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The R.S.S. Feed: Nov. 20, 2008

by Ryan Stanzel / Minnesota Wild

-- WILD TV --
Jacques takes some time to address why Brent  Burns will remain at forward for now and the thinking behind some of his lineup moves

* C. Clutterbuck
Cal explains his transition to becoming an NHL player, his favorite part of the game and what to expect tonight vs. Vancouver

-- W
Wild Radio's Kevin Falness catches up to Lemaire, M. Koivu, P. Bouchard and Vancouver's Curtis Sanford

* Bonus PONDcast (Nov. 19)
Falness flashes back to Tuesday win, then sits down with Lemaire and Erik Reitz on Wednesday

-- BLOG --
* The R.S.S. Feed
Ryan Stanzel's blog has all the usual behind-the-scenes updates, including the likely scratches and some information on tonight's opponent

All-Time Wild Record: 21-14-11
   * 12-7-4 at Xcel Energy Center
   * 9-7-7 at Vancouver

WILD CAREER LEADERS: Andrew  Brunette has notched 46 points (14-32=46) in 49 contests against Vancouver…Owen  Nolan has tallied 36 points (17-19=36) in 52 games…Marian  Gaborik has recorded 30 points (17-13=30) in 35 matches.

WILD GOALIES: Niklas  Backstrom is 7-2-3 with a 2.03 GAA, a .928 SV% and one shutout in 13 lifetime appearances versus Vancouver (11 starts)…Josh  Harding lost both starts against the Canucks last season stopping 30 of 37 shots faced for a 5.87 GAA and a .811 SV%.

CANUCKS CAREER LEADERS: Henrik Sedin has tallied 30 points (5-25=30) in 45 games against Minnesota…Daniel Sedin has recorded 28 points (10-18=28) in 43 contests…Pavol Demitra has scored 10 points (5-5=10) in 14 games.

CANUCKS GOALIES: Roberto Luongo is 7-11-4 with a 2.80 GAA, a .898 SV% and two shutouts in 22 starts against Minnesota…Curtis Sanford is 3-2-0 with a 2.63 GAA, a .905 SV% and one shutout seven appearances against the Wild.

CONNECTIONS: Willie Mitchell appeared in 288 games with Minnesota (2001-06)…Pavol Demitra skated with the Wild the last two seasons (2006-08).
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Nov. 20, 2008

Post-Game Wrapup
The Wild appeared to have the Canucks in a good spot - playing backup goalie Curtis Sanford, with Vancouver having flown halfway across the country after defeating the Rangers 6-3 last night. But Vancouver had other plans. The Wild did a great job on the Sedin/Sedin/Demitra line all night, except for Daniel's game-winner.

Jacques Lemaire said he didn't feel his team had enough legs, and he had "six or seven" guys who didn't have their strongest game. Vancouver now with a three-point lead, although the Wild has three games in hand. And it's way too early to be talking about games in hand.

Post-game notes are below. The Wild skate Friday in advance of Saturday's game against St. Louis. The Blues are at home Friday. For the third straight home game, the Wild will be facing a team that played the night before.

LW Daniel Sedin snapped a tie with 8:19 left in regulation, former Wild RW Pavol Demitra added a goal and an assist and G Curtis Sanford made 28 saves, as the Vancouver Canucks defeated the Minnesota Wild 3-2, in front of 18,568 at Xcel Energy Center. RW Steve Bernier also scored for Vancouver, which took a three-point lead over the second-place Wild.

C Mikko Koivu scored twice and G Niklas Backstrom made 24 saves for Minnesota, which lost for the first time in four games to begin a five-game homestand. The Wild has three games in hand on the Canucks.

G Niklas Backstrom lost at home for the first time in 15 decisions (11-1-3) dating back to March 4, 2008. He fell to 40-9-10 all-time at Xcel Energy Center, and allowed more than two goals for just the 18th time in 57 starts.

In 24 career home decisions against Northwest Division foes, G Niklas Backstrom suffered just his second regulation loss (17-2-5). The other came Feb. 24, 2008, a 2-1 loss to Calgary.

C Mikko Koivu recorded his fourth career two-goal game and now has five goals this season. The Wild lost for the first time this season (8-1-0) when Koivu has at least one point. Minnesota fell to 17-4-3 since Dec. 7, 2006, when Koivu scores a goal. Koivu has a goal in back-to-back games for the first time since Feb. 29-March 6, 2008. The Wild is now 19-5-3 when Koivu has two or more points. Koivu also notched his third career short-handed goal – first since Dec. 23, 2006, against Detroit.

The Wild dropped to 5-2-1 in the last eight overall meetings with the Canucks, and 6-2-2 in the last 10 home contests.

Minnesota fell to 1-3-1 when allowing three or more goals. The Wild is 10-2-0 when yielding two or less.

Former Wild RW Pavol Demitra scored a goal for the Canucks, just the second power-play goal against the Wild at Xcel Energy Center this season. It marked the first 5-on-4 goal versus the Wild at home, as Montreal scored on a 5-on-3 Oct. 30. The Canucks, who went 1-for-5 versus the Wild Nov. 8 in Vancouver, became the first team to score more than one power-play goal this season against the Wild, which has allowed only five all season.

Vancouver scored a pair of second period goals. The Wild had outscored its opponents 9-1 in the second period at home this season. It also marked the first time since Oct. 29 in Dallas that Minnesota allowed two goals in a period. The Wild went the next 27 periods allowing zero or one goal.

Vancouver is 5-0-1 against the Northwest Division – the lone team in the Northwest without a regulation loss versus the division. Minnesota is 1-2-0.

3rd period

Back underway, and the Wild with a golden chance early. Marek Zidlicky fires from the right point, and Eric Belanger redirects the puck at Sanford's left pad.


Vancouver back on the power play. Nick Schultz to the box for tripping. Referee Dean Morton doing the game tonight with veteran Kerry Fraser. Morton called many a Houston Aeros game in my day.


Niklas Backstrom with some good stops on that power play. But the Canucks with a bit of momentum, helped by that two minutes. The ice appears to be slanted a bit to the right.

This isn't good. Daniel Sedin takes a nice feed in the left circle and buries it into the far corner for his eighth goal of the season. It's 3-2 Canucks. And time is not the Wild's friend right now. I've got to get back to post-game notes.


Some good post-game notes, unfortunately not a lot of good ones for the Wild.'s Jamie MacDonald notes there hasn't been a shot on goal since Sedin's go-ahead goal.


Eric Belanger breaks in on a 3-on-2 from the left circle and gets a shot on net. Sanford again bobbles the shot, but the rebound is cleared out of harm's way.

End 3rd period

The Wild with a good late rush, including 6.8 seconds of 6-on-4 time, but no equalizer.

2nd period

The Canucks control the faceoff to begin the second.


Cal Clutterbuck with two more awesome chances. Sanford stops his redirection in front, and then a rebound attempt. The Clutterbuck/Pouliot/Boogaard line is all over the Canucks.

It's 1-0 Wild on one that Curtis Sanford wishes he had back. Mikko Koivu winds and fires from the left circle ,and the puck gets a piece of Sanford and then goes into the net. It's Koivu's fourth of the season - second in his last two games. And replays show us the puck skirted in between Sanford's left arm and his body. Antti Miettinen and Stephane Veilleux with the assists.


Vancouver's Mason Raymond gets loose on a 2-on-1 from the right circle but fires a shot wide. And then the Canucks get whistled for too many men on the ice.


Niklas Backstrom stops a shorthanded 2-on-1 chance.


Sanford is trying to atone for the last goal. He stops Eric Belanger's tip shot as the power play expires, and Owen Nolan gets crushed as he tries to poke the puck inside the right post. Sanford makes the toe save.

Getting a head start on some post-game notes. Did you know the Wild is 17-3-3 since Dec. 7, 2006, when Koivu scores a goal? This marks the first time he has scored a goal in back-to-back games since Feb. 29-March 6, 2008. Wild outshooting the Canucks 20-14.

And the score is tied 1-1. A crush of bodies in front, and a bouncing puck led to this one. Erik Reitz blocked a point shot, but Steve Bernier hopped on the rebound and popped it home for his fifth of the season - just the second, second period goal allowed by the Wild at home this season.


Erik Reitz goes for tripping, and the Wild's top-ranked PK unit is back at it. The Canucks are 29th on the road (73.7 percent).

The Wild had been so good penalty killing, but had yet to score a shorthanded goal - until now. Mikko Koivu gets so far ahead of the pack that he has to wait for the puck, then breaks in and snaps a shot by Sanford for his fifth of the season - second of the night. It also marks Koivu's third career shorthanded goal.


It won't get any easier with Kim Johnsson in the box for tripping. Forty seconds of a 5-on-3. The only power play goal by an opponent in this building came on a two-man advantage, against Montreal.

The Wild kill off the Reitz minor, but Vancouver becomes the first team to solve the Wild's PK unit at home on a one-man advantage of the season. Former Wild forward Pavol Demitra gets credit for the goal, which was banked in off Backstrom's knee. It's 2-2 late in the second. Another barnburner at Xcel Energy Center. Demitra was greeted with a chorus of boos when the goal was announced.

End 2nd period

And we're going to catch our breath. That was quite a period of hockey, especially the last 10 minutes. Lots of stuff for post-game notes so far!

And we're under way. Koivu wins the draw from Henrik Sedin.

First shot on goal of the game goes to James Sheppard, whose shot from left circle hits Curtis Sanford in the chest.


After all the love we gave Pat O'Connor, director/producer for Wild games on Channel 45, we have to question his judgement for putting Wild radio's Kevin Falness on the pre-game show. Canucks with their first shot, through a screen by Shane O'Brien (who had five minors last night against the Rangers).


After the Wild get a shot from Mikko Koivu on a 3-on-2, Koivu muscles former teammate Pavol Demitra to the ground behind the net.

Brent Burns with a good chance from the right circle, but Sanford is again there.

The first good chance for the Canucks, as former Wild farmhand (and Houston Aero) Lawrence Nycholat fires through traffic from the right point. Niklas Backstrom makes the save but lets a rebound out in front. Marc-Andre Bergeron uses his skate to glide the puck back to Backstrom, and we have our first TV timeout.


Cal Clutterbuck leads the Northwest Division with 51 hits, and I think he may have gotten a body on each of the five Canucks on the ice during that shift.

Bad angle shot from the right side by Pavol Demitra, but Backstrom makes a shoulder save.


Shane O'Brien's first penalty of tonight will be of the major penalty, and there may be more coming. Erik Reitz hit Kyle Wellwood into the boards along the Wild bench. Reitz was originally accosted by Taylor Pyatt, but then O'Brien skated across the ice, slashed Reitz' stick, and the pair fought at center ice. Correctly so, O'Brien gets an extra minor for slashing.

The power play struggles out of the gate, but gets a good chance when Antti Miettinen redirects Brent Burns' point pass (you've seen this play before) on net. Sanford makes the save. Seconds later, Brent Burns overskates a puck in the right circle.


Benoit Pouliot has a splendid chance from the right circle but somehow slid the puck between the goalie and the near post, and slid the puck wide of the other post.


Cal Clutterbuck nearly gets his first NHL goal on an "oops" play. He fires from the left circle and the puck appears to go through Sanford's glove (although I paid just enough attention in physics class to know this isn't possible) and just wide of the right post.

The Wild's top-ranked penalty kill unit will get its first chance, as Marek Zidlicky (one of their top PK defensemen) goes for holding Steve Bernier. Minnesota has allowed only one power play goal at home all season. The Sedin Brothers on the attack. The Canucks have one of the four power play goals versus the Wild this season.


Martin Skoula helps save a goal with a nice block in front of the net. The Canucks are swarming, but so far the PK and Backstrom has held up. The Wild with a good shorthanded chance too by Mikko Koivu.

End 1st period
A scoreless first period that was essentially even all the way around. Shots 8-7 Wild. Each team 0-for-1 on the power play. And we've got some Wild Mitey Mites from White Bear Lake on the ice for the first intermission.

Pre-game warmups

No major drama in pre-game warm-ups. Curtis Sanford was out first for Vancouver, meaning he will indeed get his second start of the season. The Wild scratches will be Tomas Mojzis, Craig Weller and Colton Gillies. I'll be back for the puck drop.

Sami Salo, Mike Brown and Nolam Baumgartner (recalled today from AHL Manitoba) are out for the Canucks.

4:30 p.m. CST
It was a busy day around the Wild offices. We took our department photo at 4. Last year, we took it in the main seating bowl. This year, we took it by the Herb Brooks statue. They’re saying it’s going to be the coldest night in Minnesota so far this “fall,” and I believe them. Alain Vigneault, the Canucks’ coach, I’m sure had a nice chuckle as he walked by us. Vigneault spent some time in “Winterpeg” as I like to call it (Winnipeg), so today is a nice summer day for him.

Also, some big news out of Wild employee hockey earlier today. Robert, our trusty intern, is facing some disciplinary action for a big hit on Katie, who works in the marketing department. Katie played college hockey, but wasn’t quite ready for the 6-foot-3 hit put on her. She’s day-to-day with an upper body injury. Robert the same, but with a lower body injury. Oh, and they were on the same team.

Here’s hoping for better coordination for the Wild tonight. I’m off for dinner, I’ll be back in a bit.

11:45 a.m. CST

Before I forget, a big congratulations to former Wild player Cam Stewart on his recent nuptials.

I’m back from the optional morning skate, where everyone but Owen Nolan participated. Josh Harding was back on the ice, and we’re awaiting word on a roster move. If Nolan Schaefer stays to back up Niklas Backstrom tonight, a roster move has to be made. Stay tuned to for that news.

Jacques Lemaire talked this morning about having to slow down the Canucks’ speed, which showed its form in a 6-3 win over the Rangers last night. The Wild Head Coach also mentioned how important video is in today’s game. Paraphrasing here, but he said: “Can you imagine having to face the Sedin brothers without having video of them and all the little things they do?” Scary indeed. (For the non-paraphrased version, check out Wild TV.)

The last three guys off the ice for the Wild were Tomas Mojzis, Colton Gillies and Craig Weller.

Vancouver arrived in St. Paul around 2:30 a.m., and only three players and a goalie were expected to skate this morning. All reports out of Vancouver media outlets in the last two days were that Roberto Luongo would rest tonight in favor of Curtis Sanford. However, there has also been some conjecture that Luongo would still play, based on how important the two points are against the Wild. We were also without the Vancouver beat writers, who were en route on a commercial flight from New York.

Tonight’s game is on KSTC-TV, so it was nice to see producer/director Pat O’Connor downstairs. Pat was handing out gift certificates for interviews guys have done on the broadcast, so he was even more popular than usual. Pat is popular with Aaron Sickman and me this morning because, to date, he hasn’t asked us for anything for tonight’s broadcast.

For the rest of the day …

Robert our intern is in the press box making copies of notes and stats for tonight’s game. I think he’ll also participate in employee hockey, which happens at 1 p.m. on all weekday game days. I’m going to have a quick lunch and get to work on setting up notes for Saturday, when St. Louis makes its first of two visits in the next two weeks.

I’ll be back from the press box prior to tonight’s game, and sooner if any important news breaks.

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