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Category: Minnesota-Wild

Taking Notice Of The Minnesota Wild

from Dan Myers of MinnesotaWild.com,

With its solid play and the announcement earlier this week of three representatives at the NHL All-Star Game later this month, the Minnesota Wild's strong start to the season has started to capture the attention of a national audience.

If it hasn't already, it will by the end of the weekend.

After its game against the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday aired on NBC Sports Network, Thursday's game against the Montreal Canadiens and Sunday's against the Chicago Blackhawks will also be seen by a nationwide audience.

The men who broadcasted the Wild's win over the Ducks, play-by-play man Kenny Albert and color analyst Pierre McGuire, came away impressed.

"They're a team that's for real," McGuire said. "They've got an elite goaltender in Devan Dubnyk. They've got a defenseman in Ryan Suter that's probably gonna be a Norris Trophy candidate. They've got quick-strike offensive capability from a lot of different sources. They've got Zach Parise back on track. There's a lot of things going on there that are extremely positive."


Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Bruce Boudreau Gets A Win In Return To Anaheim

from Jeff Miller of the OC Register,

Bruce Boudreau’s team won a hockey game, 2-1, Sunday at Honda Center.

It just came eight months too late.

Had Boudreau guided the Ducks to a 2-1 victory over Nashville in Game 7 here on April 27, who knows when that postseason might have ended or where the coach would be today?

Instead, the Ducks lost to the Predators, 2-1, Boudreau was fired two days later, hired shortly thereafter by Minnesota and returned Sunday to experience that 2-1 victory that eluded him spectacularly so the last time he was here.

When reviewed in summation, this game represented a circle as perfect as the one at center ice.

“Your players know that you want to win,” Boudreau explained afterward. “So it was nice to see that they played as well as they did.”

Oh, yeah, he wanted to win this one, probably almost as much as he wanted to win the one April 27.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: bruce+boudreau

A Wild Comeback

from Michael Russo of Russo's Rants,

Just what we all expected from the two best defensive teams in the West – a six-goal third period, four from the Wild, during a 5-4 come-from-behind Minnesota victory.

What a way to avoid the Wild’s second regulation losing streak of the season. The Wild scored at least four goals in the third period for the 10th time in franchise history and the first time since opening night in Colorado in 2015.

The Wild also overcame multiple deficits of 2+ goals to win for just the second time in franchise history (also Dec. 4, 2009 vs ANA: 5-4 SO W).

Instead, the Wild rallied for a seventh straight road win. It’s now 15-2-3 in its past 20 and 8-1-3 in its past 12 on the road....

Down 2-1 in the third period thanks to Eric Staal’s power-play goal with 61 seconds left in the second to give Minnesota life in a game it was being outshot 23-10 in, Zach Parise, who looked like the Parise of old, tied the score 2:08 into the third.

But, starting at the 3:49 mark, Joel Ward and Patrick Marleau scored 32 seconds apart to put the Wild in a 4-2 hole.

read on

Below are the game highlights...

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Eric Staal Revitalized In Minnesota

from Chip Alexander of the News & Observer,

“We’re winning a lot of games and I’m having fun,” Staal said in an interview this week. “The transition, no question, has gone well for me. We have a long way to go, half a season, but I’m on a good team that has had a good start and is in a great position. It’s fun to come to work.”

It wasn’t that way the past few seasons with the Hurricanes, even with a younger brother, Jordan, as a teammate. There weren’t as many wins as anyone wanted. The Canes couldn’t reach the Stanley Cup playoffs, adding to the frustration.

“There were things weighing on me,” Staal said. “I was the highest-paid player. I was the captain for a long time and to miss the playoffs year after year, it weighs on you.

“I genuinely did my best every single day to try and bring back the success we had earlier in my career. For whatever reason, it didn’t happen. It got difficult toward the end last season. It was the last year in my contract and …”

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: eric+staal

Two Streaking Teams Meet Tonight

Puck drops just after 6:00pm ET tonight...

from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,

Not only will Saturday’s game be the first time two NHL teams meet with simultaneous win streaks of at least seven games, it’ll be the first time in NHL, NBA, MLB and NFL history two teams meet with win streaks of at least 12 games, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

That historical significance was “cool” and “neat” to everybody Friday, and while Wild players expect the crowd to be buzzing and are aware a ticket to the game is suddenly a hot commodity, both teams took different tacks after their respective practices.

Inside the Wild locker room, player after player echoed their coach by noting it’s “just Game 36” and the game’s worth two points just like every other.

“It’s not the Super Bowl, it’s not the Stanley Cup,” Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said. “It’s Game 36. It’s got a good, little story line, but that’s all it is.”

But Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella offered a different message, saying that in the monotony of an 82-game season, he’s happy the players have something to get excited about.

“I want our guys to revel in it,” said Tortorella, before noting that his team actually hasn’t played well this last little stretch. “Both teams deserve a lot of credit and they should feel good about what they’ve brought here, where they’re at. We know there’s a streak, we know there’s a streak over there. I’m glad we’re going to have an opportunity to play in this type of game.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Two Hot Teams Meet On Saturday

from Michael Russo of Russo's Rants,

The hockey gods have a flair for the dramatic.

For the first time in NHL history, two teams have concurrent winning streaks of at least 12 games, and they just so happen to meet Saturday at 5 p.m. at Xcel Energy Center.

Both the Wild and Columbus Blue Jackets accomplished what they needed to tonight – WIN – to set the table for what I’ve dubbed the Clash of the 2000 Expansion Titans on New Year’s Eve.

The Wild, winners of 12 in a row and without a regulation loss in 13 straight games since Nov. 29 (12-0-1), vs. the Blue Jackets, winner of 14 in a row and without a regulation loss in 16 straight games since the day before Thanksgiving (15-0-1).

Amazing job by John Tortorella and his group. They started the season 0-2. They’ve lost three games in regulation since.

The Wild beat the New York Islanders tonight, 6-4, to tie a franchise record with its eighth consecutive home win and post its first 12-win month in history. This is now the second-longest winning streak in Bruce Boudreau’s NHL coaching career. He has coached four double-digit streaks in his career.

The Wild is now 14-1-3 since Nov. 19.

continued, includes Brucke Boudreau and Wild players on Saturday's game...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Winning Streak Hits Eleven For The Minnesota Wild

from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,

Despite not playing or practicing for three days and having to fly to Nashville the morning of Tuesday’s game, the Wild’s bubble didn’t burst after the NHL’s holiday recess.

The Wild’s franchise-record winning streak struck 11 and franchise-record point streak reached 12 when Jared Spurgeon scored his first career overtime goal to lift the Wild to a 3-2 victory over the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena.

The Wild, one point back of Chicago for the Central Division lead, improved to 11-0-1 since Nov. 29 and 13-1-3 since Nov. 19. The team, winners of six consecutive on the road, was compensated for a strong 13-shot third period that would have resulted in a regulation triumph if not for goalie Pekka Rinne, who made 36 saves total.

“They played to win and not to lose. They weren’t playing to get into overtime,” said coach Bruce Boudreau, who has now coached Washington, Anaheim and Minnesota to winning streaks of at least 11 games. “That’s the way we need to play. To me, we have to go for it.”

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Watch the game highlights below...

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The Numbers On The Columbus Blue Jackets And Minnesota Wild

from Travis Yost of TSN,

One of the most prominent signals on either end of the spectrum is when a team sees a large divide between territorial dominance (be it by shots, scoring chances or expected goals) and shooting/save percentages. Your true playoff-calibre teams and eventual Stanley Cup winners tend to dominate the volume of chances over the duration of the regular season to sustain their winning ways. Pretenders, on the other hand, tend to ride the percentages – be it a white-hot shooting lineup or incredible goaltending. These teams are the ones that usually get themselves into trouble, and watch performance degrade as the season progresses.

The question about contender and pretender status is particularly interesting this year in light of the rise of the Columbus Blue Jackets in the East and the Minnesota Wild in the West, two teams that are obliterating the competition through the Christmas break. Columbus currently sits atop the NHL with 23 wins and a ridiculous +45 goal differential, which is also tops. Minnesota is fifth in the NHL with 21 wins and a +36 goal differential, second only to Columbus.

As you might have guessed by the lofty goal differentials, these two teams are dominating the percentages. Their PDO — the sum of a team’s shooting and save percentage — also sits at the top of the league.

more with graphs and charts...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Wild, Blue Jackets Continue Their Winning Ways

from Michael Russo of the StarTribune,

The music was of normal volume, the pats on the back like any other postgame.

There was no raucous celebration inside Madison Square Garden’s visiting locker room Friday night after the Wild steamrolled the New York Rangers 7-4, like this was any other victory.

Winning has become that business as usual for a confident team that would gladly move on to the next challenge now rather than letting the NHL’s three-day holiday hiatus interrupt all this fun.

“We don’t want to stop there,” Charlie Coyle said of breaking the franchise record with a 10th consecutive victory. “We don’t want to just beat it. We want to crush it.”


from Tom Reed of the Columbus Dispatch,

One of the better stretches of Sergei Bobrovsky’s career concluded Friday night with two of the better stretches you will see from the agile puck stopper.

The Blue Jackets’ goaltender got his weary club into the Christmas break with a 2-1 victory over the Canadiens in Nationwide Arena to run its franchise-record winning streak to 12 games. He made 36 stops and none bigger than a pair of toe saves against Brendan Gallagher and Paul Byron on which he went farther out on limbs than  Cossack dancers in his native Russia,

“Those are huge plays,” captain Nick Foligno said.  “I think (Gallagher and Byron) are frustrated because they think they have him beat and all of a sudden his leg comes flying out of nowhere. That’s what he does to us in practice all the time.”

In racing to an improbable 23-5-4 start, the Blue Jackets haven’t needed him to be special on many nights. 


Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The Minnesota Wild Keep Winning

from Michael Russo of Russo's Rants,

It has been so long since we’ve seen the Wild chase a game, I forgot what it looked like.

But trailing for the first time since Dec. 9 (six games before) … twice, the Wild rallied both times to ultimately take a big 4-2 win against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre.

Playing a team that was 15-2-2 at home and 17-2-2 when scoring first, the Wild tied franchise records by extending its win streak to nine games and 9-0-1 point streak to 10.

Bruce Boudreau isn’t satisfied, which could explain why he has coached win streaks of nine or more games five times in his successful career.

“Tying is like kissing your sister,” Boudreau said. “Getting it is the nice thing. Our job’s not done. We’re going to try out butts off [Friday against the Rangers].”


Catch the game highlights below...

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com


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