Wild Win a Wild One

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9 Total Updates since December 27, 2010
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Wild Host Phoenix Coyotes In First Game Of 2011

(Sports Network) – The Phoenix Coyotes will aim for a fourth straight win in the Gopher State when they visit the Wild this evening at Xcel Energy Center.

Phoenix has won three straight on the road in this series and recorded a 4-2 victory when the clubs met in St. Paul on Dec. 1. The Wild returned the favor with a 3-2 win in Phoenix on Dec. 9, but the Coyotes have still taken five of six and six of the last eight overall meetings in the series.

The Coyotes and Wild enter tonight as the 12th and 13th-place teams, respectively, in the Western Conference. With 41 points, Phoenix is just two ahead of the Wild.

Outside of a seven-game winning streak from Nov. 10-23, the Coyotes have struggled with consistency this season. Phoenix’s latest loss, a road setback Friday in St. Louis, dropped the Coyotes to 6-8-2 in their last 16 games.

The Coyotes fell behind 4-0 early in the third period against the Blues on Friday, but were able to put a scare into St. Louis with a late offensive surge. Phoenix wound up losing in regulation anyway, dropping the 4-3 decision at Scottrade Center.

Shane Doan scored two goals for the Coyotes and the team captain is riding a five-game point streak. He has five goals and three assists during the tear. Ilya Bryzgalov allowed all four goals on 22 shots in the setback.

“Our margin for error is very slim,” Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett said. “On every given night, you’ve got to try to play as well as you can in all those areas, and right now we’re just not there.”

Although the Coyotes enter tonight’s test with a winning streak in Minnesota, Phoenix has lost five of its last seven road games overall and is 10-8-3 as the guest this season.

The Wild lost for the third time in four games after getting dealt a 4-1 loss Friday against visiting Nashville. Pekka Rinne stopped 22-of-23 shots in the Predators’ win at Xcel Energy Center.

Chuck Kobasew provided the lone goal for the Wild and Niklas Backstrom played well in defeat, giving up two goals on 30 shots.

“I think the spirit’s changing in here. Guys really don’t realize how we have to play night in and night out to be a successful team,” lamented Wild defenseman Greg Zanon. “It’s disappointing when you can’t complete your goals. We need wins, we need points to stay in the mix.”

Minnesota is 1-1-0 on a three-game homestand that is set to end tonight and the Wild are 9-9-2 as the host this season.

Wild forward Cal Clutterbuck missed the last game with an undisclosed injury and he is questionable tonight.

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Nashville Shut Down Wild Offense, Win 4-1

(Sports Network) – Pekka Rinne stopped 22-of-23 shots as Nashville downed Minnesota, 4-1, at Xcel Energy Center.

Cody Franson, Patric Hornqvist and Joel Ward lit the lamp for the Predators, who snapped a five-game skid with their first road win in exactly two weeks.

“It was a real smart road game. We didn’t let them get too excited about anything,” said Nashville head coach Barry Trotz. “It was a real solid effort all around. We had a good mentality from the start, and those first two goals gave us a real nice cushion.”

Chuck Kobasew provided the sole offense for the Wild, who have lost three of four. Niklas Backstrom played well in defeat, responsible for just two goals on 30 shots.

Rinne was 1:54 from recording a shutout, but Minnesota halved its deficit when Martin Havlat’s floater from the point was redirected home by Kobasew to make it 2-1.

Backstrom went to the bench with 90 seconds remaining, and shortly after Mikko Koivu’s chance in traffic was batted down, the Nashville clear went to Ward, who soloed to the empty net.

Sergei Kostitsyn then hit the vacant cage with 6.2 seconds to play.

“I think the spirit’s changing in here. Guys really don’t realize how we have to play night in and night out to be a successful team,” lamented Wild defenseman Greg Zanon. “It’s disappointing when you can’t complete your goals. We need wins, we need points to stay in the mix.”

Nashville got on the board just 4:23 into the contest, as Shane O’Brien dished to Franson for a successful shot from the slot.

It was 2-0 for the visitors with 9:32 left in the second period when Shea Weber’s right-point shot was deflected in front by Hornqvist.

Game Notes

Nashville stopped a two-game skid at Minnesota and posted just its sixth win all-time in St. Paul…Weber and David Legwand each recorded two assists for the Predators…Both clubs are in action on Sunday as the Preds host Columbus and the Wild welcome Phoenix.

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Wild Close Out 2010 By Hosting Predators

(Sports Network) – The Nashville Predators will be trying to avoid their longest losing streak of the season when they visit the Minnesota Wild tonight at Xcel Energy Center.

With losses in five straight games the Predators have tied their previous longest skid of the season, an 0-5-0 slide from Oct. 28-Nov. 7. Like that previous funk, Nashville has also lost all five games in regulation during the current streak and the Preds have been outscored 18-5 over the span of the downturn.

Nashville hasn’t lost six in a row since an 0-5-1 slide from Oct. 10-21 of last season.

The Preds’ latest loss came Tuesday night against the visiting Dallas Stars. Andrew Raycroft made 44 saves to anchor the Stars in the 4-2 decision at Bridgestone Arena.

Colin Wilson scored both goals for the Predators, who had an 8-0-1 mark in the nine games prior to their current skid. Pekka Rinne allowed four goals on 21 shots, including the final three goals on 10 shots in the third period.

The Predators have not fared well in recent encounters against the Wild. Minnesota has won four of its last six meetings against the Preds and the Wild notched a 5-2 victory when the clubs met in St. Paul on Nov. 26. Nashville has lost three of four and five of its last games in Minnesota.

With 40 points, Nashville is 12th in the Western Conference standings and the Wild are just one point behind the Preds.

Nashville is 9-9-1 as the visiting team this season, while the Wild have a 9-8-2 record on home ice.

Minnesota ended a two-game losing streak in their last trip to the ice, beating visiting San Jose to get a three-game homestand off on a positive note.

Kyle Brodziak notched a pair of goals as the Wild used a third-period surge to dispatch the Sharks, 5-3, at Xcel Energy Center. Minnesota was trailing 3-2 after two periods, but scored three unanswered goals in the final frame to secure the win.

“Everyone stuck together, stuck to the game plan. We kept going hard at them,” Brodziak said. “Over the night it started wearing them down. It was a fun game. That’s what we have to look for every night, when guys are laying it on the line every minute of the game.”

Brent Burns added a goal and one assist for the Wild, who won for the fourth time in their last six games. Mikko Koivu and Chuck Kobasew also tallied to back a 29-save performance from Niklas Backstrom.

Backstrom suffered a lower-body injury in practice on Thursday, but he may be able to start tonight. Wild forward Cal Clutterbuck is also questionable tonight with an undisclosed injury.

Meanwhile, Minnesota defenseman Marek Zidlicky is expected to miss at least two weeks after suffering a shoulder injury in Wednesday’s game against the Sharks.

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Brodziak's Two Goals Lead Wild Past Sharks, 5-3

(Sports Network) – Kyle Brodziak notched a pair of goals as Minnesota used a third-period surge to dispatch San Jose, 5-3, at Xcel Energy Center.

Brent Burns added a goal and one assist for the Wild, who halted a two-game slide and won for the fourth time in their last six.

Mikko Koivu and Chuck Kobasew also tallied to back a 29-save performance from Niklas Backstrom.

“Everyone stuck together, stuck to the game plan. We kept going hard at them,” Brodziak said. “Over the night it started wearing them down. It was a fun game. That’s what we have to look for every night, when guys are laying it on the line every minute of the game.”

Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Devin Setoguchi lit the lamp for the Sharks, who have lost two in a row after winning four straight.

Antero Niittymaki was tagged for all five scores on 24 shots in defeat.

Kobasew got the rally started and tied the game, 3-3, when he punched in the rebound of a Nick Schultz point shot at the 5:14 mark of the third.

Burns managed to get a floater from the left point through traffic at 9:15 for the go-ahead score, then Brodziak finished the burst at 10:35 when his desperation centering pass from behind the goal line redirected off a Shark player’s stick and veered into the net.

San Jose skated with an extra attacker for the final 2:04, and Brodziak missed his last chance for a hat trick in the final 15 seconds when his long-distance shot sailed wide left of the empty cage.

Minnesota’s first shot of the game was a successful one, as Brodziak slipped in a Martin Havlat pass between Niittymaki’s arm and body for a power-play goal just after the seven-minute mark.

San Jose evened things at 11:49 when Thornton notched his own power-play score on a one-timer from in front.

Setoguchi gave the visitors a one-goal edge less than three minutes into the second when Ryane Clowe’s attempt to the net deflected off his body and past Backstrom.

Koivu’s stuffer at the right post at 12:27 pulled Minnesota even, but Marleau’s wrister from the right circle on a San Jose advantage made it 3-2 at 15:01.

Game Notes

This was Brodziak’s third multi-goal effort of the season after two-goal games on October 21 and November 27…Burns notched his fourth multi-point game this season and second in December…San Jose swept four matchups last year but Minnesota has won both this season, in St. Paul…Havlat posted two helpers for the Wild, and Clowe had the same for the Sharks.

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Blue Jackets Defeat Wild, 4-3, In Shootout

(Sports Network) – Kristian Huselius scored to cap a perfect shootout, and the Columbus Blue Jackets earned just their second win in eight games with a 4-3 victory over Minnesota.

Rick Nash and Kyle Wilson also tallied in the shootout, while Derick Brassard, Fedor Tyutin and Andrew Murray scored regulation goals for the Blue Jackets.

Steve Mason made 36 saves in regulation then halted both shots he faced in the deciding round for the win, Columbus’ second in its last eight.

Cal Clutterbuck scored the game-tying goal with 8:22 remaining in the third period, but the Wild lost their second straight. Chuck Kobasew and Mikko Koivu also lit the lamp for Minnesota.

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Minnesota Heads To Columbus To Battle Blue Jackets

(Sports Network) – The Minnesota Wild will try to get back in the win column when they visit the struggling Columbus Blue Jackets tonight at Nationwide Arena.

The Wild had won three straight heading into the Christmas break but were then dealt Sunday’s 4-1 setback by the visiting Detroit Red Wings. It was just the third regulation loss in the last 10 games (5-3-2) for Minnesota, which is currently five points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Columbus, meanwhile, is one point ahead of the Wild in the conference standings, but the Blue Jackets have lost two straight, six of seven and 12 of their last 15 games (3-9-3).

The Blue Jackets lost 7-3 against visiting Vancouver last Thursday and emerged from the break to receive a 4-1 setback in Chicago this past Sunday. Patrick Sharp scored twice and Marty Turco stopped 26 shots to lead the Blackhawks to the easy victory over Columbus.

Derick Brassard had the lone goal for Columbus, while Mathieu Garon allowed all four goals on 25 shots in the loss.

“I thought we did lots of good things,” Blue Jackets coach Scott Arniel said. “We should have been rewarded in the first and even the second (period). You can’t just be close in this league. Obviously, we’re fragile again and we have to work our way out of this.”

The Blue Jackets have lost five of their last eight on home ice and are 9-9-1 this year in the Buckeye State.

Minnesota fired just 17 shots on net in Sunday’s loss to Detroit and Jimmy Howard stopped 16 of them in his club’s 4-1 victory at Xcel Energy Center.

Brent Burns scored the only goal for the Wild and Niklas Backstrom gave up four goals on 27 shots in the loss.

“They really controlled the puck,” said Wild center John Madden. “It’s pretty hard to play against, especially with our effort tonight.”

The Wild come into tonight with wins in four of their last five home games. Minnesota is 8-6-2 as the guest overall this season.

The Wild and Blue Jackets have split a pair of games so far this year, but the divisional rivals haven’t played since Minnesota notched a 3-2 road win on Nov. 6. Minnesota has won eight of 12 overall in this series, but the Blue Jackets have taken three of the last five encounters in Ohio.

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