Wild’s drive to top, followed by two clunkers 28 Nov 11

After riding high with 10 wins in 12 games and leading the NHL, the Wild has lost two consecutive games 5-2, the latest being an unsightly one Sunday to the Calgary Flames.

The Wild struggled in every facet — goaltending, defensively and offensively, where its forecheck was hideous.

Coach Mike Yeo joked afterward that the good news is the Wild can’t play any worse.

“That game’s not a question of character, it’s not a question of desire or want or anything else,” Yeo said. “Everybody’s been talking about how we’re in first place and things have been going great and we’ve won 10 out of 12 and lots of great stuff, but along the way, it’s not like we were saying we’re here and we’re not going to have a road bump or two along the way.

“Tonight was a road bump. It’s a pretty good indication of we’re not there yet as far as understanding of what our game is, of how we have to play the game, how we have to prepare before we go into a game.”

The Wild’s battle level was not where it needed to be, but the last time this happened was two weeks ago in Los Angeles. The Wild was given the ability to respond 24 hours later in Anaheim and did so impressively, winning 3-2.

The Wild will have a chance to redeem itself again Monday against Tampa Bay.

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NHL Team Report – Minnesota Wild – NOTES, QUOTES

–The Wild paid tribute to the late Derek Boogaard, the team’s longtime enforcer, before Sunday’s game against the Calgary Flames. Boogaard’s family, which included father Len, mother Joanne, brothers Aaron, Ryan and Curtis, sister Krysten, grandparents Peter and Nancy and stepmother Jody, was on hand.

“I remember the first game that I was here. It was against Calgary (Oct. 5, 2005),” Len Boogaard told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “And this will probably be the last game I’ll see here. And it’s against Calgary.”

–The Wild produced a beautiful five-minute video tribute of Boogaard that included comments from Wild players Nick Schultz and Josh Harding, former Wild players Marian Gaborik, Andrew Brunette and Brent Burns and former Rangers teammates Brian Boyle and Brandon Prust.

The Wild presented the Boogaards with a painting, added a Boogaard memorial to the main concourse of the arena and donated $10,000 to Boogaard’s favorite charity, Defending The Blue Line.

“Anybody who knew Derek knew what he was like as a person,” said Aaron Boogaard. “The fans only got to see him on the ice. On the ice and off the ice, he was completely different, and you loved him for both.

“Minnesota’s showing a really good side of him that wasn’t really shown this summer as much. It’s just to see the better parts of Derek — the real parts.”

Boogaard died of a toxic mix of alcohol and painkillers. He long battled with addiction and tried to beat it unsuccessfully in rehab.

“It’s a disease, and sometimes it just gets a hold of you,” Aaron Boogaard told the Star Tribune. “Some of the best people out there can’t beat it. It’s a shame.”

QUOTE TO NOTE: “This can’t happen again.” — Wild captain Mikko Koivu after Sunday’s 5-2 loss to Calgary.

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NHL Team Report – Minnesota Wild – ROSTER REPORT

PLAYER NOTES:

–D Mike Lundin, finally recovered from a back injury, might make his Wild debut Monday night against his former team, the Tampa Bay Lightning, coach Mike Yeo said after Sunday’s 5-2 loss to Calgary. “I’m as ready as you can be, I guess, without playing games,” said Lundin, who last saw game action with Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference final last season. “But conditioning-wise, practice-wise and now health-wise, I feel great. Ready to go. It’s been a long start to the season for me. Obviously, I’m anxious to get in there.”

–D Justin Falk and D Nate Prosser, both rookies, have struggled so much lately, coach Mike Yeo indicated the coaching staff would discuss whether D Greg Zanon should return from a groin injury against the Lightning. He has missed 16 games.

–G Niklas Backstrom had a .960 save percentage in his previous six games but was starting for the first time since Nov. 17 in Sunday’s loss to Calgary. He gave up three goals on eight shots and was pulled by 8:45 of the first. “He’s been really good. He had an off night,” coach Mike Yeo said.

–RW Cal Clutterbuck has goals in four of the last eight games.

–C Mikko Koivu has a five-game point streak.

MEDICAL WATCH:

–D Mike Lundin is back skating with the Wild after a two-game conditioning stint with Houston of the AHL. Lundin, who has missed the season with a back injury and hasn’t played in an NHL game since the Eastern Conference final last season, might make his season debut Monday against his old team, Tampa Bay.

–D Greg Zanon, who has missed 16 games with a groin injury, is getting close to a return, and that could come Monday against Tampa Bay.

–LW Guillaume Latendresse is out indefinitely with a concussion.

–D Marek Zidlicky (concussion) is skating and working out but is out indefinitely.

GOALTENDERS:

–Niklas Backstrom

–Josh Harding

DEFENSE PAIRINGS:

–Marco Scandella, Jared Spurgeon

–Clayton Stoner, Nick Schultz

–Justin Falk, Nate Prosser

FIRST LINE:

–LW Devin Setoguchi, C Mikko Koivu, RW Dany Heatley

SECOND LINE:

–LW Cal Clutterbuck, C Matt Cullen, RW Pierre-Marc Bouchard

THIRD LINE:

–LW Darroll Powe, C Kyle Brodziak, RW Nick Johnson

FOURTH LINE:

–LW Colton Gillies, C Warren Peters, RW Brad Staubitz