It’s only game 3 of the Minnesota Wild season, but the Wild were already making the key stop for the year on the Marc-André Fleury Probable Retirement Tour, with a visit to Montréal. Fleury grew up in Sorel-Tracy, Quebec, which is not exactly next door to Montréal in the same way that, for example, Cannon Falls is not exactly next door to St. Paul - it might not be a suburb, but it’s close enough, for the purposes of a game like this.

So Fleury got his first start of the year, in front of 90 family and friends, and - delightfully - got to play the hits. He won 5-2, stopping 27 shots - including 13 in the third period. He also got to make one save with an athletic toe-poke at the post, and another by stacking the pads and windmilling somebody who was alone in the slot. Fleury was named the game’s first star for his troubles, mostly so that the crowd at the Bell Center Centre could give him a nice ovation after the final horn siren.

The Canadiens are supposed to be absolutely hopeless this season, which naturally - this being the NHL - meant that they started the year with a win and an overtime loss. In this one, though, they were pretty bad; Minnesota opened the scoring by getting two shorthanded goals on the same power play, which should happen pretty much never. Brandon Duhaime and Connor Dewar, also known as Dewy 1 and Dewy 2, got the goals; the Wild ended up pouring it on with three power-play goals, two by Joel Erikkson Ek and one - finally - from Kirill Kaprizov.

At one point in the second period, the shots were 23-5 Minnesota, which tells you about how this game went. This is probably not where Montréal coach Martin St. Louis wants me to note that the Wild were also playing with just 11 forwards; an injury to Alex Goligoski and a total lack of salary-cap room meant the Wild had to not only play Dakota Mermis on defense, but play with one forward missing. They made up for this by playing Kaprizov for 22 minutes and Mats Zuccarello for 19, which I guess is not a bad replacement strategy.

Having now played a man short, the Wild get to call up a player (that’s making less than $875,000) and not have him count against their cap, so presumably we’ll see Sammy Walker or Adam Beckman tomorrow against Los Angeles.

Tuesday Night College Hockey

The Gopher women’s hockey team beat St. Cloud State 2-1 on Tuesday night, which seems a little strange, given that college hockey outside of the Northeast is pretty much strictly a weekend event. That said, the more I think about it, the more I think it’s not exactly the worst thing in the world; the game was on the Big Ten Network, which doesn’t have much to show on weeknights at this time of year, and it’s not like SCSU had to make a long trip home after the game.

Ava Lindsay got the most important goal for the Gophers, who led 1-0 for most of the second and third periods; Taylor Stewart got an empty-netter to mostly seal the game, though SCSU scored with five seconds left to make it 2-1.

Amazingly, goaltender Skyler Vetter very nearly put the puck in her own net off the ensuing faceoff - the puck went straight to her from center ice, she stopped it with her back to the cage and just stood there, giving a flying Huskies forward a chance to whack the puck off the side of the net before time expired. Disaster avoided, just barely, and the Gophers managed to hang on for the win.

Timberwolves Reserves 138, Maccabi Ra’anana 111

In a preseason game that might as well have been a Summer League game, the Wolves’ practice squad defeated an Israeli second-division team. Luka Garza had 30 points, and the Wolves played nine guys, exactly four of which I had heard of before tonight. Draftee Leonard Miller had 22 points and 15 rebounds, too.



WILD vs. Los Angeles, 7pm, BSN

WOLVES at Chicago, preseason, 7pm, BSN




GOPHERS MEN’S HOCKEY at North Dakota, 7pm/6pm, FOX 9 / FOX 9+


WILD at Columbus, 7pm, BSN
LOONS at Sporting KC, 8pm, Apple TV


GOPHERS VOLLEYBALL vs Michigan State, 2pm


VIKINGS vs San Francisco, 7:15pm, ABC and ESPN