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Happy Thursday evening, Wild fans! It's Carly Peters here, digital media coordinator for the Wild. Your usual host, Glen Andresen, is taking the night off, but he left me with the instructions saying "knock their socks off!" Glen's a smart fellow, so that will be my plan, indeed. I'll give you a few moments to go pile on a few thick wool pairs ... All set? OK, I just wanted to ensure your toes stay toasty, even as I make the layers disappear while we camp out and watch the Wild defeat the Rangers tonight in New Yawwwk.
You may not know this, but I was a New Yorker during my four collegiate years, so that means I'm allowed to bust out all of the New York stereotypes in tonight's commentary. Really, I deserve some compensation for years of people telling me I talked like a Canadian or asking me about life on the farm, and there will be no sweeter payment than a Wild win tonight. New Yorkers can be wonderful and gracious people, but tonight, I wish them nothing but zero points in the standings and maybe a few beverages as they suppress their sadness with an abundance of hawwwt dawwwgs.
I'm not usually one to brag, but since we are going up against a New York team tonight and that's what they do, I think it's fitting to mention the Wild victory in my previous in-game commentary. The guys in the Wild locker room are such team players, I just know they're focused on securing my first commentary win streak with a big ol' W in Manhattan.
My confidence in getting the win tonight was all but secured when I heard Mr. Jose Theodore will start in net for the Wild. In case you've been on another planet or are just an East Coast-biased person, he's really good. In fact, the guy is 8-0-1 in his last nine games at MSG, so, the folks in Manhattan should get ready for a mass of angry hockey fans tonight.
Another player expected to help the Wild cause is Cal Clutterbuck
. Despite Trevor "Nine Game Suspensions Mean Nothing To Me" Gillies' attempt to knock Cal out in last night's game, Clutter is expected to be in the lineup tonight. The Wild lineup has really been back-and-forth today, but Casey Wellman was recalled from Houston and is expected to take the spot of Jed Ortmeyer
. I won't even bother guessing at the Wild lines because Todd Richards indicated they will be shuffled, and the way the lineup information has come out today, he very well might be drawing random jersey numbers.
As I put my faith in the Wild players out East, I'd like to take a moment to give a special shoutout to the guys back in Minnesota who are not only watching tonight's game on TV, but undoubtedly following along on live, in-game commentary, like all good banged-up Wild players do. Hey Cam (upper body), Mikko (finger), Guillaume (hip), Josh (knee) and James (knee) - hope you're feeling better!
Finally, since they say New York's the fashion capital of the U.S., I'll fill you in on threads the guys are wearing tonight. The Rangers are living up to their nickname as "The Blueshirts" by sporting royal blue jerseys with "Rangers" slanted across the chest. They're nice sweaters but they don't hold a candle to the Wild's traditional white road jerseys.
Alright, that's enough hype for this game; you'd think we were in New York or something! Let's get on with it. Sit back, relax and prepare your socks for the certainty that they'll be knocked off.Period 1
20:00 - Great news. As expected Cal Clutterbuck
is playing tonight. He's on the Wild's starting line along with John Madden and Matt Cullen
. The Wild line watching tonight should be a game in itself.16:47 - Wild 0, Rangers 1 - Ewww. As if the Rangers scoring first wasn't bad enough, it goes to one of the most obnoxious guys in the league. As the Wild players get distracted watching the puck, Erik Christensen sends a beautiful pass from behind the net to Sean Avery as he streaks in down the middle and deposits the puck past Theodore.
13:49 - I'm not the bearer of good news (yet). After the Rangers goal, they swarm the Wild end peppering Theodore with shots. Jose looks to play the puck behind the Wild net but accidentally sends the puck over the glass. Theo looks up to the heavens as the Wild go shorthanded for delay of game.
11:49 - The Wild kill is highlighted by nice plays from Eric Nystrom and John Madden, who both take the puck into the Rangers zone and time off the clock. Minnesota's able to kill off the penalty and can hopefully use the momentum to start getting some shots on goal.
9:58 - There's a bit of a scuffle in front of the Wild net after Mr. Avery goes after Jared Spurgeon
, you know, cause Spurge is such a big, tough guy. When the better-sized Clayton Stoner
wants a piece, Avery decides he doesn't want to go.
5:56 - According to the FSN broadcast, the Wild are being outshot 5-0. I don't know if it feels quite that bad, but regardless, it goes from bad to worse as Clutterbuck flips the puck into the seats and gets the Wild's second delay of game call in 10 minutes.
3:55 - The Rangers don't score on the power play, but it's not for lack of chances. Theo is forced to make numerous saves, including one spectacular paddle save on Ryan Callahan. The Wild's offense might be struggling, but Jose is not.
2:42 - Good news, the Wild finally gets some sustained pressure in the Rangers zone, and not surprisingly, it's Martin Havlat leading the rush. Marty takes the puck in the zone and after Spurgeon blasts a shot from the point, Havlat corrals the rebound and sends a shot past Henrik Lundqvist, but the puck hits the outside of the post.
0:00 - While I'm sure the Wild would like to have a re-do on that period, I'm going to take the optimist approach and say Minnesota is only down one, and looked MUCH better in the final three minutes of the period. Combined with the power of electrolytes, this should mean a Minnesota storm to start the second. Period 2
19:45 - The Rangers get an A+ chance as Brian Boyle fires a shot from the right circle, but it misses just wide of Theodore and bounces off the end boards. You sort of feel like those are the goals that have been going against the Wild lately. So if they aren't going in, maybe the Hockey Gods are wanting to help us out tonight.
16:52 - Christensen heads to the box for high sticking and the Wild has a great chance to even the game with its first power play of the night.15:24 - Wild 1, Rangers 1 - See what happens when you have some faith!?! All even, so step away from the ledges, hockey fanatics. The Wild struggled to get the puck out of its zone with the man advantage, but once they did, you felt like it was going to lead to something. And my did it. After some brilliant passing, a few spins by Brent Burns and other great plays by the power play unit, Spurgeon blasts a shot from the right point. Good things happen when you shoot the puck, and this time, it's Kyle Brodziak tipping the rubber past Lunqvist, and just like that, it's all even.
10:55 - After the Rangers get their first bit of sustained pressure in a while, the Wild turns the puck over behind its net and Greg Zanon takes a tripping penalty. Minnesota will be shorthanded yet again, but will try to go 3-for-3 on the PK.
8:55 - The Wild is still perfect on special teams for the night. Of course, much of this has to do that Jose Theodore decided to be a beast tonight. Regardless, I'll give a metaphorical stick tap to the PK-ers and thank the Hockey Gods that our shot-blocking machine is now out of the sin bin.7:24 - Wild 2, Rangers 1 - Sweet Sassy Molassey! (Or some other witty Glen remark.) Just as I'm starting to type about how great Andrew Brunette is, young Casey Wellman decides he wants in on the action. After Brunette absolutely dominates the space behind the net, he sends a pass to Brent Burns, who blasts a shot from the right point. Much like Avery's goal, Wellman slides in unnoticed and tips the puck past Lundqvist. That'll not only get the Wild brain trust to take a second look at your call up, that will get you a shoutout on in-game commentary - Hey-O, Casey!
4:21 - Play-by-play man Dan Terhaar just informed me the Rangers are leading shots, 24-10. Yowza! I didn't think it was that bad. But you know what, goalies can win games and Theodore is doing that for the Wild tonight.
2:00 - The boys are feeling it! Martin Havlat's not known for his one-timer but man, he has a blast. Pierre-Marc Bouchard
enters the New York zone and drops the puck to Havlat, who rifles a bomb. Lundqvist makes the save, but it epitomizes how much better the Wild is playing this period. This team is swarming, in both zones, after getting the second goal and that's very good news.
0:00 - The horn sounds as the Rangers faithful send down a chorus of Booo's. Oh, those New Yorkers, always a happy and patient bunch. A wonderful second period for the Wild sees Minnesota take the lead. I'm not going to type our record when leading after two, but, as I knock on wood, I'll let you know it's not too shabby.Period 3
18:30 - The Havlat-Brodziak-Bouchard line is really heating up. When they're hot, that skill is really something fun to watch. They get a couple of chances on Lundqvist, but no dice.
17:05 - A great chance for the Rangers to tie things up, but Theodore remains solid. From his knees, Christensen slides a great pass to Vinny Prospal, who's in all alone. Theo makes himself big as they go 1-on-1 and you can tell Prospal's thinking hard about how to get the puck past Jose. He takes too much time thinking and doesn't get a solid shot off as the puck slides wide.
15:15 - Boyle gets a great jump into the zone, but Jared Spurgeon
, who's literally an entire foot shorter than the Ranger, stays with him. Boyle is only able to get a sliding backhand shot off, but it creates a dangerous rebound, which Clayton Stoner
smartly pushes to the sideboards.
13:00 - The crowd is finally back in it, chanting "Let's Go Rangers" after New York has its best pressure in a while. It's a TV timeout, so hopefully the Wild will take the break and regroup.11:45 - Wild 3, Rangers 1 - Holler! Does this line have chemistry or what? After Kyle Brodziak makes the hit in the corner to steal the puck, Martin Havlat carries the puck in on Lundqvist. At the last minute, Marty makes the pass back to Bouchard who absolutely tees off at the hash marks and blasts the puck in the net. As great as the offensive effort was, I'd be remiss if I didn't say this play came after Clayton Stoner and Wellman both saved goals in the Wild end. Quite the reversal of fortunes in one minute.
5:40 - You can just see how frustrated the Rangers are becoming. Minnesota's obviously clamping down with a two-goal lead and less than six minutes left, and New York can't seem to get any sustained pressure. That's good news for Wild fans.
4:30 - I'll take this opportunity to remind you that Pierre-Marc Bouchard
was my selection for today's wild.com Fantasy Spotlight. Such a nice guy, that PMB, he doesn't let you down. That's 3-4=7 for Butch in his last six games. Big time players...
2:00 - Lundqvist heads to the bench as the Rangers are forced to pull the goalie early down two markers.
1:05 - Eric Nystrom shows his usual hustle as he carries the puck out of the Wild zone. He's surrounded by blueshirts as he aims for the open net at center ice, but a Ranger stick forces the puck to go into the crowd.
0:00 - Hooah! Thanks for the win streak, guys! I knew you'd help me out. After a forgettable first period, the Wild work to get back in the game and take a 3-1 comeback victory in the Big Apple. The Wild get a huge two points that puts them, for now at least, into a tie for seventh in the West.