via Getty Images
With the team essentially intact (only Marek Zidlicky was out with injury), the Wild took to the ice looking for one last warmup before seven days off to rest and practice and finalize the roster. Leaving Montreal healthy was goal number 1, leaving Montreal healthy was goal number 2 and leaving Montreal healthy was goal number 3. Of course, winning would be nice, but looking ready for the season and being healthy is far, far more important. Luckily, the Wild won, 3-0 on goals from Gaborik, Veilleux and Miettinen.
From Star Tribune
The Wild skated so well and played so tightly that the speedy Canadiens, a team being picked by many to win the East, looked slow.
"To play that way and finish that well will be a big positive heading into a week of practice and ultimately that first game," defenseman Nick Schultz said.
Shockingly, the lines at the beginning of the night were not the lines by the end of the night. Good to see some things haven't changed.
Four new lines: Lemaire unveiled a top line of Stephane Veilleux, James Sheppard and Marian Gaborik. The fast trio was stellar in all three zones, with Gaborik scoring a beauty of a wrister and Veilleux scoring his team-leading fourth preseason goal.
"They support very well. You could tell," Lemaire said. "Veilleux played his best game I've seen him play. I mean, feeding Gaby, making all kind of plays. "And Sheppard is a great complement."
With the Wild winning 3-0, Backstrom had to have been decent, right?
Niklas Backstrom was so good, the classy fans in Montreal gave him a standing O at one point.
Yeah, that's not bad.
GM Doug Risebrough said the Wild, which will make cuts today, plans to keep a 23-man roster, including injured defenseman Kurtis Foster. That's 13 forwards, seven defensemen and two goalies.
Lemaire played his "best lineup" on Saturday, and Colton Gillies and Benoit Pouliot were in it.
If Zidlicky's not ready, Risebrough could initially keep Reitz and Tomas Mojzis.
Call me crazy, but I have absolutely no problem with this roster, but as soon as Skoula costs the team a couple games, or tries to poke our goalie's eye out with a stick again, he's gotta be gone and Mojzis has to be in his spot.
From the other side
Nice series of quotes here from the Habs Inside/Out live blog of the game
- No stats on completed passes. But if there were it would be 115-22 Minnesota.
- Man, that Gaborik can fly! Right around Komisarek.
Price has been spectacular, or it would be 5-0
- Minnesota is running a clinic on puck-possession hockey. This is how
Detroit played to win the Cup: short, crisp passdes, constant movement,
forwards back in puck support, ferocious forecheck,
- A Jacques Lemaire team: Great on D, lightning fast in transition.
Boy, that all sounds outstanding, huh? By the way, you have to read Habs Inside/Out. It has exceptional insight and the community is great. It has quickly become a favorite of mine.