Team Recap: 35th-Seeded ’08-’09 Minnesota Wild

'08-'09 Wild Logo

The #35 seed in the inaugural Ultimate NHL Playoff, the ’08-’09 Minnesota Wild.

  • Niklas Backstrom (G)
    • 11 GP   5-5-1   2.82 GAA   .922 SV%   1 SO   17 Stars
  • Eric Belanger (C)
    • 11 GP   1 G   5 A   6 P   +1   19 S   0 GWG   0 PIM   3 Stars
  • Marc-Andre Bergeron (D)
    • 10 GP   1 G   1 A   2 P   +3   11 S   0 GWG   2 PIM   2 Stars
  • Derek Boogaard (LW)
    • 8 GP   0 G   0 A   0 P   -1   0 S   0 GWG   0 PIM   0 Stars
  • Pierre-Marc Bouchard (LW)
    • 11 GP   2 G   4 A   6 P   +1   19 S   1 GWG   2 PIM   1 Stars
  • Andrew Brunette (LW)
    • 11 GP   4 G   6 A   10 P   +2   28 S   1 GWG   0 PIM   2 Stars
  • Brent Burns (D)
    • 11 GP   1 G   1 A   2 P   +5   15 S   1 GWG   0 PIM   2 Stars
  • Cal Clutterbuck (RW)
    • 11 GP   1 G   2 A   3 P   -4   19 S   0 GWG   4 PIM   0 Stars
  • Dan Fritsche (C)
    • 5 GP   1 G   0 A   1 P   Even   6 S   0 GWG   0 PIM   0 Stars
  • Marian Gaborik (RW)
    • 11 GP   1 G   0 A   1 P   -1   17 S   0 GWG   0 PIM   0 Stars
  • Colton Gillies (C)
    • 8 GP   0 G   1 A   1 P   Even   0 S   0 GWG   0 PIM   0 Stars
  • Josh Harding (G)
    • 1 GP   0-0-0   0.00   1.000 SV% (10 SA)   0 SO   0 Stars
  • Kim Johnsson (D)
    • 11 GP   0 G   2 A   2 P   -5   16 S   0 GWG   2 PIM   0 Stars
  • Mikko Koivu (C)
    • 11 GP   8 G   5 A   13 P   +3   55 S   1 GWG   6 PIM   2 Stars
  • Antti Miettinen (RW)
    • 11 GP   4 G   3 A   7 P   +1   26 S   1 GWG   0 PIM   3 Stars
  • Owen Nolan (RW)
    • 11 GP   2 G   5 A   7 P   +3   32 S   0 GWG   0 PIM   3 Stars
  • Benoit Pouliot (LW)
    • 5 GP   0 G   1 A   1 P   Even   7 S   0 GWG   0 PIM   0 Stars
  • Erik Reitz (D)
    • 10 GP   0 G   0 A   0 P   -1   0 S   0 GWG   0 PIM   0 Stars
  • Nick Schultz (D)
    • 11 GP   0 G   2 A   2 P   Even   4 S   0 GWG   0 PIM   0 Stars
  • John Scott (D)
    • 10 GP   0 G   0 A   0 P   Even   0 S   0 GWG   0 PIM   0 Stars
  • James Sheppard (C)
    • 11 GP   0 G   1 A   1 P   -4   12 S   0 GWG   2 PIM   0 Stars
  • Martin Skoula (D)
    • 11 GP   0 G   2 A   2 P   -5   7 S   0 GWG   4 PIM   0 Stars
  • Stephane Veilleux (LW)
    • 11 GP   2 G   1 A   3 P   -4   18 S   0 GWG   0 PIM   0 Stars
  • Craig Weller (RW)
    • 5 GP   0 G   0 A   0 P   Even   3 S   0 GWG   0 PIM   0 Stars
  • Marek Zidlicky (D)
    • 11 GP   1 G   7 A   8 P   +1   15 S   0 GWG   6 PIM   0 Stars

Bold – Team Best

Team Stats:

  • Record: 5-5-1
  • Goals Scored: 29
  • Goals/Game: 2.64
  • Goals Allowed: 28
  • Goals Allowed/Game: 2.55
  • Shots: 330
  • Shots Allowed: 360
  • Shots/Game: 30.0
  • Shots Allowed/Game: 32.7
  • # of PP’s: 13
  • PPG’s: 3
  • PP%: 23.1%
  • TSH: 12
  • PPGA: 5
  • PK%: 58.3%
  • Penalties in minutes: 28

Their first round matchup was virtually a 50/50 toss up and the Wild won that, but they faced a much tougher test in the second round. But, based off of talent, this team would not be expected to do anything in a tournament like this anyway.

1st Round:

Defeated 30th-seeded ’11-’12 Phoenix Coyotes, 4-2

2nd Round:

Lost to 3rd-seeded ’07-’08 Detroit Red Wings, 4-1

Under legendary head coach and former player Jacques Lemaire, the ’08-’09 Wild posted a record of 40-33-9, which was good for 89 points and 3rd in the Northwest Division. Minnesota was ranked 22nd in the league in goals for with 219 and 2nd in the league in goals against, typical of a Lemaire system. Hockey Reference ranked the Wild’s strength of schedule at 19th toughest in the league, but their SRS rating system had the Wild as the 10th best team in the league that year. The ’08-’09 Wild’s SRS (0.22) is the fourth highest for any Minnesota Wild team. This Wild team finished 9th in the Western Conference and missed the playoffs by three points.

Like all Lemaire-coached teams, the ’08-’09 Wild did not focus too much on the offensive aspect of the game. Mikko Koivu was by far and away the team’s leading scorer with 67 points. Andrew Brunette was second with 50 and Pierre-Marc Bouchard was third with 46. Longtime NHLer Owen Nolan led the team in goal-scoring with 25 goals in just 59 games played. Nolan was resurrecting his career in ’08-’09, but he missed a lot of games with a variety of injuries. Brunette and Koivu were second and third in goal-scoring with 22 and 20, respectively. Koivu also the team’s leading assist-getter by a wide margin with 47 assists. Bouchard and defenseman Marek Zidlicky were tied for second with 30. Antti Miettinen was third on the team in assists with 29 and he was also one of just two Wild players to play in all 82 games. Lemaire’s system is only as good as the goaltending, and the ’08-’09 Wild had very good goaltending. Niklas Backstrom appeared in 71 games while posting a 2.33 goals against average and a .923 save percentage with eight shutouts. Backup Josh Harding saw action in 19 games and he posted stellar numbers with a 2.21 goals against average and a .929 save percentage.

Up next is the #36 seed, the ’12-’13 Columbus Blue Jackets!

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