Remember when the Wild could never ever ever ever ever win in Calgary? Three wins in eight seasons (3-18-4).
Well, the Wild's won five out of six here under Todd Richards.
Tonight, 6-zip against Miikka Kiprusoff, the winningest goalie against Minnesota, who's 1-8-2 in his last 11 against them. That's because Niklas Backstrom is 8-1-1 in his past 10 against the Flames with a 1.11 goals against average and .958 save percentage.
Backstrom made 37 saves, but the shots weren't indicative of the chances, he felt as did the team. The Wild defended well, Backstrom came up with a few big stops and other than playing a couple icings in the first period, there was remarkably little rust despite not starting since Dec. 31.
See the difference between a quiet goalie and Anton Khudobin, who, hey, he's effective, but he loses his net like most people lose money in Vegas? One play in Edmonton, Jared Spurgeon made a highlight-reel save to stop a goal. On the highlight on TSN, Khudobin is not in the picture!!!!
Speaking of goalies, I watched the first two periods with Jose Theodore. He taught me the game, I taught him how to use Twitter. He's impressed by how many fans he has on there and how many people's Avatar's are his face!
It was fascinating watching the game from his perspective, and he said -- and it's true -- "Boy, the game's easy up here." You can't grasp how little time and space there really is from the press box.
I interviewed Theodore for a long time for a profile coming up soon in the Strib.
Tonight was the most lopsided road shutout in team history and tied a team record for most lopsided win.
Marty Havlat had two goals and one assist (goals 199 and 200 in his career), John Madden, Chuck Kobasew and Cal Clutterbuck scored a goal (Clutterbuck's career-high 14th) and an assist each, Andrew Brunette had two assists, Kyle Brodziak had a career-high three assists and won 16 faceoffs and Mikko Koivu scored on the power play.
Backstrom registered his 21st career shutout (four against Calgary) and second of the season. The Wild won its third in a row, is 2-0 in the first two games of a four-game pre-All-Star break trip and is one point behind 7th and 8th place in the West.
Brodziak, Clutterbuck, Havlat, Clayton Stoner and Greg Zanon were plus-3's. Stoner brushed off a scary boarding penalty from Curtis Glencross that resulted in a Wild major power play. Stoner looked to have a shoulder injury but he said afterward he's OK. We'll see if his head is OK. You know how these things go. Often times symptoms come later. But Glencross should and probably will be disciplined by the league. First, he's got a history of dirty play, and this was reckless and stupid against a vulnerable player.
The Wild is 9-2-1 in the past 12 on the road and won its 13th road game in 23. That's the same amount they had in 41 last year.
Big game in the second of a back-to-back, especially after not playing well last night in Edmonton.
Just a well-played game all-around. Got an early lead, which they needed in a second of back-to-back, it was perfect on the penalty kill, good goaltending, offense created from defense. Only blemish was that major.
Wild PK is 32 for 34 last 11 games overall and 33 for 35 in last 11 in Calgary.
Check out the game story and notebook coverage. On to San Jose. 3:45 a.m. wakeup call for me, so bye.