By Michael Russo
Overtime, 4-4, Wild being outshot 37-21 at start:
Typical. Todd Richards and I were talking about overtime strategies and shootouts this morning for an upcoming story, and he said the Wild really hasn’t practiced 4-on-4 at all.
Johnsson going off for holding. 1:20 4-on-3 coming up. Wild’s best chance was a Brent Burns shot that Backlund kick saved. Brodziak, Burns, great on the 3-on-4.
Shootout, which I’m so happy about (although I am glad I held my shootout story):
Danny Briere: deke, goal
Mikko Koivu, snap shot, goal. wicked. 1-1
Mike Richards, over glove, goal.
Martin Havlat, sick snapper, goal, 2-2
Simon Gagne, right pad save
Petr Sykora, deke, but save with the left pad, still 2-2
Jeff Carter, tried to pull an old Koivu move to his left, but Backstrom makes save
Antti Miettinen, smooth goal
Hey, it worked, but I’d love to know how Koivu, Sheppard and Belanger got on the ice together on that tying goal. Three centers. Something tells me that wasn’t planned.
3-2 Flyers. Simon Gagne enters the zone by Kim Johnsson and feeds a cross-slot pass to Mike Richards coming in off the bench for a beauty. Me and the guy yesterday did an “ahhh,” about two seconds before the goal because we saw it coming. Benefit of watching the game from above. You can see how plays develop. 1:05.
Owen Nolan just beat the daylights out of Braydon Coburn. Knocked him to the ice with a left. Nolan was probably tired of those overplayed Braydon Coburn commercials on NHL Network. Wild get a PP out of it. Coburn cross-checked the wrong guy.
3-3. Bouchard to Clutterbuck on a Flyers-like setup. Clutterbuck came flying off the wall to mid-slot, where he one-timed the feed.
Wild scrambling bigtime in its own end last few shifts. Johnsson, who’s having an up and down night, looks like he may have just got hurt or reinjured himself. Things are getting physical now. Richards just ran over Belanger, who’s hurt and slowly gets up and makes way to bench. Belanger was fumbling for the puck, had his head down and the captain just plowed him with a shoulder. He’s dazed.
Burns going off for two, I think for slashing Hartnell on a drive to the net. Johnsson during TV timeout is skating it off and will play this shift, so he’s OK. Belanger is drinking water on the bench, so he may be OK.
Backstrom jusst made a sick save. After a Chris Pronger point shot, he denied Giroux with half the net empty with a lunging paddle. Final 41 seconds of Burns’ penalty will be nullified by a Jeff Carter minor. Carter hasn’t been too visible tonight.
It sounds to me like Tommy Thompson is doing the press box announcements tonight. Now Schultz is going off. He broke his stick and had to take a hold. Going to be a 10-second 4-on-3, then 4-on-4.
They keep showing the Richards hit on Belanger on the jumbotron, much to the fans’ delight. Game ops people are as classy here in Philly.
Brodziak almost scored on a 3-on-4.
You wouldn’t believe last four Flyers chances. Wild in this by the skin of its teeth. Being outshot 32-18 now.
NO OVERTIME PLEASE!!!! (hey, it worked last week). Backstrom’s been lucky at times tonight, but man, he had to be good, too. Just great Flyers chances the last two periods.
4-3 Wild. After a Brent Burns steal, he dumps it quick in the corner. Defenseman Ryan Parent puts it in his crease and James Sheppard buries it, 15:40
4-4, after Kim Johnsson walked around yet again by Carter, Backstrom thinks he has Carter’s shot frozen. He doesn’t. He stayed in his crouch at one end post and Danny Briere was wrapping it around the other post at 16:56. By far the weirdest goal I’ve ever seen Backstrom give up. He just thought he had the puck between his pads, never moved and all the while, Briere’s skating behind the net to the other post.
2-0 Flyers to open the period. Boy, Flyers can make something out of nothing on a dime. They have quick plays from the side boards to the net that if you don’t defend, you’re in trouble. And the Wild learned that on the second goal. First goal was a fluke. Second goal was a beauty.
It was a weird first period because the Wild did a lot of things well. But they just can’t get any sustained pressure going. Also no chemistry on any line but the Miettinen-Sheppard-Clutterbuck line.
Wild power play coming up. Zidlicky high-sticked by Richards.
Sykora’s on the second PP unit now. Same point guys. Belanger shoudl be on the power play, either as a point man or along the half wall and Bouchard at the point.
This is like an All-Star Game by the way. No hitting. Like there was a pregame meeting between the two teams, “Let’s not get hurt boys. Regular season’s around the corner.” Can’t say I blame ‘em.
Mike Richards, angry at a check by Cal Clutterbuck, just crosschecked him straight in the face. Minor penalty. Should be a match penalty. It was an intent to injure — plain and simple.
2-1. Martin Havlat power-play goal after Brent Burns stole an attempted home-run pass for a breakaway at the point. He fed Koivu, who fed Havlat for the PPG at 9:02.
Say this for Cal. He woke everybody up in this no-hit affair. Everybody wants a piece of him now, and the Ian Laperriere-Darroll Powe-Daniel Carcillo just went to town physically. Powe and Carcillo almost sent Johnsson to Atlantic City.
Carcillo just negated a Flyers’ power play by taking a run at Clutterbuck. Now they are having a war of words from penalty box to penalty box during the TV timeout. The fans are going crazy and all standing down there as they jaw back and forth.
Johan Backlund now in goal for the Flyboys.
End to end now. 2-on-1 after Shane Hnidy got caught going for a big hit. Giroux makes a sick move, but Backstrom makes the diving save. Then, Clutterbuck comes out of the box, freezes himself from Danny Syvret’s grasp for a breakaway but fires over the net.
John Scott just got a 10-minute misconduct. I didn’t see it, but I don’t think he was on the ice, so it could have been from the bench.
2-2. Brent Burns with 4:24 left. First of all, with the Wild in big trouble in own zone, Mikko Koivu saves the day with a great backcheck off the bench to break up a clear scoring opportunity. In the offensive zone, Sheppard makes a good play to peel off in the slot, turn and find Burns for the blast and maybe first shot the new goalie saw.
2-2 after 2. Cal Clutterbuck, MVP that period. Just woke the boys up.
Flyers starting lineup: Scottie Hartnell-Jeff Carter-Danny Briere; Chris Pronger-Matt Carle
Top line vs. top line to start.
Backstrom robs Hartnell with a great save to start.
Brent Burns going off for high-sticking Daniel Carcillo. Flyers are going on the PECO!!!! POWER PLAY. Very exciting.
1-0 Flyers: Seconds after a great PK, star in the making Claude Giroux takes a harmless-looking shot that hit Nick Schultz’s stick and fluttered over Nik Backstrom at 5:23.
This game shouldn’t be over though. Ray Emery seems to be having trouble picking up shots. Both shots on net were an adventure and two that sailed by he never saw.
Wild going on the power play. Not playing badly. Just had two great shifts in the offensive zone and came close to scoring. But James Sheppard swung and missed at a 2-on-1 chance. What they’re doing a lot of is stealing Flyers outlets.
It’ll be interesting as the season starts here if Todd Richards winds up using a forward at the point on the second power-play unit. That’s where the loss of Bergeron is noticeable. He is using Kim Johnsson and Nick Schultz on the second unit, and that just doesn’t seem like it’ll work. Eric Belanger didn’t see a power-play shift, and he’s played the point before. Could that perhaps work? I’ll ask after. Not a good power play. They had a chance at a good shot, but Brent Burns tried to force a pass to Bouchard and it was sent out.
2-0 flyers: Mika Pyorala off a great pass from Mike Richards
2-0 after 1. Wild’s power-play personnel, I just don’t get it. Not using Petr Sykora? I’ve got to think that’s because this is his first game back from an ankle. Otherwise, why acquire him? Not using Eric Belanger? Using Kim Johnsson and Nick Schultz at points? If you used Belanger or Bouchard as one of the power-play points, you can use Sykora — or just sub Sykora for Sheppard.
Also, Sheppard had a brain cramp with about 18 seconds left that has everybody up here, even Wild personnel, shaking their heads.
From the press box high above the Wachovia Center ice, the Wild and Flyers are about to clash in each team’s last exhibition game.
Ray Emery vs. Niklas Backstrom. Same lineup and lines as I posted this morning. Pierre-Marc Bouchard, a gametime decision, is in the lineup, meaning Jaime Sifers and Nathan Smith are up here with moi.
Todd Richards said this morning he’s looking for a “full 60-minute game” for the first time. He said he was especially looking forward to seeing his full lineup on the ice for the first time, minus Derek Boogaard and Benoit Pouliot, who are on injured reserve. Richards said practices got much better this week with the return of all the injured guys just because teammates have to keep up.
We’ll see if it all comes together tonight against a very good and deep Flyers roster.
Kerry Fraser is officiating his third Wild game of the preseason. Last year in the league for the gelled one.
Chris Rooney from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off has the other orange stripes.