intermission guest with FS North.
Pre-game warm-upsNiklas Backstrom
is in net for the Wild, which will scratch Colton Gillies, Derek Boogaard, Kurtis Foster
and Brent Burns. John Scott will appear in his first Wild game since mid January. The press box announcer just announced Weller as a scratch, but he isn't. He's in.
The Ducks will honor Chris Pronger for his 1,000th NHL game tonight. It happened in February. The Wild will try to keep both Pronger (two points from 600) and Teemu Selanne (two points from 1,200) from reaching big milestones tonight.
And have I mentioned, we're coming home tonight?
Sunday, 9:30 a.m. PDT
Headed back to the hotel after watching Weller, Boogaard, Foster, Sheppard and Olvecky skate, along with Niklas Backstrom
. No official word on who is tonight's starting goalie, but Backstrom on the ice taking shots could be a clue.
We'll have a team meal today at 11 a.m. -- an hour earlier than usual, due to the 5 p.m. local start.
John Scott is en route to join us. He arrives at Orange County at 10:45.
I'll talk to everyone from Honda Center. It's always a nice thing when you realize you are wearing your last clean shirt, because it (hopefully) means you're going home today.