Minus Koivu, Wild offense stumbles again 20 Dec 11

The Wild got Pierre-Marc Bouchard back Monday in Vancouver, but it wasn’t enough in a 4-0 loss to the Canucks.

Severely depleted, the Wild got outskilled by the Sedin Twins as Daniel and Henrik combined for six points to extend the Wild’s winless skid to four games (0-2-2).

The Wild again played without captain Mikko Koivu, who missed his second game with a leg injury. He might play Tuesday in Calgary, and, boy, the Wild need him.

The Wild lack fire, scoring chances and all-around consistent play without their engine. Koivu plays a part in almost every facet of the Wild’s game, so it’s not a shock the Wild, who have impressed by sticking to their system, have abandoned it at times the last two games.

Several of the Wild’s veterans haven’t played well, including leading goal scorer Kyle Brodziak, sniper Dany Heatley and veteran defenseman Nick Schultz.

“As a team, we have to have from top to bottom every guy going out and playing his game the way he’s supposed to play it really, really well,” coach Mike Yeo said. “We have to play our team game, we have to stick with it. We’re down bodies. We know that. But we’re fine. We can still win games. I know that. But we have to every guy doing his job extremely well and we have to have our team going out with the right focus every shift.”

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NHL Team Report – Minnesota Wild – NOTES, QUOTES

–F Zack Phillips’ signing finally became official Monday. Two days after he ticked off the organization by tweeting that he had signed, the Wild’s 2011 first-round pick (28th overall) was officially signed to a three-year, $2.775 million deal — the max for a 2011 draft pick.

Phillips will remain with Saint John of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, where he’s sixth in league scoring with 54 points. He is second in the Q with a plus-30. He has points in 29 of 32 games this season, including a league-best 22-game point streak.

–The Wild have led the Northwest Division for much of the season, but the defending Western Conference champion Vancouver Canucks are right on their tail.

“They were a Stanley Cup finals team last year, so you knew they’d find their way eventually,” left wing Cal Clutterbuck said. “That doesn’t change what we have to do, our approach, or anything like that.”

QUOTE TO NOTE: “I’m smiling, right?” — Wild LW/RW Pierre-Marc Bouchard when asked if he would be returning Monday. He had missed two games because of a broken nose.

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NHL Team Report – Minnesota Wild – ROSTER REPORT

PLAYER NOTES:

–LW/RW Pierre-Marc Bouchard returned from a broken nose Monday in Vancouver and skated on a line with C Matt Cullen and RW Dany Heatley. “Even just watching them in practice, they looked great together,” coach Mike Yeosaid. “Lot of movement, a lot of opening up lanes for each other.”

–C Mikko Koivu missed his second game with a leg injury Monday, but he skated and is a possibility to return Tuesday in Calgary.

–LW Jed Ortmeyer made his season debut and became the 34th player to dress for the Wild this season. Ortmeyer played on a line with Houston Aeros linemate Warren Peters and Jarod Palmer.

–With Bouchard’s return, RW Chad Rau’s NHL debut was put on hold. The former Colorado College forward said, “The way guys have been getting hurt, I’ll just be ready. It’s been a dream of mine ever since I’ve been little, so to be this close is awesome.”

–RW Jarod Palmer was still beaming about his six-shot NHL debut in Saturday’s shootout loss to the Islanders. Palmer, a native of Fridley, took 15 friends and family members for dinner and drinks afterward.

“It was awesome just to see my family down in the family room in the Wild rink. They felt special being in there,” Palmer said. “They all bought tickets, so I just decided to buy them dinner. It was a great time.”

–The Wild reassigned C Cody Almond. Veteran D Greg Zanon was scratched for the second time in three games.

MEDICAL WATCH:

–C Mikko Koivu (leg) was injured Dec. 14 against Chicago and missed his second game Monday in Vancouver. He is skating and could return Tuesday in Calgary or Thursday in Edmonton.

–LW Casey Wellman (wrist) missed his third game Monday and is not on the Wild’s three-game pre-Christmas road trip.

–RW Devin Setoguchi (knee) missed his sixth game Monday. He is on injured reserve and has yet to begin practicing.

–D Justin Falk (chest) missed his 11th game Monday but is ready to return.

–LW Guillaume Latendresse is completely shut down after suffering another concussion Dec. 14 against Chicago one game after returning from a 15-game absence caused by a concussion.

GOALTENDERS:

–Niklas Backstrom

–Josh Harding

DEFENSE PAIRINGS:

–Marco Scandella, Jared Spurgeon

–Nick Schultz, Mike Lundin

–Clayton Stoner, Marek Zidlicky

FIRST LINE:

–LW Dany Heatley, C Matt Cullen, RW Pierre-Marc Bouchard

SECOND LINE:

–LW Cal Clutterbuck, C Kyle Brodziak, RW Nick Johnson

THIRD LINE:

–LW Jarod Palmer, C Warren Peters, RW Jed Ortmeyer

FOURTH LINE:

–LW Colton Gillies, C Darroll Powe, RW Brad Staubitz