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Nov. 13, 2008Post-Game Notes
So, Marek Zidlicky adds a second goal (and third point) to make it 4-0 late, and the Wild plays arguably its best overall game of the season. Post-Game notes are below. Jacques Lemaire, obviously, was very pleased. Eric Belanger told reporters they made an adjustment to the power play before the game, and it obviously worked with four power play goals.
G Niklas Backstrom
made 24 saves, and D Marek Zidlicky added two goals and an assist, as the Minnesota Wild used four power-play goals to win its ninth straight against the Phoenix Coyotes, 4-0, in front of 18,568 at Xcel Energy Center. C Eric Belanger also scored and added an assist while Marc-Andre Bergeron supplied three assists for Minnesota, which began a stretch of 10 of 12 games at home. The Wild hosts Columbus on Saturday at 7 p.m.
The Wild’s victory tonight marked the team’s ninth straight victory over Phoenix. The last time the Coyotes beat Minnesota was November 14, 2006 at Jobing.com Arena. That ties the Wild’s longest winning streak against one team, having defeated Chicago nine straight meetings from Jan. 20, 2006-Jan. 11, 2008.
G Niklas Backstrom
improved to 8-0-0 against the Coyotes, his second best record against any team. He is 9-0-0 versus Edmonton. Tonight also marked his third career shutout against Phoenix, tying his total versus the Oilers. Backstrom is 8-0-0 with a 1.13 GAA and a .962 save pct. versus the Coyotes. At Xcel Energy Center against Phoenix, Backstrom improved to 4-0-0 with a 0.75 GAA and a .972 save pct. Tonight, marked his ninth career shutout at Xcel Energy Center – two off Dwayne Roloson’s team record.
Minnesota went 4-for-7 on the power play (57.1 percent), after going just 5-for-43 (11.6 percent) in the previous 10 games, and 1-for-21 (4.8 percent) in the last five contests. Tonight is just the seventh time in team history the Wild have scored at least four power-play goals. The Wild record for PPG in a game is five (2/7/06 vs LA and 10/7/06 vs Nashville).
D Marek Zidlicky notched his third career two-goal game and first since February 11, 2006 vs. Columbus. Zidlicky also added an assist, tying a franchise record for points in a game by a defenseman done on eight other occasions, last by Brent Burns, who tallied three assists vs. Dallas on January 3, 2008.
C Eric Belanger added a goal and an assist, his first multi-point game since scoring two goals in the season opener Oct. 11.
D Marc-Andre Bergeron registered a career high three-assists.
LW Andrew Brunette scored his sixth goal of the season and his 31st all-time goal at Xcel Energy Center, tying Antti Laaksonen for fifth place on the all-time list.
With two goals in the second period tonight, the Wild has outscored its opponents 15-7 in the second period this season.
A two-goal lead to protect for the Wild, with another 30 seconds on this Coyotes power play and another 20 minutes to play from Xcel Energy Center. Meanwhile, I'm hard at work on post-game notes.
draws a penalty on the Coyotes, as Bloomington native Peter Mueller goes off for interference.
The Wild cashed in on that last power play, with Eric Belanger scoring. And now I'm frantically working on some good post-game notes. It's 3-0 Wild.
Minnesota gets whistled for too many men on the ice. The Wild perfect on the PK so far, and Niklas Backstrom
has been perfect on everything. The Coyotes' sixth power play of the game.
We're underway here in the second, with the Wild moving left to right against Ilya Bryzgalov. The hard-charging Wild "outhit" the Coyotoes 10-2 in the first period, including three hits by Brent Burns and two by Cal Clutterbuck
Owen Nolan lets loose from the right circle, and Bryzgalov again makes a nice save, but one that has him looking behind afterwards. This Koivu/Nolan/Bouchard line makes it seem like every shift is a power play, even if it's not.
More good pressure from the Wild leads to its second power play of the game, as Keith Yandle gets whistled for holding. Speaking of referees, former NHL ref Mick McGeough is in the press box.
It's a 5-on-3 after a slashing call to Garth Murray. Eighty seconds of two-man advantage for the Wild. Koivu/Brunette/Miettinen reunited up front.
16:32It's been quite the day for Marek Zidlicky. First, his lost luggage was found, and now he has his first goal with the Wild. Zidlicky, in the high slot, takes a pass from Marc-Andre Bergeron and one times the puck past a screened Bryzgalov. It's Zidlicky's first goal in 28 regular season games, dating back to Feb. 21, 2008, against Vancouver.
Backstrom is tested with Minnesota still on the power play, as Daniel Winnick was all alone in front for a shot at a bouncing puck. But Backstrom makes his seventh save of the game.
Phoenix back on the power play, its third, with Erik Reitz in the box. Both teams get a break with the TV timeout.
Olli Jokinen turns and fires from the left circle, but Backstrom, as is most often the case, is in perfect position.
Referee Justin St. Pierre calls Mikko Koivu
for hooking (it was more of a trip), and the Coyotes on power play No. 4. And the Wild without a top penalty killer for the next two minutes.
The Coyotes are held off the board, and a good chance by Kyle Turris right after the power play expired. But Backstrom snare's Turris' shot from the left circle.
That's 2-0 Wild, with another power play goal. Andrew Brunette gets loose in the left circle and pops a Marek Zidlicky pass by Ilya Bryzgalov for his sixth goal of the season. Eric Belanger also picks up an assist.
Zidlicky has a bomb. Scoring his second of the season and of the night, Zidlicky hammers a one-timer from the point on the power play.
Quite a return home, eh? Minnesota opens its generous home run with a shutout.
And the period ends with most of Phoenix' fifth power play expired. They'll get another 30 seconds to begin the third. Eric Belanger actually with the best chance, but Bryzgalov stopped his shorthanded breakaway.
We're underway, with the Wild registering the only two shots of the night so far.
We're almost six minutes in, and Phoenix still looking for its first shot. Andrew Brunette had a deflection go just wide a moment ago.
Olli Jokinen goes off for hooking, leading to the Wild's first power play of the night.
The Wild's first power play unit (forwards of Koivu/Nolan/Bouchard) with some great passing and good chances at the net, including a Nolan tip just wide. The second group (Brunette/Pouliot/Miettinen) failed to maintain any serious pressure in the Coyotes zone.
The Wild still all over the Coyotes, but as of yet not able to solve Ilya Bryzgalov. Minnesota is currently outshooting Phoenix 10-3.
Antti Miettinen goes off for holding, and Minnesota's top-ranked PK unit (92.5 percent overall, 93.8 percent at home) is out for the first time. Phoenix is 24th in the NHL on the man advantage (18.4 percent).
A great chance for the Wild, after Brent Burns (playing forward) keeps the puck in at the right point with a baseball type swing. Andrew Brunette feeds Eric Belanger, who redirects the pass on net. Bryzgalov squeezed it between the pads, but not before he looked behind himself.
The Wild back on the penalty kill as Cal Clutterbuck
gets whistled for hooking.
Nice pokecheck by Marek Zidlicky late on that Phoenix power play. No score after one. Shots are 13-5 in favor of Minnesota.
It is Bryzgalov versus Backstrom. Someone on the Coyotes blasted a pane of glass behind the net during warm-ups. The ice crew has replaced it, and the zamboni is about to hit the ice.
Back from an awesome press meal. And I may not move for awhile. I'm even holding onto my "brownie cake" (it's hard to explain, but it has marshmallows and caramel on it too) for the first intermission. Or maybe later.
One of our two elevators up here to the press box is broken right now. We're still using it primarily as the media elevator, but with handicapped accessible seating on the 200 level, etc., it will be an interesting night.
Nov. 13, 2008
Phoenix at Minnesota
7 p.m. CDT
Local home TV Information
FS North (HD)
The Wild's head coach enters an intriguing discussion as to why goals are so difficult to come by these days
-- WILD RADIO --
* PONDcast preview
-- BLOG --
* The R.S.S. Feed
Ryan Stanzel's blog has all the usual behind-the-scenes updates
-- NEWS --
* Press Release
RW Owen Nolan has been activated off the IR and C Krys Kolanos has been reassigned to Houston (AHL).
-- MIKE GREENLAY'S --
-- KEYS TO THE GAME --
1) Biscuit in the Basket - The Wild is coming off a game where they were shutout and need to find the net again.
2) Power Outage - A good place for the Wild to start the scoring back up would be the power play. It has struggled over the last five games.
3) Phoenix Rising - The Wild beat the Coyotes, 3-2 this year, but Phoenix is on a three game win streak with victories over Florida, San Jose and
a road win in Columbus.
I didn't get to e-mails during the day, as I spent quite a bit of time on the phone with US Airways today trying to get Marek Zidlicky's luggage back. It arrives tonight at 9 p.m. from Phoenix, and they are supposed to call me when it arrives to arrange delivery.
I also got a DVD of the Schultz family appearance on Twin Cities Live yesterday. You can view the video here: http://twincitieslive.com/article/stories/S658423.shtml?cat=10743
It appears as though Tomas Mojzis, Craig Weller and Colton Gillies are out tonight. It will be interesting to see if Phoenix starts Ilya Bryzgalov (0-5 in the regular season against the Wild) or back-up Mikael Tellqvist, with Bryzgalov having played last night.
I'll be back around gametime.
I’m ready for a home game, how about you, State of Hockey and beyond? Personally, I have spent 23 of 52 days/nights on the road since training camp opened Sept. 19 and through last Sunday’s flight home from Vancouver. Players and coaches can add another four days on the road to that total, so more than half their lives in the past two months have been spent in hotels.
That ends now, as the Wild plays 10 of its next 12 games at home, beginning tonight against the Phoenix Coyotes, who blasted Columbus (Minnesota’s next opponent), 5-2, last night in Ohio.
I’m back upstairs from practice and just sent out the press release
notifying the media that Owen Nolan has been activated off Injured Reserve, while Krys Kolanos will join the Houston Aeros in Cleveland to finish their road trip. Jacques Lemaire said Nolan isn’t quite in game shape yet, but the only way to get him to gameshape is to play him. Nolan has been on a line with Mikko Koivu
and Pierre-Marc Bouchard
The three guys skating the latest were Colton Gillies, Tomas Mojzis and Derek Boogaard. But Boogaard is often out late and still plays, so we’ll see if he, or another forward, is out of the lineup.
Considering no daily paper from Arizona is on this trip with the Coyotes, it was still a large media contingent this morning. Jacques Lemaire spoke at length about how good all NHL teams are now defensively, and also talked glowingly about Coyotes winger Todd Fedoruk, who of course played for the Wild last season.
It was an interesting morning, as the NHL stats program did not update stats until close to 10 a.m. We’re typically in here before 9 a.m. to start making copies, so it pushed us back a bit.
Also interesting to note is that Marek Zidlicky’s suit bag has been located – in Phoenix, Ariz., of all places. That’s not the strangest part – that is the fact it is at the US Airways baggage claim. We figured it was placed on a Northwest flight to Minneapolis out of Vancouver on Sunday morning, but somehow it wound up in Phoenix. I’ll be calling them shortly to arrange for shipment to our offices in St. Paul.
I’ll get to some e-mails later this afternoon before heading over to the arena.
And, don't forget, Wild fans, to set your TiVo before heading out to watch tonight's game. NHL Network will run "Voices: Bob Kurtz" at 6:30 central time tonight.