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Hey-O, State of Hockey legion! It's Carly Peters here, Digital Media Coordinator for the Wild. Your usual in-game commentary host, Glen Andresen, is in full daddy duty tonight as he preps for Hockey Day Minnesota tomorrow, so I'll be your commentator for tonight's showdown with the Blues. Now I know you might be a bit sad since Glen's such a funny fellow, but no worries Wild fans; didn't you know he gets all of his witty humor from me? Yup, you're in for a night of fun so sit back and relax. Plus, we all know the best Friday night plans include following along with a Wild win, so it's time to hang out with the cool kids.
I know Glen's jealous of my humor and has thus been dissing my live, in-game commentary record since he's pulled in some solid W's lately and I've yet to garner one in my few appearances this year. To that, I say there's a reason "third time's the charm" is a famous saying. The Wild are dialed in lately, so I'm fully confident we'll be putting the Blues firmly in the rear-view mirror after this weekend.
If you can believe it, tonight's game will be the first time the Western Conference foes meet all season. Again, there's no need to worry because there should be plenty of intensity in this one. Both teams will want to come out strong because there will be two games between them in a 25-hour span, and let's not forget that these two games could very much make or break the Blues' postseason hopes.
Of course, the news gets worse for the Blues: not only are they facing a team that's on a 7-2-0 streak, they've got to go up against Jose Theodore tonight. Womp, womppppp! Jose's been feeling it lately, making 38 saves in his last start and looking stellar in practice, so it's going to be a long night for the Blue and Yellow faithful. Sorry, guys!
As for the apparel, Minnesota will go with the standard white jerseys that have had plenty of luck in them this season. St. Louis will wear the traditional blue jerseys with the music note on front.
It might've been a busy day around Wild HQ, but I've got caffeine in me and am bouncing off my Bloomington couch in anticipation. Let's do this!Period 1
19:00 - Both teams talked about the importance to come out with energy to start the game and you can certainly see they are taking that tune to heart. Cal Clutterbuck
and Clayton Stoner
both get in on the action, throwing their bodies around.18:10 - Wild 0, Blues 1 - Booo! I don't like this start to my in-game commentary. At least the guys have 58-plus minutes to turn it around and help me out. The Blues get on the board first when Patrik Berglund tips a Blues' shot from the point past Jose Theodore, who doesn't have much of a chance to get that puck.
17:32 - Brad Staubitz wants to be sure the Wild keeps the energy going despite having an early deficit and drops the gloves with the taller Brad Winchester. There's a lot of hugging and punches that don't connect, but I'll give Staubitz a solid A for effort and keeping Winchester at bay.17:11 - Wild 1, Blues 1 - OK, these guys just aren't allowing me to keep up with the action, but I'll allow it if it means the Wild is putting the puck in the back of the St Louis net. The Wild do certainly take some energy from Staubitz's fight as Brent Burns sends a shot on goal and the puck bounces off Roman Polak and directly to Andrew Brunette. I know it's soooooo hard to imagine, but Brunette is in Jaroslav Halak's kitchen and does what he does best, score in front of the net.
12:06 - After having a breakaway earlier, Mikko Koivu
is once again in on a scoring chance, this time generating a nice opportunity with his fellow Finn, Antti Miettinen. The good guys aren't able to score and Koivu takes a shot at Andy McDonald after the fact. The booo birds come out wanting a call, but the refs are letting the guys play tonight.
8:34 - The refs are only willing to let so much go and I'm fine with that. Antti Miettinen draws a penalty as Brad Boyes holds his stick. The Wild will have the first power play of the night.
6:34 - The Wild generates a few chances, but nothing clicks and the Wild can't convert on its first power play. The bodies keep on flying and not only will tonight's game get more interesting if this keeps up, but tomorrow's matchup will be downright awesome. 4:26 - Wild 1, Blues 2 - You've got to hand it to the Blues: their season is on the line and they came to play tonight. Brad Boyes sets up behind net and sends the puck to McDonald in front of Theodore. As McDonald is moving backwards he fires a great shot and picks the corner over the blocker for his ninth of the year.
3:00 - It's again Brad Staubitz who helps the Wild take back the momentum after a St. Louis goal. Instead of fighting this time, Staubitz and his linemates Eric Nystrom and John Madden do a fantastic job of keeping pressure in the Blues' zone and generating scoring chances on Halak. Their shift doesn't come away with a goal, but you have to love the fact that the fourth line is taking it upon themselves to make sure the Wild regains control of the momentum teeter totter.
0:00 - Perhaps not the way I was looking to end the first period of commentary, but certainly closer than some of my other efforts. An energetic period comes to an end with the Wild trailing by one. I'll look for the guys in white to down some electrolytes and come out charging in the second.Period 218:30 - Wild 2, Blues 2 - Wow, what a start to the second with unrelenting effort from the Wild! After Halak robbed Kyle Brodziak off a feed from Havlat, the guys don't give up and even things on the scoreboard. From behind the net, Marty Havlat feeds the puck to Cal Clutterbuck who is streaking in from the right circle and wrists a shot off the side of Halak. Marty just can't keep his goal lead, can he? Both Bruno and Clutter have gotten back into the team lead with their 15th markers of the year tonight, but something tells me Havlat is plenty happy to have it tied up.
1817 - Ohhh. That was a big stop. Just moments after the Wild tie things up, Matt D'Agostini has a partial breakaway and takes a solid shot on the Wild net. Thankfully for us, Jose gets a blocker on the puck and deflects it up over the net.
15:40 - A weird sequence of events that had my heart skipping a beat, but I'm happy to breathe a sigh of relief after the play is whistled dead. Fellow Bloomington native Erik Johnson blasts a shot from the point that fools everyone, including the goal judge who turns on the red light. Thankfully, the cheering crowd is quieted when the puck bounces to the corner and everyone realizes the shot went off the side of the net.
12:13 - Each team has been going zone to zone, trading scoring chances back and forth. Kyle Brodziak
continues the trend and has yet another great shot at a goal tonight. He takes the puck from center ice and carries it into the St. Louis zone, charging towards the net and getting a nice shot off. Halak makes the stop by this line has been firing on all cylinders in this middle frame.
5:50 - The period is disappearing rapidly as the clocks keep clicking down between the quick play. It's been back and forth, back and forth between the teams and the pace of play hasn't dwindled since the opening puck drop.
4:22 - Alex Steen is showing some skill, skating all around the Wild zone before finally drawing a penalty as Brodziak takes a tripping call. The Wild have been well behaved tonight as it is the Blues' first man advantage of the game.
2:35 - If you didn't know it yet, Greg Zanon is freaking awesome at blocking shots. As the Blues continue to work the puck around the Wild zone, generating chance after chance it seems like they have the Wild on the run. Just as Carlo Colaiacovo (what a name!) gets ready to blast a shot from the left point, you feel like they'll finally get on the board from the PP, but Zanon jumps up and the puck takes the familiar path into his shins and bounces back out of the zone. I love him and his bruised body so much right now.
0:00 - It was a quick one, but a great second period for the Wild. They win the period and will try to win the next one for a two-point reward.Period 319:41 - Wild 2, Blues 3 - Yowza; I don't even know what happened there. The Wild has a slight break down at center ice that leads to a 2-on-1 for the Blues. Boyes waits for the last second to send a slightly bouncing pass to Minnesotan David Backes across the ice, and Backes has no trouble depositing the puck into the half-open net.19:19 - Wild 3, Blues 3 - YES! How's that for an answer!?! I don't care if the Wild ends up losing this game, you cannot discredit the desire and will the Wild has shown by quickly coming back three times in this game. That trait, my friends, makes me believe the Wild will be skating come postseason time. As Halak tries to play the puck behind the net, he struggles with the puck along the boards. Brodziak comes in on the forecheck and steals the puck, quickly sending it out front to Clutterbuck, who's waiting with a wide open net. Clutter now has taken sole possession of the Wild goal scoring lead with 16 on the season.
13:40 - Wild 3, Blues 4 - This is just a mean joke. After both teams go back and forth with Grade-A scoring chances (I know I've said that a lot tonight, but it's really the case) the Blues get their fourth lead of the game off a weird deflection. Alex Pietrangelo takes a shot from the right point with a ton of traffic in front of Theodore. The puck hits the skate of Backes and goes in the Wild net. You can see the frustration on the faces of the Wild players, who don't like once again falling behind on such a fluky goal.
10:14 - The Blues have a great opportunity to take the first two-goal lead of the game after Clayton Stoner
takes a hooking penalty, but the Wild is able to once again stop the Blues power play, thanks in part to some great saves Jose Theodore was forced to make.
6:34 - Eric Nystrom can't believe it as he loses control trying to clear the puck out of the Wild zone and ends up shooting that puck in the stands. He'll head to the box for two minues for delay of game.
3:40 - The Wild again kill off the St. Louis power play, but the Blues continue to put on the pressure. Theodore gets help from Nick Schultz's skate to deflect one of the best Blues chances of the night wide of the goal.
3:02 - Minnesota will get some help as it tries to even the game. St. Louis takes a too-many men penalty and the Wild will have a BIG chance.
1:33 - Theodore is pulled and Mikko Koivu
comes on as the extra attacker. Koivu flies into the zone and pulls the trigger on a quick shot that is oh, so close to beating Halak and tying the game. Oh. So. Close.0:57.6 - Wild 4, Blues 4 - I'm at a loss for words. What can you say? Maybe that this effort epitomizes the never-say-die attitude the Wild showed tonight. With the Wild net empty, Brunette feeds a pass from his parking spot behind the net to Mikko at the bottom of the right circle. Mikko fires a shot on goal and Bruno and Marty Havlat both poke away at the rebound. Marty earns his Fantasy Spotlight limelight on the day by poking the puck home. Mayhem ensues after the goal, with all of the Wild players on the ice mobbing Marty and Bruno behind the net. Careful, guys! With that, they've all but guaranteed I'll get my first point of in-game commentary on the season. Thanks, guys! Oh yeah, they also set themselves up to take a HUGE point in the all important Western Conference standings.
0:00 - The Wild do indeed get one point. Can they get two?Overtime
2:46 - Brent Burns, the man who has the most OT goals in franchise history, takes the puck hard to the net for one of the Wild's best chances in overtime, but Halak stands strong to keep this thing going.
1:06 - A scary moment as Matt Cullen
goes into the boards akwardly after a hit by Polak. It doesn't look good, but apparently isn't as bad as it looks as Cullen hops back up. Oh, the amazing effects of adrenaline.
0:00 - This thing's going to a shootout. I'm not complaining because I love earning some points for the playoff chase, but come on! These guys do not make it easy on me when it's my night for commentary.ShootoutMatt Cullen
makes a couple moves before throwing on the breaks and firing a shot on Halak, who makes a blocker save.TJ Oshie uses a sweet move to makes Theodore bite and easily roofs it over the blocker of Theo.Pierre-Marc Bouchard continues to be a master of the shootout. He skates in very fast and fires a speedy shot over the glove of Halak as soon as he started to make a move to his knees.Brad Boyes looks to go backhand, and as Theo moves to his knees, he uses his long reach to go back forehand into a wide open net.Mikko Koivu is forced to score to keep this thing going. Using his classic wide left, swing to right backhander, he makes it look all too easy. Maybe the new nickname should be Kapitain Klutch?
Andy McDonald tries to fool Theo with his move to the net, but Theodore doesn't bite and makes a strong pad save to move the shootout to extra rounds.Brent Burns might be starring in more shootouts with moves like this. Burnsie puts on a sick show, highlighting why he's got some of the sweetest hands on a defenseman in the NHL. Burns moves in quick on Halak, stopping as he's next to the crease. As the goalie drops down Burnsie brings his momentum backwards and roofs it over Halak. Again, that was a sick show of skill.
It's now Alexander Steen's turn to keep this thing going. Up against the wall, he makes it look easy, going straight in and sliding the puck under the pad of Theodore. Cal Clutterbuck
takes a wrist shot from out near the circle, but the puck goes wide of Halak.
Jose Theodore won't give up that second point easily as he makes a glove save on Matt D'Agostini.
Antti Miettinen can't control a rolling puck and is stopped by the pads of Halak trying to go five hole.
David Backes has a chance to win it against his homestate team, but Theo is again quick with the glove.
Andrew Brunette comes up to shoot and I can't help but laugh. Can he start from behind the net? Is that legal? Brunette heads from center ice and loses the puck on the way in. He's the second player in a row to lose the puck and you have to wonder if the ice is bad in front of the net. We are in the seventh round of the shootout. It wouldn't be unheard of.
Looks like the Blues are figuring the Minnesota boys must have the secret to beating the Wild. Erik Johnson is sent out and tries to beat Theo by lulling him to sleep. Johnson skates in slowly, VERY slowly, before firing a shot which Theodore easily catches.
Martin Havlat fakes a shot then forces Halak to make a good glove save to start the eighth round.
Patrick Berglund goes wide left then tries to cut back for a backhand shot but Theo forces him wide.John Madden comes up to shoot and I can't help but think of last year, when Josh Harding stopped him in the shootout to clinch the remarkable comeback victory over Chicago. But Madden's one of the good guys now, and in decisive fashion, moves in quick and backhands a shot over Halak.
Vladimir Sobotka makes a bunch of little moves and tries to go five hole but the puck rolls wide.
Theodore throws his arms up and the Wild bench goes crazy.
The Wild wins, 5-4! Minnesota uses an empty net goal to grab one point and withstands nine rounds of the shootout to take another. Nine! That's more than the eight playoff spots in the West, which the Wild now sits just one point back of thanks to a great comeback. Take that, Glen! The two teams head to St. Paul to faceoff tomorrow night in a contest that should be nothing short of Hockey Day spectacular!