Nov. 15, 2008
Columbus at Minnesota
7 p.m. CST
Wild TV: Brent Burns
Wild Radio's Kevin Falness finds out that, in addition to defense and forward, Burns is also a pretty good street hockey goalie (From Nov. 14)
Wild TV: Game Preview
Hosts Dan Terhaar and Mike Greenlay preview tonights tilt with the Columbus Blue Jackets
-- WILD RADIO --
* PONDcast preview
Lots of activity for a Saturday morning in St. Paul, and, to help preview tonight's game Kevin Falness catches up with Zidlicky, Clutterbuck and Lemaire from the Wild plus Brassard and Hitchcock from the Jackets.
* BONUS PONDcast
Owner Craig Leipold takes questions from season ticket holders during a club-hosted waffle breakfast
-- MIKE GREENLAY'S --
-- KEYS TO THE GAME --
1. A Complete Game - The Wild may have just played their most complete game of the season against Phoenix. They need the same effort tonight.
2. Testing the PK - The penalty kill is No. 1 in the NHL, but it doesn't mean you have to keep testing it. Discipline will ultimately help you more.
3. Wonderful D - The Wild is No. 1 in the NHL with a 1.99 GAA -- a real compliment to everyone from the forwards to the goaltending.
A reminder for all of you who’d like to have The R.S.S. Feed (and other Wild news) sent straight to your RSS feed: Paste this URL -- http://wild.nhl.com/rss/news.xml -- into your RSS feed browser.Nov. 15, 2008
Well, what a night at Xcel. The Wild plays less than its best game, wins 3-2 in a shootout, and gets Sunday off. Jacques Lemaire knew his team didn't play very well, but was happy to get the win, and in a relatively jovial mood after the game. Lemaire credited assistant coach Mario Tremblay with the decision to send Marek Zidlicky out for the shootout.
The Burns goal is now credited, and rightfully so, to Erik Reitz, who gets his first NHL goal in his 16th NHL game. The minor league journeyman played in 363 AHL games with Houston since 2002, many of them with yours truly in attendance, so I am even more happy for the kid than the rest of the State of Hockey. He's got his puck, thanks to Brent Burns, and I was pretty satisfied to hand him his gamesheet. He was even more impressed with the 15:20 time on ice than he was the goal. He also had four hits and was the game's No. 2 star.
Before I get to post-game notes, a wrap-up from earlier today.
Typically my home game days are much like the road: pre-game skate, nice lunch and a nap. However, today I broke the routine because I needed to do some Christmas shopping. I hate shopping - and crowds - and I figured things aren't going to get any less busy headed towards the holidays.
Two funny things happened at a local mall today. First, I was walking by the electronics department of a department store. I wasn't paying too much attention, which is unusual for me near an electronics department. One of the big LCD digital picture frames was cycling through pictures, and BAM a nine-inch picture of Brent Burns appears next to me. I was freaked out.
As I'm leaving, wanting to hurry home to change and head downtown, I decide I need to try to find my car. I'm carrying a couple of loaded shopping bags, and they are oblong at best. I can't tell you what's in them, in case my mom decides to read the blog tonight. It ended up a 20-minute ordeal. After about five minutes, I walked to what I believe is my silver Mazda. Put the bags down, key in the trunk. Doesn't open it. I look down - Iowa plates - definitely not my car.
So I think where else could my car be, and look for more than 10 minutes. Wind chill in the 20's, I'm in my windbreaker. No gloves. I keep walking, back to where I saw the other silver Mazda. What do I find? My silver Mazda - right next to the one that wasn't mine.
Next home weekend game, I'm taking a nap. And R.S.S. Feed fans, I beg you...if you see a silver Mazda and you want an autograph, just make sure it's safe and you're not stopping traffic.
I'll be taking tomorrow off. Listen for Niklas Backstrom
on Sports Huddle on WCCO Radio tomorrow between 11 and 12. And here are your post-game notes.
G Niklas Backstrom
made 24 saves, including both in the shootout, D Erik Reitz scored his first NHL goal, and D Marek Zidlicky and RW Antti Miettinen scored in the shootout, as the Minnesota Wild defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets, 3-2, before 18,568 at Xcel Energy Center. C Benoit Pouliot scored in regulation for Minnesota, which has won the first two games of a stretch where it plays 10 of 12 at home. The Wild travels to Pittsburgh for a nationally televised game on VERSUS on Tuesday at 6 p.m. (ct).
G Niklas Backstrom
improved to 11-0-3 with a 1.54 GAA and a .945 save pct. in his last 14 home starts. He is 40-8-10 all-time at Xcel Energy Center. Backstrom also improved to 2-0 this season in shootouts, after going 4-10 in his first two NHL seasons.
D Erik Reitz picked up his first NHL goal and point in his 16th career game. Reitz was a sixth-round pick in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, the first draft the Wild participated in. The 26-year-old played 363 games since 2002 with the Houston Aeros of the American Hockey League.
D Erik Reitz’ goal snapped a streak of 191 minutes, 52 seconds, for the Wild since its last even strength goal, Nov. 6 in Colorado. Each of the Wild’s previous five goals had come with the man advantage.
Minnesota’s power play goal was its first against Columbus in the last six meetings, having gone 0-for-24 in the last five games versus the Blue Jackets. The Wild went 1-for-3 tonight on the man advantage. Minnesota’s penalty kill, ranked first in the NHL, was successful on its lone attempt. At home, the Wild is an NHL-best 23-for-24 (95.8 percent) on the PK.
C Benoit Pouliot scored his fifth goal of the season – one off the team lead. Pouliot scored his third goal in the last six games – including two on the power play.
The Wild improved to 2-0 in shootouts, while Columbus is 1-3. Tonight marked the Wild’s first home shootout of the season.
Ten of the 16 meetings between the teams at Xcel Energy Center have been decided by one goal.
Minnesota has won four in a row against Columbus, establishing a new franchise record for most consecutive wins versus the Blue Jackets. The previous mark was three, from Jan. 17, 2001-Jan. 18, 2002.
I know I said I'd be back post-game, but we had to record Niklas Backstrom
's dynomite save on a breakaway by Kristian Huselius, signed by Columbus from Calgary in the off-season. Great left pad save on Huselius, who wound up for a slapper from the left circle. Now, I'll be back in a half hour.
Ok one more, Marek Zidlicky saves the game, pushing a puck out of the crease after Backstrom made the save but wound up out of position.
The teams begin 4-on-4. And I made Brad Bombardir speechless (I know) during intermission. Mike Commodore, also of University of North Dakota fame, skates for Columbus. I asked Bomber what it felt like not being the best Fighting Sioux product in the building. His mouth eventually caught up with his mind, but I countered his argument with "Commodore has his own bobblehead at The Ralph gift shop," and he was silent again.
breaks into the left circle with the teams still 4-on-4, but Mason makes the save with his chest.
And the Wild takes a 2-1 lead, with Brent Burns' fourth of the season. Camped out in front of the net, Burns deflects Erik Reitz' point blast into the net, ending the Wild's span without an even strength goal at 191 minutes, 52 seconds. Andrew Brunette with the second assist. And I'm hard at work on post-game notes.
Rick Nash is one of the most explosive players in the league, and he tallies his eighth goal, a backhander in front of the net. after stealing the puck manhandling his way through traffic. It's 2-2.
Linesman Brad Lazarowich takes a tumble up and over into the Columbus bench. Play continues.
with his save of the game, robbing Kristian Huselius on a 2-on-1 after Kim Johnsson got held up along the boards.
It's a media timeout. And Kari Sickman, wife of media relations guru Aaron Sickman, e-mails to inform me that I have some serious competition, because she has her own kindergarten blog
Bring it, Mrs. Sickman.
absolutely clocks Jared Boll cleanly into the boards in the Wild zone. He may get as many text messages from that as he did from his fight with Keith Yandle the other night, and his verbal exchange with The Great One, combined.
End of regulation
We're headed to overtime, and I'm trying to multi-task with the best of them. You probably won't hear from me again until post-game. Lots of notes and potential notes, and trying to nail everything down.
No shots early on in the second, either. I stayed away from my typical first intermission snack, the pretzel, because with cheese curds, fried pickles and french fries at dinner, I just feel it's not necessary.
Backstrom makes a save on Fedor Tyutin and the puck glides about 60 feet up in the air. No truth to the rumor that MLB umpire Tim Tschida, who is in the press box tonight, yelled "infield fly."
The Wild's best chance so far in the second comes as Antti Miettinen walks into the right circle and fires on Mason, who makes the save.
Great work by both Owen Nolan and Eric Belanger lead to the Wild's second power play of the night (they're 1-for-1). Nolan created a chance from behind the net, and a driving Belanger drew a penalty by Jason Chimera.
has a wide open net on the backhand but pushes a shot high and wide. The puck was bouncing after a rocket point shot by Marek Zidlicky.
The shots 12-9 in favor of the Wild, and scoring chances are far from aplenty tonight. Minnesota has outscored its opponents 9-1 at home in the second period, but thus far tonight both teams have been held off the scoresheet.
Mike Russo of the Star Tribune just asked both John Shipley from the Pioneer Press and me if I could call Elias Sports Bureau and see if we're nearing an NHL record tonight for hand passes.
The Jackets with some good pressure, but Backstrom pokes aside Fredrik Modin's attempt from in front of the net.
Columbus with more pressure, but an offensive zone no-no, Derick Brassard called for holding. The faceoff goes all the way down to the other end, where the Wild's red-hot power play unit looks to take flight.
Andrew Brunette winds up and doesn't get all of a rebound of a Mikko Koivu
miss from the low slot.
The power play is over, as Mikko Koivu
goes for tripping deep in the Columbus zone.28.2
The 4-on-4 provides some entertaining play, and a near Wild goal. Mason kicks out Stephane Veilleux
's blast from between the circles, and the rebound comes to James Sheppard, just a bit further out. He fires through traffic, but just wide of the net.
End 2nd period
Shots 8-7 in favor of Columbus in the sceond ,and 16-12 for the Wild through 40 minutes. But for some reason, I think regulation may not settle this one.
It's been a busy afternoon and evening. More details later, including the USA Hockey press conference announcing the Qwest Tour, which will help launch the women's Team USA into the 2010 Olympics, with a pair of stops in St. Paul.
We're underway. Murray, Klesla and Norrena out for the Blue Jackets. Mojzis, Weller and Gillies are the scratches for the Wild.
Still no shots for either side.
The first media timeout has brought one shot - from a rushing Erik Reitz in the right circle.
Columbus' first shot, and it's a good one as Jiri Novotny gets wide open and fires from the left circle, but right into Niklas Backstrom
Columbus defenseman Christian Backman rings a rebound off the right post.
Things beginning to pick up, and Minnesota's James Sheppard rips a shot from the low slot just wide of the right post.
Raffi Torres is back from injury. How do we know this? He just knocked over Marek Zidlicky.
The Wild will go on the power play, as the teams see their first whistle in at least eight minutes. We get the 10-minute TV timeout with less than four minutes left in the first. Marc Methot is in the box. The Wild was 4-for-7 on the power play Thursday against Phoenix.
The Wild runs "old faithful" - Marek Zidlicky shot from the point, redirected on net by Eric Belanger. Steve Mason makes the stop, but Benoit Pouliot is at the right doorstep to knock the rebound home. It's 1-0 Minnesota.
The Blue Jackets didn't do much offensively early on, but they still get a goal late. Niklas Backstrom goes low to stop star Rick Nash, and Derrick Brassard slides the rebound through the crease. Kristian Huselius pops the puck into an open net to tie the game at 1-1.
The good news? The Wild is up 1-0. The need to work on news? The Wild has not scored an even strength goal in 170 minutes, 4 seconds, dating back to Andrew Brunette's goal with 10:04 left in 2nd period against Colorado Nov. 6. It has scored five power play goals since.
11:30 a.m. CDT
Breaking news just into the R.S.S. Feed’s offices in downtown St. Paul. The sun is shining! By my count, it’s the first sun I’ve seen since last Tuesday (11 days ago) in San Jose. It feels good even if it’s cold.
Just back upstairs from the skate. It was an optional skate, but, for the first time I believe in my 100 or so games here, everyone participated in an optional skate. Usually, you’ll have an older guy or two take the skate off, but everyone was feeling good this morning.
Afterward, Jacques Lemaire talked about trying to slow down this Columbus team, which ripped Buffalo, 6-1, last night. It’s funny, the Wild will have played the Blue Jackets four times counting tonight and the preseason. It’s almost like they’re a division rival. The last two games of the season series are in Ohio -- Jan. 10 and the last game of the season on April 11.
Things went pretty smooth this morning. FS North grabbed Marc-Andre Bergeron for a few questions and Owen Nolan will pre-tape with FS Ohio at about 5 p.m.
It appears as though the same three guys are out as last game (Weller, Mojzis and Gillies), but that’s always subject to change.
Wild owner Craig Leipold hosted 300 season ticket holders this morning for breakfast in the suite level. I didn’t get a waffle, but did get a Team of 18,000 spatula. Since our practices are almost always closed to the public, it was neat to have some atmosphere in the building.
And that’s about it. Feel free to drop an e-mail today to firstname.lastname@example.org
and I’ll get some in the blog this evening.