Found December 15, 2011 on Fox Sports North:
ST. PAUL, Minn. By this time next year, the Minnesota Wild will be in a new conference following the NHL's realignment. When that happens, games against the likes of Winnipeg and Chicago will be conference games.After losing 2-1 Tuesday on the road to the Jets, Minnesota fell 4-3 in a shootout at home Wednesday to the second-place Blackhawks. Both games showed that the Wild might have a few good conference rivalries already building before realignment begins."There's some rivalry there. I'm looking forward to that," first-year Wild coach Mike Yeo said after Wednesday's loss. "I think that we don't like that team that we played tonight, and I think they probably don't like us. I also think that we don't like the team that we played the night before. But we haven't found too many teams that we like yet."Perhaps it was fatigue or road-weariness after finishing a five-game, nine-day road trip the night before, but the Wild came out flat to start Wednesday's game. Minnesota's first shot on goal didn't come until 2:59 remaining in the first period, and the Wild were out-shot 11-2 in the period.The Blackhawks took a 2-0 lead midway through the second period on goals by Marian Hossa and Michael Frolik. But the Wild answered back with two goals later in the period, as Kyle Brodziak and Matt Cullen evened the score. "I think we knew it was going to be a great hockey game and a tough battle all night," said Wild forward Cal Clutterbuck. "It could have gone either way. We played a good game. The second night of a back-to-back, we battled extremely hard."Minnesota was also playing with a shuffled lineup, as it has for a good portion of the season. On Wednesday, Pierre-Marc Bouchard was out after breaking his nose Tuesday against Winnipeg. Cullen returned to the lineup after missing Tuesday's game with an illness. Forward Guillaume Latendresse left Wednesday's contest early after experiencing post-concussion symptoms, Yeo said.Despite it all, however, the Wild managed to battle back and hang with the visiting Blackhawks."We've got guys that are sick, we've got guys that are hurt. We're depleted as it is," Yeo said. "To fall down 2-0 like that, at that point in the game, to battle back and get a point and give yourself a chance to win the game we had a number of chances to win the game I was really, really impressed with our guys." For as entertaining as Wednesday's game was, however, it was almost anticlimactic for it to end in a shootout. After Cullen missed the Wild's first shot and Chicago's Jonathan Toews scored, Dany Heatley never got a shot off against Blackhawks goalie Ray Emery. Chicago won it on a shot by Patrick Kane, who beat Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom to steal a point at Xcel Energy Center.After the Wild battled back twice from behind to tie it, Wednesday's game against two of hockey's top teams was decided in four shots."You feel good, especially when you tie it up and you're thinking a bit of a slow start, but still a great game for us," said Minnesota defenseman Mike Lundin. "To come in with a loss after a shootout, it hurts a bit."The NHL instituted the shootout prior to the 2005-06 season to determine the winner. While there is no perfect solution, the debate has raged on since then about what's best to decide a tie game.Despite the loss, Minnesota is now 4-2 in shootouts. Yeo is confident in his team's ability to win games that go to a shootout."We've won a lot of shootouts already, so we're not afraid of those. We've got guys that can score goals and we've got goalies that can save the puck," Yeo said. "There were a lot of things that I really liked about this game. It sucks that we don't get two points, but this was a win for me. As far as I'm concerned, that's a win for our guys."
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
RELATED ARTICLES

Latendresse returns to the lineup vs. Winnipeg

TUESDAYS STORYLNES: The big story out of Winnipeg is Wild forward Guillaume Latendresse will return to the lineup. Latendresse has missed 15 games with a concussion. Yesterday Yeo had stated he wanted Latendresse to get more practice time, but Matt Cullen came down with the flu overnight and will not be able to play tonight. "Ideally we probably would have liked to give him...

Brodziak biggest surprise on hot Wild

Residents of the State of Hockey continue to be amazed that their Minnesota Wild have the best record in the NHL. Many are also surprised at who leads the team in goal scoring. The correct answer is a third-line center better known for his blue-collar work ethic and strong defensive play, Kyle Brodziak. He had two goals in Saturday's win in Phoenix to bump his season total...

Health Update For The Minnesota Wild

from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune, Pierre-Marc Bouchard suffered a broken nose and cut lip Tuesday night when he was driven face-first into the boards by a Winnipeg defenseman. But the Wild winger said he thinks he has avoided what everyone who knows his history fears—a concussion. Unfortunately for the Wild, Guillaume Latendresse hasn’t. One game after returning from...

A Win Where The Wild Things Are: Blackhawks 3 Wild 3-Hawks win rap battle 2-0.

A Win Where The Wild Things Are: Blackhawks 3 Wild 3Hawks win rap battle 2-0. (Yeah, another lame title. Sorry about that). On the surface, it looked like it would be a standard Hawks/Wild game on Versus: middle of the week in Minnesota, hot Wild team, strong defensively and Nick Backstrom in goal. This had 1-0 Wild win written all over it. Sometimes, these things don’t go to...

Wild problems mounting? Captain Mikko Koivu injured

Captain Mikko Koivu injured himself late in Wednesday night's loss to Chicago.

Pierre-Marc Bouchard A Game-Time Decision

from Michael Russo of Russo’s Rants, Pierre-Marc Bouchard is in the house, road the bike and is now on the ice. I’m no doc, but broken nose is a guarantee, and coach Mike Yeo pretty much confirmed that (“nose is smashed up”). Also has a cut lip. Still, depending on how he feels, he’s a game-time decision. Yeo said he wants to make sure Bouchard feels good because of his...

Reminder: Wild And Hawks Play At 6:30

A reminder to all Minnesota Wild fans that due to the nationally televised broadcast of the top two teams in the Western Conference, the start time for Wednesday's Wild vs. Blackhawks matchup will be 6:30 PM. Fans attending the game should plan on...

With Wild short forward, Latendresse to return from concussion after one practice

Guillaume Latendresse will make a surprise return in first-ever Wild-Winnipeg game

Adrian Dater: Surprising Wild No. 1 in NHL Power Rankings

Quietly, steadily, the Minnesota Wild crept up Adrian Dater's weekly Power Rankings and they've reached the top at last. The Kings qualify as a big surprise in the opposite direction.

Injuries keep coming for Wild

The latest is captain Mikko Koivu, who hurt his leg in overtime against Chicago. First word is it isn't serious.

John Jaeckel: Too Sweet

I’m going glass half full this morning. And I’m sure some will say that’s being negative or pessimistic. Bottom line, the Hawks took 2 road points last night against a very good team—and the only team ahead of them in the Western Conference— the Minnesota Wild. One huge difference between this year’s Hawks club and last years is just that: points...

Chicago Blackhawks (18-8-4) at Minnesota Wild (20-8-3), 7:30 p.m. (ET)

An intriguing matchup between Western Conference powers is on tap tonight in Minnesota, where the Wild entertain the Chicago Blackhawks in a battle of division leaders from Xcel Energy Center.
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.