|We'll have the post morning skate comments from Jacques early this afternoon
Dan Terhaar and Mike Greenlay break down tonights big matchup vs. Washington
Eric Belanger talks about what needs to happen to get back in the win column tonight
* Bonus video: 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
-- WILD RADIO --
* PONDcast Preview
Wild Radio's Kevin Falness has the thoughts of Jacques, both Backstroms and more
-- BLOG --
* The R.S.S. Feed EXTRA (Nov. 23)
PR guru Aaron Sickman mans the controls after Sunday's practice at Parade Ice Gardens
-- WILD vs. WASHINGTON --
All-Time Wild Record: 5-3-0
4-0-0 at Xcel Energy Center
1-3-0 at Washington
Washington defeated Minnesota 4-1 at Verizon Center (2/26/08) last season.
WILD CAREER LEADERS: Owen Nolan has notched 23 points (11-12=23) and 76 PIM in 33 games against Washington…Kim Johnsson has collected 15 points (5-10=15) in 23 contests…Andrew Brunette has recorded 13 points (8-5=13) in 18 games.
WILD GOALIES: Niklas Backstrom is 0-1-0 with a 4.00 GAA and a .846 SV% in one start against Washington…Josh Harding has not faced the Capitals.
CAPITALS CAREER LEADERS: Sergei Fedorov has scored 19 points (6-13=19) in 24 games against Minnesota...Michael Nylander has collected 10 points (4-6=10) in 13 matches.
CAPITALS GOALIES: Brent Johnson is 3-3-3 with a 1.60 GAA, a .934 SV% and two shutouts in nine starts against the Wild…Jose Theodore is 3-3-2 with a 2.10 GAA, a .920 SV% and one shutout in eight matches against Minnesota (six starts).
CONNECTIONS: Andrew Brunette was drafted by Washington in the 7th round (174th overall) of the 1993 NHL Entry Draft and made his NHL debut with the Capitals on 1/17/96…He spent parts of three seasons with the Capitals (1996-98).
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. 24, 2008
As Jacques Lemaire put it (paraphrasing): "In the last five minutes, it seems like I slept 24 hours."
Lemaire was thrilled with his team's performance. It got three goals from unlikely sources (two from Clutterbuck, one from Sheppard). He lauded Brent Burns' work around the boards on Sheppard's game-winner, and also Pierre-Marc Bouchard
for a quick pass allowing Sheppard to beat Jose Theodore before the goalie could recover. Click here for Clutterbuck's first NHL goal
And what a story for Sheppard, who gets his first goal in his last 48 games. And it came about five seconds after Lindsay Soto of VERSUS interviewed his dad and sister in the stands.
Post-game notes are below. The Wild will skate at Xcel Energy Center tomorrow. We've got a 9:30 a.m. staff meeting in the morning, and I'm going to see Jackson at mentoring at 2 p.m. A big day!
Rookie RW Cal Clutterbuck
scored his first two NHL goals and C James Sheppard scored his first goal in 48 games -- the third period game-winner -- as the Minnesota Wild topped the Washington Capitals 4-3 before 18,568 at Xcel Energy Center. D Marek Zidlicky added a power-play goal and G Niklas Backstrom
made 25 saves, as the Wild improved to 1-2-0 on a five-game homestand, which continues Wednesday against Dallas at 7 p.m.
RW Cal Clutterbuck
scored his first two career NHL goals in his 19th career game. Clutterbuck, who turned 21 earlier this month, joins D Erik Reitz as Wild players to score their first NHL goal this season. Clutterbuck is the first Wild player to score his first two NHL goals in one game since D Kurtis Foster
did it Nov. 19, 2005. A two-time 35-goal scorer in junior hockey, Clutterbuck scored 11 goals in 73 games – without having two in a game – with the AHL’s Houston Aeros last season.
G Niklas Backstrom
, who had lost two straight home starts for just the second time in his career, improved to 8-1-1 in his career against the Southeast Division.
D Marek Zidlicky scored his third goal of the season – all three have come on the power play.
C James Sheppard scored a third period goal, his first tally in 48 games dating back to Jan. 30, 2008, against Anaheim. It was his second career game-winning goal, with the other coming Jan. 13, 2008, in a 4-1 win over Phoenix.
LW Stephane Veilleux
played in his 299th NHL game – all with the Wild. He’ll become just the eighth player in team history to play in 300 games.
D/RW Brent Burns had two assists, giving him 97 career points (30-67=97). He’ll become just the 12th player in team history to record 100 points.
The Wild led 1-0 after the first period. It marked the Wild’s first lead after 20 minutes in its last seven games overall, and its last seven home games. Tonight marked the Wild’s second lead after one period in 10 home games. Washington entered the game with 24 first-period goals – one off the NHL lead.
The Wild is 3-0-0 in the first three of eight nationally televised games on VERSUS this season. Minnesota is 5-0-0 all-time against the Capitals at Xcel Energy Center.
The Wild recorded 17 second-period shots, tying a season high for shots in a period. Minnesota also had 17 in the second period at Florida on Oct. 16.
The Wild scored at least one goal in each of the three periods for the second time this season – the other time coming Oct. 16 at Florida.
A bit late to start the third period, but it's for good reason, servicing the media's needs and my post-game notes. The Wild goes on a power play with Tom Poti in the box. No Cal Clutterbuck
- yet - on the power play.
Alex Ovechkin goes for closing the hand on the puck - the third such penalty this game - and the Wild with a chance to blow this open with 1:34 of 5-on-3 time. And AO is not happy about the call.
And it's 3-0 with Marek Zidlicky's rocket from the top of the left circle, with Andrew Brunette creating a screen in front of the net. It's Zidlicky's third of the season, from Marc-Andre Bergeron and Mikko Koivu.
Bidding for the hat trick, Clutterbuck hits the outside of the cage. No doubt his teammates are trying to set him up a bit on this power play.
And the in house feed shows a special guest of tonight's game, Vikings WR Bernard Berrian. He's about five feet from me in the press box, but somehow I didn't manage to get in the shot. Trust me, I tried.
The Wild may ask VERSUS' Lindsay Soto to hang around more often. She interviewed Clutterbuck this morning, and he's got two goals. Now, she's interviewing James Sheppard's dad and sister, who are in attendance tonight, as he scores his first goal in 48 games dating back to Jan. 30, 2008, against Anaheim. Burns with his second assist of the game, and Pierre-Marc Bouchard with his first. It's 4-0 Wild.
In all fairness, we must report that Washington is down to 15 skaters - three fewer than the minimum. The Caps are on the end of a five-game road trip through New Jersey, Anaheim, Los Angeles, San Jose and Minnesota, and they appear destined to finish the trip 1-3-1 with three straight losses to end it. But with 15 skaters, it's almost not fair. And remember they're already without NHL leading scorer Alexander Semin, veteran center Sergei Fedorov and defenseman Mike Green.
And the shutout is foiled. Kim Johnsson couldn't keep the puck in at the blueline, and hustled back, but still a 2-on-1 ensued, and Matt Bradley tipped the puck under Backstrom for his third goal of the season. It's 4-1 Wild.
There is no quit in this Washington team, especially star Alex Ovechkin, who sneaks a shot from the left circle by Backstrom for his ninth goal of the season. Ovechkin gets his first career goal against the Wild - leaving the Sharks and Kings as the two teams he has yet to score against in his fine four-year NHL career. It's 4-2 Wild.
And a power play for the Caps as Marek Zidlicky goes off for hooking. Things sure are interesting here late!
And it gets real tight, as Nicklas Backstrom beats Niklas Backstrom for a 4-3 deficit on the power play. A barnburner here at Xcel Energy Center!
End of game
Well that was closer than we thought it would end up. 4-3 Wild, be back shortly.
We're underway in the second period, and before I go any further, make sure you click here for the awesome goal and celebration
from Cal Clutterbuck
. Alex Ovechkin hobbled to the bench early in the second but appeared to be ok. Aaron Sickman also reports that Clutterbuck was not only interviewed by VERSUS' Lindsay Soto, but he signed a quick autograph on his way down the runway, too.
We'll give Milan Jurcina credit - he must managed to pick up Derek Booogaard and set him nicely outside the crease. But that's a penalty to Jurcina.15:22Cal Clutterbuck
getting some power play time. He wreaked havoc in front of the net but Theodore was able to kick aside a point blast.14:51
And it's two for Clutterbuck! He pounces on a Brent Burns rebound and slides it by Theodore for a 2-0 Wild lead.
Ninety one seconds of 5-on-3 time upcoming for the Wild.11:34
A shooting gallery for the Wild, which has the first 11 shots of the second period. But no more goals.10:04
With Washington on the power play, Backstrom makes a juggling save on Alex Ovechkin. Aaron Sickman notes that it appears as though the Caps are missing two guys off their bench.
, bidding for his third goal of the season, tries to finish off a 2-on-0 with Brent Burns, but Theodore read it the whole way and went post-to-post to rob Bouchard.6:38
Backstrom's performance through 34 minutes shouldn't be lost tonight. The Wild has allowed just 14 shots, but he just made a great save on Eric Fehr's rebound attempt - while on his backside, I may add.End 2nd period
The Wild can't add any more goals, but they have the Caps back on their heels. The Wild's 17 shots in the second period tie a season high (Oct. 16 at Florida), and Minnesota leads 2-0 after two.
It's Steckel vs. Sheppard, and the Wild win the opening draw. Bouchard and Burns with Sheppard up front.
Antti Miettinen has a mini breakaway but Theodore makes a right pad save. Miettinen picks up the rebound and feeds Mikko Koivu
alone in front, but the pass it a bit too hot to handle.
hits Donald Brashear, despite giving up about four inches and 30 pounds. Just a funny sight.
Clutterbuck and Brashear collide again off a faceoff. For the first time this season, I've seen another player actual move Clutterbuck, but he didn't move too far nor did he fall down. Shots 3-2 in favor of the Wild.
Marek Zidlicky goes for closing his hand on the puck, and the Wild's top-ranked PK unit will be tested here. Ovechkin mans the left point for the Caps. He fires right off the draw and Backstrom makes two straight saves.
robs Nicklas Backstrom - gosh I hope we don't have a lot of that tonight. Although as long as it's not Nicklas scoring on Niklas. Nik was in good position as Nick got open alone in the low slot.
After a brief four seconds of 4-on-4 play, the Wild will go on the power play, as Brooks Laich (LIKE) goes for holding. Minnesota is 0-for-10 on the power play the last three games.
A couple good chances for the Wild. Theodore stops Marc-Andre Bergeron's left point blast, and then makes a close save when Marek Zidlicky was roaming the low slot for a rebound.
Backstrom with a great shoulder save on Milan Jurcina, drawing some "ooohs" from the crowd.
Cal Clutterbuck, ever so close to a first NHL goal in recent games, gets it here on national TV. Clutterbuck takes a pass from Marc-Andre Bergeron inside the left circle, takes his time and fires through traffic and over Theodore's blocker for his first career NHL goal. It's 1-0 Wild. Click here for replay of the goal.
Not a lot happening in the last few minutes. I've been busy looking up the fact that the Wild has led after one period in just one of its first nine home games.
End 1st period
Make that twice in 10 games. Shots 11-9 Caps, but the Wild lead 1-0 after one.
Back from the press meal feast. The beer barley here, people, inspires me.
A big game tonight, and not just because the Wild tries to right the ship after a two-game skid. I face off against my former Houston Aeros intern, Kelly, who now works for the Capitals. We've traded some barbs during the day and are ready for tonight's matchup.
Colton Gillies and Craig Weller are not warming up, and they'll be the Wild's scratches tonight. Alexander Semin, Mike Green and Sergei Fedorov are out for the Capitals tonight. Jose Theodore, unseen in these parts since a huge playoff series against the Wild last spring, gets the call for Washington in net.
I had a busy rest of the day, setting stuff up for the Stars' visit on Wednesday. The Stars are in Philly tonight and will practice here tomorrow. I don't often feel short, but when Jason "Stretch" Rademan and the Stars visit, I do. Stretch is the Philly native who was in his hometown for the beginning of Game 6 of the World Series, but not the end when it finally...ended...a couple of days later.
I also planned out Friday with Robert, our intern. Since it's a 1 p.m. game, we want to have all printed material out by 10:30. That's 90 copies of notes (which are about 25 double sided pages each), and 70 copies each of stats (30 double sided pages) and clips (it varies, but at least 10 double sided). We've got three copiers at our disposal, and we'll use each one I'm sure. I plan on getting here around 7 or 7:30 a.m. That is a tough game to get ready for, but to have the game done by 4 or so is really nice. Last season, I left right after the game with the team for Nashville, but this season Aaron is on that trip so I'll update notes and still have time to have a nice time about town.
1 p.m. CST
I’m back and refreshed from a Sunday off, save for an hour or so I spent updating game notes for tonight. The New York Giants are 10-1, all is good in the world.
The Washington Capitals are in town tonight, just Alexander Ovechkin’s second trip to Xcel Energy Center. It’s a nationally televised game on VERSUS. AO was obviously a major topic this morning in Jacques Lemaire’s media scrum. You don’t see Jacques speechless about players very often – but you can tell he has tremendous respect for the total package that is Ovechkin.
Several local TV stations were on hand this morning as well. And the VERSUS talent crew of Joe Beninati, Darren Eliot and Lindsay Soto spent a few extra minutes with Jacques. Currently, I am tracking down James Sheppard’s dad’s seat location for tonight, as Lindsay may interview him.
Jacques had all the players off the ice at around the same time this morning, so we don’t have any idea of the lineup, although Colton Gillies was out there especially long with Josh Harding
. Niklas Backstrom
, facing a team with another Nicklas Backstrom up front (they’re not even from the same country), will for sure get the start.
VERSUS will have a camera in the locker room prior to warm-ups tonight for the 60 seconds they are allowed. And we’ll have the usual walk-off interviews after periods depending on the flow of game, plus Brent Burns will do an interview with Lindsay Soto on the bench at the 10-minute timeout in the first period.
Big employee hockey game today, and our intern, Robert, has avoided suspension, but has been advised to keep his head up and watch out for others after knocking over a co-worker last week.
We’ve already sent out two press releases today (take a look at the top of the sidebar to the right) -- one for Minnesota Hockey’s renewal of its partnership with the Wild, and one reminding fans to ParkSmart! this weekend, since both the Hmong New Year and the Wild game are going on Friday. We still have to send out Wild Week, and an advisory about the Wes Walz tribute set for Friday. For more on that, check out the dropdown menu under Fan Zone (Share your Walz memories).
It’s a busy week! And it won’t get any less busy.
And in case you forgot (as I did) this to refresh your memory for tonight:
Beef barley soup
1/2 roasted chicken
Gnocchi with chives
And a look ahead to Wednesday (Happy pre-Turkey day; I may not have enough room for the Thursday feast):
Spice rubbed and smoked prime rib
Four cheese jalapeno mashed potatoes
Apple cobbler with ice cream