Tonight at the Xcel Energy Center, Finnish brothers Mikko Koivu of the Minnesota Wild and Saku Koivu of the Anaheim Ducks will face each other for the 8th time in their NHL careers.
The Koivu brothers, known for their hard work and leadership, have faced each other 3 times while Saku was with the Montreal Canadiens and 4 times since he signed with the Ducks. Saku’s teams have won 4 times to Mikko’s 3 wins. Saku has scored a goal and 4 assists in their meetings while Mikko has 3 goals and 3 assists. Three of their 7 games have gone to overtime with one of those going all the way to the shootout. A quick look at their previous meetings:
December 17, 2005- MIN 4 MTL 3 OT
This was the first meeting of the brothers as Mikko was in his rookie year. Saku had an assist while Mikko went pointless. Interesting to note that current Wild goalie Jose Theodore would have been the starter for the Canadiens in this game but was injured by a shot off of his knee in the previous game.
November 22, 2006- MTL 4 MIN 2
Saku had an assist as he evened up the series with his brother. Mikko once again went pointless. This game was also the Wild debut of Benoit Pouliot who would later be traded to the Canadiens.
October 30, 2008- MTL 2 MIN 1
This game was significant as it was the first and, to date only, time that brothers have faced off as captains of their respective teams. Neither brother scored a point as Saku went up 2-1 in the series. Also in this game Wild D Brent Burns, a forward in juniors, was moved to forward because of injuries to Marian Gaborik and Owen Nolan. He scored a goal on his first shift which unfortunately led to him getting more time at forward than he should have throughout the 08-09 season.
October 6, 2009- MIN 4 ANA 3 OT
In the off season, new Wild GM Chuck Fletcher made a strong pitch to bring Saku to the Wild to play alongside his brother. Saku’s hesitance to step on his brother’s toes, combined with his desire to play alongside friend Teemu Selanne lead him to sign with the Anaheim Ducks instead. This game was a big one for both brothers as they each scored a goal. That goal was also Mikko’s first point in the series as he evened it up 2-2 with the win.
October 14, 2009- ANA 3 MIN 2
Neither brother had much of an impact on the scoreboard in this one as Saku goes up 3-2 in the series.
December 4, 2009- MIN 5 ANA 4 SO
Mikko had his biggest game of the series scoring 2 goals and adding an assist. Saku went pointless. In the shootout both brothers missed their respective shots with Mikko missing the first shot and Saku missing the last one. As recently acquired Guillaume Latendresse had scored just prior, Saku’s miss gave the win to the Wild.
December 29, 2009- ANA 4 MIN 2
Each brother had 2 assists in this game as Saku took the 4-3 series lead. A little over a month later the brothers would be teammates in the Olympics as Finland brought home the Bronze medal.
Tonights game should be a good one. The Wild bounced back from 2 losses to beat Tampa Bay in their last game. They, however, will once again be without the suspended Brent Burns. The Ducks, meanwhile, are coming off of their 2nd straight loss following 6 straight wins. They played last night in Dallas while the Wild have been off since Sunday. In the 4 meetings between Anaheim and Minnesota last season the home team won each time. Can Mikko and the Wild continue that trend and even up the series? We shall know soon enough
Correction: Previously misstated that Team Finland won the Silver Medal at the Olympics. I apologize to Bobby Ryan for trying to steal his nickname from him.
Topics: Anaheim Ducks, Benoit Pouliot, Brent Burns, Chuck Fletcher, Finland, Guillaume Lantendresse, Jose Theodore, Marian Gaborik, Mikko Koivu, Minnesota Wild, Montreal Canadiens, NHL, Owen Nolan, Saku Koivu, Teemu Selanne