TGIF, State of Hockey Legion! Your normal host, Glen Andresen, is currently pounding chicken soup and Vitamin C tablets, but I know he's following along just like any proud Wild fan should. You're taking one for the team, Glenny, and we appreciate it. Feel better!
Now, I know things weren't exactly fun last night, but its not only a new day, it's also a new in-game commentary with a host who has a win streak going. I'm even thinking "Carly's Third Straight W" will be written and underlined on the white board in the Wild locker room tonight. Just a hunch. The guys really want to rally to keep my bragging rights in full swing.
Let me tell you, Fridays are always a good time but tonight just might be one for the record books. Really, could there be a better start to the weekend than a He-Uge win to end the Wild's drought in Dallas? Save your breath, because I'm going to tell you right now, there isn't.
In case you've been in a cave since before the NHL Lockout, the Wild has been under some sort of voodoo curse on it when it visits the Stars. In fact, Minnesota hasn't won in Dallas since March of 2003, going winless in it's last 13 visits. But fear not, Wild fans. Long streaks like this are always broken in dramatic fashion, and what is more dramatic than a might-as-well-be-a-playoff-game battle royale?
Another reason the Wild drought should end tonight in Dallas? A man named Jose Theodore will be in net for the Wild. Sorry, Stars fans: Theo's 2-0-1 with a 1.87 GAA and .951 SV% in his last four games. So, cue up some heartbreak country ballads because Jose's going to make the Lonestar State feel oh, so lonesome tonight.
As far as the rest of the Wild lineup, it will remain the same. Cal Clutterbuck
(upper body) and Mikko Koivu
(finger) are close to returning but will watch at least one more Wild game from the press box tonight. I know they've - shall we say"borrowed" - a computer from a media member and are following along with Clayton Stoner
(lower body), James Sheppard (knee) and Cam Barker (upper body). Hi guys, hope to see you back on the ice soon!
Though they're probably not as comfy as the sweats I'm currently sporting (and no, I don't get to wear them to home games) your Minnesota Wild are rocking the classic road whites tonight. The Stars have the spiffy black jerseys with "Dallas" across the chest.
Alright, enough of the details. It's time to get down to business in D-Town. Let's get this weekend started off right!Period 1
19:36 - Well, that's helpful in our hopes for a fast Wild start. Thanks, Dallas! Jamie Benn catches John Madden along the boards with a high stick, so the Wild power play will see some time early.
17:36 - The penalty expires without a Wild goal, but it's not for a lack of chances. There are power plays where nothing happens and no momentum is gained, and there are those where you pepper shots with great chances you can build off of. I'm happy to report this one was the latter.
16:46 - Dallas will get a chance on the PP as Minnesota gets caught cheating and is called for too many men on the ice. Andrew Brunette will serve the penalty and I'll be looking for him to bust a move in two minutes for an open breakaway. No, just me?
15:20 - Wow, the officials really like their whistles tonight. Minnesota native Jamie Langenbrunner takes a tripping penalty. We'll have about half a minute of 4-on-4 before Minnesota gets a shortened power play. Don't worry, hard as the officials might try, I won't this become a running commentary of the game's penalties.
13:22 - OK, I promise I wasn't lying. But when the Wild gets called for its second too many men penalty in less than four minutes, I have to let you know about it. Todd Richards doesn't look happy as Martin Havlat goes to the box to serve the bench minor.
11:15 - Havlat gets out of the box and sends a quick pass to a streaking Warren Peters
, who has Chuck Kobasew skating with him. Peters, who I don't think is related to me but clearly has the coolest name on the Wild, sends a backhand shot to the net, but Kari Lehtonen pushes the puck aside.
9:55 - I know this first period has already seen two Wild too many men penalties, but I need to tell you the Wild is playing very well. This is nothing like last night's opening period.
9:03 - Just after a Minnesota 2-on-1 is broken up when Kyle Brodziak
tries to leave a drop pass for the defensemen, Dallas jumps on the puck and gets its own shot at a great 2-on-1. Brenden Morrow gets the shot off, but Jose Theodore is more than up to the task and shuts him down.7:58 - Wild 0, Dallas 1 - Bummer. The Wild's really had some great chances this period, but the Stars will get on the board first. He's only 21, but Benn is already a making a name for himself as an offensive threat in this League. He carries the puck into the Wild zone, powers past Marek Zidlicky and sends a beautiful backhand over the blocker of Theodore.
3:50 - While Morrow and Brad Staubitz start to jaw at each other at center ice, Zidlicky sneaks into the Dallas zone and nearly gets a goal while everyone else seems to be paying attention to the possible fisticuffs brewing. But for now, no dice. Keep an eye on the pair as the clock ticks down.
0:05 - Matt Cullen
streaks down the middle and nearly tips in a Guillaume Latendresse
pass, before Chuck Kobasew jumps on the rebound. Lehtonen is able to get his body in front of the puck during the mad scramble.
0:00 - The Wild isn't able to get any goals despite a flurry at the end of the period. The off-ice officials are only crediting the Wild with four shots in the stanza, but I counted some awesome chances for the Wild. This team has jump tonight and that period certainly gave me a good feeling about the outcome tonight. Grab your electrolytes and come back ready for a Wild goal scoring frenzy!
18:25 - O, so close. Matt Cullen
nearly ties things up to start the middle stanza. Cullen stickhandles into the zone and fires a wicked wrist shot from the top of the circles. He beats Lehtonen but the puck makes that awful clanking noise as the pipe favors the Stars.
16:00 - A look at the NHL scores has shown me that the Kings-Blue Jackets game is final with LA taking a 4-2 win. It never fails, whatever team the Wild would like to win, doesn't. Clearly, the Wild isn't getting any help in the race to the post season and will have to do all the work itself with some all important W's.
13:20 - The Wild is once again putting some pressure in the Dallas end. This time it's Latendresse giving a strong forecheck as Peters and Havlat come in and end up crashing the Stars net.
10:26 - Minnesota is absolutely swarming right now. Martin Havlat, Andrew Brunette and John Madden have reached full-on warrior status in tonight's game. The trio just outwork the Stars and create numerous scoring chances, staying on the ice for what seems like three minutes. Nothing goes in but there are too many chances for me to count.
8:30 - It's safe to say Gui is feeling good in his third game back. Latendresse powers to the net and nearly throws in a wrap around goal. Lehtonen makes the stop and also denies Chuck Kobasew on the rebound attempt. But it's been all Wild for the past five minutes and that's a very good thing. Knock, knock, knock!
7:19 - John Madden and Andrew Brunette might be the old men on the team but they are certainly not playing like it in this period, especially when they're on the ice together. Brunette fires a shot from the left circle and Madden pounds down on the Dallas net. These two are all business tonight. I'm calling a goal for one of them, right now, with the other getting the first assist.
6:40 - It's nice of the Hockey Gods to appreciate Minnesota's effort this period. No, they haven't given us a goal yet (Lil' help?) but they do send an excellent Dallas chance off the iron. Morrow comes in unnoticed and takes a backdoor pass at the bottom of the right circle, throwing a shot towards Theodore that rings off the cross bar.4:08 - Wild 0, Dallas 2 - That was unnecessary and cruel, Hockey Gods. The Stars finally have some pressure and double the lead with a horrible bounce. Trevor Daley fires a shot that deflects off Kyle Brodziak's stick and into the Wild net.
2:55 - Wild 0, Dallas 3 - This really isn't funny. Wandell fires a quick snap shot from the right circle and beats Theodore clean. Just a bam-bam play that has the Wild reeling.
2:37 - Wild 0, Dallas 4 - I really don't have words. Cullen gets the puck behind the Wild net and tries to clear it up the middle, but Mike Ribeiro is there all alone. Ribeiro fires the point-blank shot past Theodore and after the Wild had nearly tied the game with such a great second period, it suddenly finds itself down four. That's three goals in 1:31 and two in :18.
0:00 - Eric Nystrom and Ribeiro collide at the horn. There's a cluster of pushing and shoving, but nothing more will result. The Wild will have to go into the locker room and plan a five-goal comeback. Hey, I told you ending this streak was going to be dramatic.Period 3
20:00 - Turns out there was some consequence to the pushing and shoving at the end of the second. They're saying Nystrom was too good at it and he's in the box to start the period to think about his roughing for two minutes.
17:00 - My apologies to the Hockey Gods. I was just informed that the Wild's string of bad luck tonight can be traced to our NHL assistant for tonight's game, Sergei. Sergio, as I may or may not call him, is a nice enough fellow but I know he's holding his head in shame for not bringing his usual good luck to the State of Hockey tonight. Poor guy desperately wants to be among the ranks of Wild fans, but we'll have to hold onto his membership card for another night. Sorry for the confusion, Hockey Gods; we'd appreciate your help as the Wild keeps on trucking for the rest of the season.
13:13 Theodore is tested as the Stars get a shorthanded chance. Goligoski speeds into the zone and nearly tips a good scoring chance home, but Jose makes a big pad save.
9:00 - A turnover in the Wild zone leads to a dangerous chance for former Bloomington Jefferson Jaguar (Woot, Woot!) Toby Petersen. Sorry Toby, I'll cheer for you against any other team, but I'm happy Theodore makes a stop on your shot from the left side.
5:30 - The time is quickly disappearing in this game and with each passing second the faces of the Wild players look more and more - what's the word - confused, dejected, shocked? Probably all of those, which is definitely what I know you and I are feeling right now. Last night, you understood how it was a 4-0 game. Tonight, it's been nothing like that and the guys' effort on the ice deserves a better outcome than the score currently shows.
0:48 - Scandella shows some offensive skill, carrying the puck through a maze of defenders before dropping the puck to Brodziak who fires a nice shot that just misses the net wide.
0:00 - That'll do it. Two completely different efforts, but the Wild take 4-0 losses in back-to-back nights and will have to regroup in Vancouver.