We have a few more minor signings to bring to your attention:
— The Tennessean is reporting that the Nashville Predators have re-signed Brandon Yip and Chris Mueller.
Mueller signed a one-year, two-way deal that will pay him $550,000 if he spends the season in the NHL. He had 60 points in 73 AHL contests in 2011-12, but at the age of 26, he’s participated in just 19 NHL games.
Yip inked a one-year, $750,000 contract extension. He had three goals and seven points in 25 contests with the Predators after Nashville claimed him off of waivers from the Avalanche on Jan. 19. He also had a goal and an assist in 10 playoff games.
— According to the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune, Chad Rau and Chay Genoway have both inked two-way deals with Minnesota.
Genoway had seven goals and 36 points in 72 games with the AHL Houston Aeros. He made his NHL debut on April 7 and registered an assist in Minnesota’s 4-1 loss to Phoenix.
Rau had two goals in nine games with the Minnesota Wild last season. He also had 35 points in 67 AHL contests.
Niklas Backstrom now has four shutouts this season and they haven’t come easy. This is the third time he’s silenced the opposition despite facing at least 37 shots through 60 minutes. Still, this was arguably his best performance of 2011-12 as Backstrom kicked out 48 Bruins shots, including 22 in the third period alone, to lead the Wild to a 2-0 victory over Boston.
Chad Rau scored his second career NHL goal in the second period and, as was the case with his first goal, it proved to be the game winner. Matt Cullen added some insurance with a power-play goal just 5:15 minutes later.
Tyler Seguin recorded six shots on goal, but he now has just three points in his last 10 games. Patrice Bergeron, who leads the Bruins in points, was one of just two Boston players to finish the game without a shot on goal. Between the pipes, Tim Thomas was unable to secure his 25th win of the season, but he did snap his three-start streak of allowing three goals per game.
This victory was desperately needed by the Minnesota Wild, who lost their previous seven contests. Minnesota has dropped to 12th place in the Western Conference and they’ll need to turn things around quickly if they want to make the playoffs. The Wild will get a three day breather before their scheduled contest against the Florida Panthers on Thursday. They’ll then play the Dallas Stars on Friday in a critical meeting between two teams trying to claw their way into the playoff race.
For the Boston Bruins, the Northeast Division title is there’s to lose, but they might do just that if they fail to break out of their current funk. Boston has now lost six of their last nine games. They’ll play in St. Louis on Wednesday and the Buffalo Sabres on Friday. They’ll follow that up with a key home-and-home series against their closest competitor in the division, the Ottawa Senators.
Minnesota-native Chad Rau is playing in just his fifth NHL game, but he can now say that he’s gotten one by a two-time Vezina Trophy winner. Check out Rau’s goal below.
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Rau gave the Wild a 1-0 lead and Minnesota is currently up 2-0 early in the third period. This is Rau’s second career goal. He also scored in his NHL debut on Jan. 21. If the Bruins don’t score, then both of Rau’s first two goals will prove to be game winners.
Found this little nugget in the game recap from Tuesday’s Ducks-Wild game, which Anaheim won 2-1:
Minnesota has used an NHL-high 39 players this season, one away from the team record of 40 set last season.
Look, we’ve piled on the Wild quite a bit here at PHT, mostly for good reason. They were first overall in the league as recently as Dec. 15, but now find themselves 21st overall (12th in the Western Conference, five points out of a playoff spot.)
But 39 players? By Feb. 15? That’s pretty harsh.
Even harsher is the quality of players Minnesota’s gone through. They include:
Jon DiSalvatore: A 30-year-old winger that last played in the NHL in 2006.
Jeff Taffe: Best known for marrying Wayne Gretzky’s niece, Taffe, 30, has played for six different organizations since the lockout.
Jed Ortmeyer: 33 years old, nearly had his career ended in 2006 after being diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism.
There’s also a laundry list of younger players you’ve never heard of, like Chad Rau, Jarod Palmer, Kris Fredheim and David McIntyre.
In closing, I vow to take it easy on the Wild from here on in and actually starting cheering for them to set a franchise record. Why stop at 40? We can do 50, Minnesota. Yes we can.