Rookies Justin Fontaine and Mathew Dumba both scored their first NHL goals and Josh Harding made 18 saves for his second straight win as the Minnesota Wild beat the Dallas Stars 5-1 on Saturday night. Minnesota came in giving up a league-low 22.0 shots per game, and kept the pressure off Harding, who was filling in for injured starter Niklas Backstrom. Two nights after stopping 14 of 15 shots in a 2-1 win over Winnipeg, Harding faced only 19 shots as the Wild controlled play from the opening faceoff. Dallas also was playing with its backup goalie as starter Kari Lehtonen was injured in a 4-1 win at Winnipeg on Friday. His replacement, Dan Ellis, struggled with Minnesota’s offensive barrage, allowing five goals on 36 shots.
Minnesota Wild center Charlie Coyle will miss three to four weeks with a sprained knee. The Wild announced the timetable for Coyle’s recovery on Sunday night. The second-year player was hurt Saturday night in the team’s overtime loss to Anaheim. Left wing Jason Zucker was recalled from Iowa of the AHL to take Coyle’s place. Zucker played in 20 games last season. Both Coyle and Zucker are 21, part of the Wild’s promising young core. Coyle was centering the second line, between Dany Heatley and Nino Niederreiter.
The Anaheim Ducks let the sting of their season-opening loss at Colorado carry into their second game at Minnesota. And their improved play led to their first win of the season.
One of the best things about sports is that each team has a rival or a villain who they just cannot stand to play against. Whether it’s somebody who managed to always find a way to beat you or someone who just rubs you the wrong way there is always one team you want to beat just because you want to stick it to that player.
T.J. Oshie and Patrik Berglund scored 51 seconds apart during St. Louis’ four-goal third period, leading the Blues to a 4-1 exhibition victory over the Minnesota Wild on Friday night. David Backes and Chris Stewart also scored for St. Louis, which finished the preseason with a 3-2-1 record. Alex Pietrangelo had two assists and Jaroslav Halak stopped 18 shots.
Jason Zucker scored the lone shootout goal and assisted on the tying goal to lift the Minnesota Wild to a 2-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets in a preseason game Monday night. Zucker’s shot trickled under the outstretched left leg pad of Sergei Bobrovsky, who made 26 saves in regulation and overtime. Minnesota goalie Josh Harding thwarted all three Columbus attempts in the shootout with the last one from Matt Calvert hitting the post. Harding stopped 20 shots before the shootout.
From the moment the gates opened on Saturday night, the vibe at Xcel Energy Center was a little different than usual. Can a pre-season hockey game have a “vibe,” you ask? It can when the Winnipeg Jets are in town. Thanks to NHL realignment, the Minnesota Wild find themselves in the same division as their neighbors to the north. And if Saturday’s game is any indication, the contests between the two will be intense all season long.
Jason Pominville scored the only goal of the shootout to lift the Minnesota Wild to a 4-3 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday night. Minnesota took a 2-0 lead into the locker room after 20 minutes on goals Carson McMillan and Charlie Coyle. New Wild defenseman Keith Ballard assisted on both. Winnipeg (1-2-2) stormed back with second-period goals by Eric O’Dell, Patrice Cormier and Paul Postma. Minnesota defenseman Ryan Suter forged a 3-3 tie in the third period, scoring off a feed from Zach Parise.
Hockey fans in the Twin Cities will have a chance to sneak a peek at the sport’s “Holy Grail” on Thursday and Friday. As is tradition, each player on the Stanley Cup winning team gets to take the famous trophy home for 24 hours, and this is Nick Leddy’s day.
The Minnesota Wild have used their limited space under the salary cap to sign defenseman Keith Ballard and re-sign defenseman Jared Spurgeon. The contracts were completed Friday.
The Minnesota Wild have waived defenseman Tom Gilbert. The team announced the move Wednesday. The 30-year-old Gilbert had one season left on his contract for $3 million. If he goes unclaimed by another team, the Wild will use one of their two available compliance buyouts to keep Gilbert’s money from counting against their salary cap. He would then become an unrestricted free agent Friday, eligible to sign with any team except the Wild.
Almost a year to the day Ryan Suter signed a long-term contract to come to the Minnesota Wild, he received one of the top honors in NHL hockey. Suter was named Wednesday to the 2012-13 NHL First All-Star team as one of the top defensive players in professional hockey.
An NHL-record unbeaten streak to start the lockout-shortened season. Three straight victories to clinch the title. From beginning to end, the Chicago Blackhawks skated away from the rest of the league. Bryan Bickell and Dave Bolland scored 17 seconds apart in the final 1:16 and the Blackhawks struck quickly to win Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final 3-2 on Monday night for their second NHL championship in four seasons.
Minnesota Wild goalie Josh Harding won a major NHL Award Friday – the Masterton Trophy. It’s a direct result of the way he’s approached his battle with multiple sclerosis (MS), and the way he’s inspired others as a result. When Josh Harding was told he had MS last fall, one of the hardest parts was telling other people. “It was tough. I didn’t know how to do it, I didn’t know how everybody would kind of view me after that. But I’m glad that I did,” Harding said.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have plenty of decisions to make this offseason, and NHL Network analyst Craig Button offers his input to Vinnie & Cook on Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan.