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Wild lose game and shutout streak

Minnesota Wild defenseman Justin Falk, left, checks St. Louis Blues left wing David Perron in the first period of a preseason NHL game Wednesday in St. Paul. AP Photo/Andy King

he Minnesota Wild fell in a preseason opening contest with the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday night, 5-1.

Martin Havlat opened the scoring with a goal 42 seconds after the opening puck drop. He buried a centering feed from Mikko Koivu.

The Blues answered with three first period goals, and two more in the second.

Five different Blues scored goals, and all came against Niklas Backstrom.

Anton Khudobin played the third period for the Wild, and stopped all 10 shots faced.

The Wild is expected to make its first roster cutdown on Thursday morning. It looks as though nine players will be sent to Houston or their respective junior teams.

Brad Staubitz was assessed 11 penalty minutes in his first game in a Wild sweater. He also had his first fight, squaring off with Cam Janssen in the third period.

With a crowd of 16,219, the Wild had its consecutive sellout streak snapped at 409. It was the first non-sellout at any Wild game in franchise history including preseason, regular season and postseason.

"The Minnesota Wild is proud and humbled by the great support fans have shown for the team since 1997. Our streak of 409 consecutive games sold out establishes a new mark for an expansion NHL franchise," Wild Chief?Operating Officer Matt Majka said.

Wild owner Craig?Leipold reacted to the end of streak.

"For the past decade, thanks to your incredible support and enthusiasm, our team has made headlines for many achievements, on and off of the ice. There was always one headline that we knew was inevitable at some point: "Sellout streak comes to an end." It might have come in the early years, before the first playoff run in 2003. Or maybe in 2005 after the Wild, along with the rest of the NHL, shut down for an entire season. It didn't. You welcomed us back, and you kept the streak going.

You will finally read that headline in the paper tomorrow morning. We're here tonight to say, "Thank You." Nine full seasons and 409 straight games with a filled arena means the "State of Hockey" is no slogan; we love our game. The first non-sellout means the Minnesota Wild organization has to do better, both on and off the ice, in everything we do. Our team this season will work hard to earn your support; we'll be better. We know, when a new sellout streak begins, it will be because we've earned it."