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The R.S.S. Feed: Nov. 22, 2008

by Ryan Stanzel / Minnesota Wild

RADIO NOTE: Tonight's game will be broadcast on:

BOB FM ... 106.1
KBGY-FM ... 107.5

-- W
Jacques takes some time to address the Wild's play as a team

* James & John Sheppard
James' dad and sister drove the young forward's car 2,400 miles from Nova Scotia to the Twin Cities, which, says John, has been a nice experience

-- W
* PONDcast preview
Wild Radio's Kevin Falness sits down with Lemaire and others on gameday

* Bonus PONDcast (Nov. 20)
Falness' friday effort addresses line combinations and more

-- BLOG --
* The R.S.S. Feed
Ryan Stanzel's blog has all the usual behind-the-scenes updates, including who skated and who didn't this a.m.

-- WILD vs. ST. LOUIS --
All-Time Wild Record: 14-6-8
     8-2-4 at Xcel Energy Center
     6-4-4 at St. Louis

2007-08 Wild Record: 3-1-0 (1-1-0 at Xcel Energy Center, 2-0-0 at St. Louis)

WILD CAREER LEADERS: Owen Nolan has tallied 32 points (14-18=32) in 43 matches against St. Louis…Marian Gaborik has scored 30 points (12-18=30) in 27 games…Andrew Brunette owns 25 points (5-20=25) in 35 contests…Pierre-Marc Bouchard has notched 12 points (6-6=12) in 17 games.

WILD GOALIES: Niklas Backstrom is 3-1-0 with a 2.43 GAA and a .908 SV% in four starts against St. Louis…Josh Harding is 3-1-0 with a 2.03 GAA and a .920 SV% in five games (four starts) against the Blues.

BLUES CAREER LEADERS: Paul Kariya has recorded 17 points (8-9=17) in 25 games against Minnesota…Andy McDonald has tallied 11 points (4-7=11) in 21 contests…Keith Tkachuk has notched 10 points (5-5=10) in 19 games.

BLUES GOALIES: Manny Legace is 9-4-2 with a 2.63 GAA and a .891 SV% in 15 matches (14 starts) against the Wild…Chris Mason is 1-2-2 with a 4.27 GAA and a .857 SV% in five starts against Minnesota.

CONNECTIONS: David Backes (Minneapolis), Dan Hinote (Elk River) and Erik Johnson (Bloomington) are Minnesota natives.
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Nov. 22, 2008

Post-Game Wrap-up
The Wild with a great third period, according to Jacques Lemaire, but they just couldn't get the equalizer late. Wild will skate tomorrow at noon, with Aaron Sickman attending. I'll be back Monday prior to Wild/Capitals.

Post-game notes are below.

RW Brad Boyes scored twice and G Chris Mason made 31 saves, as the St. Louis Blues edged the Minnesota Wild, 2-1, in front of 18,568 at Xcel Energy Center. LW Stephane Veilleux scored a goal and G Niklas Backstrom made 24 saves for Minnesota, which has lost the first two games of a five-game homestand that continues Monday against Washington at 7 p.m. That game is televised nationally on VERSUS.

LW Stephane Veilleux scored his second goal of the season while playing in his 298th NHL game – all with the Wild. He’ll become just the eighth player in team history to play in 300 games.

In each of the last four games, the Wild has allowed a goal within two minutes of scoring. Tonight, the Blues answered back 46 seconds after Minnesota’s first goal. The Wild has yielded a goal within two minutes of scoring six times this season – but four times in the last four games.

The Wild has lost back-to-back home games in regulation for the first time since Nov. 21-23, 2007. That’s one off the team record of three, set Nov. 22-28, 2003 and matched Jan. 9-16, 2006. The Wild has lost back-to-back one-goal games in regulation at home for the first time since March 14 (2-1 to Edmonton) and March 19 (3-2 to Calgary), 2006.

Despite allowing two or fewer goals for the 40th time in 58 home starts, G Niklas Backstrom has lost back-to-back home starts in regulation for just the second time in his career, the other coming Dec. 5-27, 2007. Backstrom fell to 40-10-10 all-time at Xcel Energy Center.

Minnesota has played four straight one-goal games (2-2-0).

The Wild allowed a pair of second period goals for the second straight game. In Minnesota’s first seven home games, it yielded just one goal in the middle stanza.

Minnesota lost at home in regulation for just the third time in 15 attempts (8-3-5) against St. Louis.

LW Stephane Veilleux scored 1:54 into the second period. That was the Wild’s first goal scored by a player other than C Mikko Koivu in 170:06. It marked the Wild’s first goal scored by a Wild forward other than Koivu in 194:18, and was the Wild’s first even-strength goal by a forward in 361:58 dating back to Nov. 6.

Tonight marked the fifth time this season Minnesota's opponents are playing the second game of a back-to-back. The Wild fell to 3-2-0, but with back-to-back losses.

3rd period

Avid RSS Feed reader Andrew Ferraro from Houston, Texas, writes in to tell us that Florida is defeating Augusta 11-0 tonight in ECHL play. Future Wild G Anton Khudobin has had to make just 20 saves and is nearing a shutout. Update: It's now 12-0. And I don't want to count up the PIM, but you can yourself here. Lots of good fights. Augusta goalie Mike (no relation) Brodeur has been kicked out, likely just wanting to get out of dodge.


Koivu vs. Tkachuk for the opening faceoff of the third, won by Tkachuk. Forgot to mention, we are sans one elevator tonight, again. We hope it will be fixed by Monday's game. It'll make it a bit more difficult getting everyone downstairs right away, but we have some dedicated elevator runs for the press to get them down there.


The Boogeyman with a crushing hit in the Wild zone, but he goes for boarding. Cal Clutterbuck starts mixing it up with Cam Paddock, and Boogaard has words with Cam Janssen on his way to the box. Big PK here for the Wild, 1-for-2 on the PK tonight.


Brad Boyes bids for the hat trick in a big way, but fires wide right from the left circle.


James Sheppard robbed of his first goal of the season after a great hesitation, then speed move down the right side. Created himself a mini breakaway, but Chris Mason did the splits to make the save.


We've gone forever without a stoppage. At least since before the Sheppard attempt. The Wild getting some good shots, like that one by Mikko Koivu, which was blocked by a defenseman.


It'll be a 6-on-4 for the final 72 seconds, as David Backes absolutely crushes Brent Burns into the boards behind Chris Mason. It's a five-minute major plus a game misconduct. Let's hope the Wild makes him pay. Jacques Lemaire calls timeout. It's just 5-on-4 to start out, Niklas Backstrom is still in net.

End Game

The rally falls short. Mikko Koivu pushed a shot just wide of the far post with 20 ticks left, and Marek Zidlicky shot just wide of the near post with nine seconds remaining. Owen Nolan had a great tip of a Zidlicky blast with 1.5 seconds left, but it was right on Mason. Final 2-1 Blues. I'll be back in a bit.

2nd period
Well that didn't take the Wild long to break on top in the second period. Erik Reitz feeds James Sheppard at the right point, and Sheppard touches the puck to Stephane Veilleux, who flies through the right circle and geats Mason inside the far post for his second of the season for a 1-0 lead. Erik Reitz with the assist - his first NHL helper.

And it didn't take long for the Blues to answer back. Niklas Backstrom makes a stop on Keith Tkachuk in transition, but Brad Boyes gets loose for the rebound and pops it by a prone Backstrom for his ninth of the season.


Brent Burns appeared to put the Wild back on top, but his breakaway attempt apparently goes off the crossbar. I wouldn't be surprised if they had a look at this in the NHL war room at the next stoppage in play.


The shot for sure hit the crossbar. And Lee Stempniak goes off for cross checking setting up the WIld's fourth power play. Incidentally, among the seemingly millions of Iowa Hawkeye fans I saw at MOA today...were two Blues fans, one wearing a Lee Stempniak jersey. The other jersey was Brad Boyes, the Blues' goal scorer tonight.


Another pipe for the Wild, as Mason gets lucky after getting beat on Marc-Andre Bergeron's right point blast. Seconds later, Owen Nolan redirects a Mikko Koivu pass on Mason, who makes the save.


Backstrom is dynomite, making a stop on Keith Tkatchuk on a 2-on-1. Bergeron went for a big hit at the blueline - and connected - but the Blues had numbers coming back into the Wild zone.


Minor penalty to Erik Reitz, putting the Blues on the power play for the first time tonight. Despite giving up a goal Thursday against Vancouver, the Wild still has the to penalty killing unit in the NHL.

Brad Boyes gets his second of the night, as he splits defenders in the left circle and knifes in on Backstrom, unleashing a high shot, glove side, for his second of the night and 10th of the season. It's 2-1 St. Louis.


St. Louis continues to pour on the pressure, hitting a post before Backstrom had to make two good saves on bouncing pucks. This period can't end soon enough for the Wild.


A good note from media relations head guru (and part-time blogger Aaron Sickman): In each of the last four games, the Wild has allowed a goal within two minutes of scoring one. Tonight, the Blues answered back 46 seconds after Minnesota’s first goal. The Wild has yielded a goal within two minutes of scoring one six times this season – but four times in the last four games.

End 2nd period

A much better last few minutes out of the Wild, but they still trail after two. It's the Wild's second time trailing after two periods at home this season. Montreal led 2-1 on Oct. 30, and eventually  won 2-1 in a game that saw the Wild go 0-for-10 on the power play. The Wild is 0-for-4 tonight.

1st period

The reining Miss Minnesota (click here for more info, I'm not sure I can spell Kaylee's last name) rings in the night with Let's Play Hockey, and we're about to get underway. Scratches for the Blues are Patrik Berglund and Steve Wagner. Craig Weller, Tomas Mojzis and Colton Gillies out for the Wild.


The Wild get a power play with a minor to Keith Tkachuk, and Owen Nolan nearly scored with Backstrom off for the delayed penalty. The Wild held play for a good 40 seconds. Power play beginning.


Some good chances, but no goals, but the Wild goes right back on the power play. Barret Jackman goes for hooking. Brent Burns will man one of the points on this power play.


Chris Mason is busy in the early going. He deflects a Brent Burns point shot, and then has to make a baseball catch as Antti Miettinen tries to bang the puck in the net after it came up and over the cage off the end boards.


Minnesota was all over St. Louis for both power plays, getting six shots, but didn't score. Jacques Lemaire says it's about getting chances, so the Wild has definitely gotten some. Now it's time to find the twine. First media timeout.


We hit the period's second timeout. St. Louis had a good chance a minute back, but a defenseman cleared the puck out of the crease with an open net.


Wild outshooting the Blues 11-3, but just five shots since those two power plays early on. The biggest cheer recently (actually a "boooo") has come on a couple of Derek Boogaard shifts.

Brad Winchester and Erik Reitz bump in the corner after Winchester gets a shot off - a shot that goes out of play. Winchester gave Reitz a slight extra bump, but maybe a fortunate power play for the Wild - its third of the period.

Brent Burns uses his stick to break up a shorthanded breakaway by Blues captain Eric Brewer. More importantly, the puck goes into the corner, as St. Louis had a pair of players crashing the net.

End 1st
Wild outshooting the Blues 11-4, out powerplaying them 3-0, but zeros on the scoreboard thus far.

Pre-game warmup
The Wild warming up 21 players, including Craig Weller, who is the anticipated scratch. Chris Mason, looking for his first win of the season (0-5-0), is in net for the Blues, opposite Niklas Backstrom.

11:30 a.m. CST

I’m back from a very uneventful optional morning skate. Andrew Brunette and Eric Belanger “took their option” and didn’t skate, and neither did Jacques Lemaire, although he met with the media after watching the skate from the stands.

Lemaire says he’d like to see “more teamwork” out of his Wild tonight (check out Wild TV for the extended version).

St. Louis is coming off an emotional 3-2 overtime win over Anaheim last night, after allowing the game-tying goal with less than one second remaining.

The Blues arrived in town here around, and they’re the third straight home opponent for the Wild that has played the night before.

There don’t appear to be any lineup changes. Niklas Backstrom will try to avoid his second set of home back-to-back losses in his career.

There isn’t much other news.

I have prepared notes for Monday’s VERSUS game against Washington -- tomorrow, Aaron Sickman will cover practice and I’ll update the notes for Joe Beninati, Darren Eliot and Lindsay Soto.

We woke up to snow today in central Minnesota, but just a dusting, and most of it is melting away now as the bright sunshine flies high.

I just heard that Slap Shot 3 is coming out this week – straight to DVD.

Slap Shot 2 was not very good, so I’m guessing the facts that A) it’s coming straight to DVD, and B) it’s rated “PG” mean that I won’t cry if Slap Shot 3 isn’t under the tree Christmas morning.

Have a good afternoon, State of Hockey. I’ll talk to you from the rink tonight, just before I devour some chicken wild rice soup and some Caribbean chicken.
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