As a 19-year-old, Brett Bulmer knows he can't take anything for granted even though he's one of the last forwards standing during the Wild's training camp.
"I'm trying to get more confident every game," Bulmer said after the St. Louis Blues rallied from two goals down to beat the Wild 4-3 in an exhibition Tuesday night at Xcel Energy Center. "I'm just trying to take everything from this and get better every game."
For much of the third period, it looked as if Bulmer's second-period goal would be the winner. That was until Bulmer's holding penalty led to Matt D'Agostini's late tying goal. Carlo Colaiacovo scored the winner with 1:09 left with a shot from between the circles that got underneath Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom.
The Wild is giving the feisty, fast and rangy Bulmer a legitimate look, especially because if he doesn't play in Minnesota, he must be returned to his Western Hockey League team, Kelowna, rather than going to Houston of the American Hockey League.
Bulmer replaced suspended Brad Staubitz and fit well on a line with Colton Gillies and Eric Nystrom.
Another trio that again fit well was Devin Setoguchi, Mikko Koivu and Dany Heatley. Koivu scored one goal and Heatley and Setoguchi had two assists each to give the three first-liners four goals and nine assists in two exhibition games.
But most eyes were evaluating Bulmer, who has a knack for protecting the puck down low and making quick, nifty plays. That was demonstrated especially during a first-period, neutral-zone pass to spring Nystrom and Gillies on a 2-on-1.
He also admits to being a big yapper on the ice. He's effective at getting under the skin of opposing players.
"It's pretty funny," Bulmer said. "I kind of give them one word or maybe a little nudge and they just get all fired up. I try to go after the top guys and get them off their game, and it seems to work every time.
"In Prince George, there's kind of this hothead, Jesse Forsberg. Every game we play, he's always chasing me. I can say anything to him and he loses it. After goals, he always tries to go after me. We finally fought last year, and I tuned him up pretty good."Clutterbuck approves
Wild right winger Cal Clutterbuck was happy the NHL suspended Columbus' James Wisniewski the rest of the preseason and first eight games of the regular season for his elbow to Clutterbuck's head Friday.
It was Wisniewski's fourth suspension since 2008.
"That guy's got a bit of a history. His hits are suspension-worthy," Clutterbuck said. "It's good they're serious. It's good to see the league setting a precedent. I kind of saw him coming with the corner of my eye and kind of let up because the buzzer went.
"But when he didn't stop, I sort of got prepared to get hit. I wasn't expecting an elbow at the end of an exhibition game."Friendly fire
Gillies and Nystrom had an uneasy moment Saturday in Pittsburgh when the two linemates collided head-on at center-ice.
Gillies "saw stars," and Nystrom "had some skill knocked into me. Either that, or I blacked out."
That's because he scored later in the shift.
"First, Gillies crushes me. Then, I'm chasing a 3-on-1 the other way and think I'm getting a minus. Next thing I know, I'm on a 2-on-1 and score top shelf. What a shift," Nystrom said.Etc.
• With Mike Lundin still out because of back spasms, Marco Scandella, whose chances of making the team increase by the day, played. Justin Falk dressed instead of Jared Spurgeon (bruised rib).
• With Matt Cullen banged up, Casey Wellman centered the second line with Guillaume Latendresse and Pierre-Marc Bouchard.
|Minnesota - WP: C. Thielbar||7||FINAL|
|NY Yankees - LP: M. Banuelos||3|
|Stephen F Austin||85|
|Sam Houston St||69||FINAL|
|San Diego St||59|
|Utah Valley U||69|
|Boise State||46||2nd Half 8:20|
|CS-Bakersfield||56||2nd Half 2:05|
|New Mexico St||61|
|Stanford||36||2nd Half 11:47|
|Long Beach State||32|
|(22) Middle Tennessee||64|
|(25) Bowling Green||55|
|New Mexico St||65||FINAL|
|Coll of Charleston||70|