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Holla State of Hockey legion! Welcome to another late night edition of live in-game commentary at your favorite website in the whole wide world, Wild.com. You're always welcome here, provided you tip your servers. Their wages are small.
Tonight, we've got another late night edition of in-game commentary as the Wild visits the Anaheim Ducks. Since it worked so well last night, I am going to be coming to you live from the love seat in Como Park, St. Paul, Minnesota, US of A. I just polished off some helpings of Shake 'N Bake, and I am ready for this one. I hope you are too, and you're not too distracted by the excitement leading up to the blue moon on Thursday night.
One guy that's always ready, no matter how many distractions there might be, is Josh Harding
. He's going to be getting the start tonight, and I can only assume that he is about to make the Ducks wish they had taken up ice dancing.
Unfortunately, Clayton Stoner
tweaked his groin at the Wild's morning skate today, so he will not be in the lineup tonight. Big John Scott has been antsy to get back in there, and he'll get his chance tonight. Petr Sykora (concussion) is not going to be in the lineup tonight, but look for him to get the go ahead for the New Year's Eve extravaganza on Thursday. Chuck Kobasew (knee), Pierre-Marc Bouchard
(concussion) and Brent Burns all remain home in Minnesota, no doubt following their beloved teammates' exploits on live in-game commentary.
As for clothing, the Wild will wear the road whites for the second time in two nights. Typically, it's not cool to wear the same outfits two nights in a row, but in hockey it's considered normal. The artists formerly knows as the Mighty Ducks will wear their home blacks trimmed in copper, white and orange with "Ducks" written on the chest.
I realize it's late, but come on! It's winter vacation. Stay up late. Sleep in tomorrow. And tell your boss I said its cool. Now let's do it to it.Period 1
18:59 - Harding comes up big early as Mikko's brother makes a nifty feed to Bobby Ryan in front, but the Wild keep slides over perfectly and gets the left leg pad down to make a great stop. If you didn't hear, SI.com called Josh Harding
's mask from three years ago the best mask of the decade. I'll give you the link here
, but only if you promise to come back.
14:27 - Kim Johnsson has never scored a goal in three consecutive games, but he's got a chance tonight. And he has a great chance here. Fellow Scandinavian Mikko Koivu
makes a perfect feed through the zone to a pinching Johnsson, but his quick wrist shot is swallowed up by Jonas Hiller.12:52 - MIN 0 - ANA 1 - Bobby Ryan, known as the kid taken immediately after Sidney Crosby, gets the Ducks on the board early. He enters the Wild zone in front of two Minnesota defensemen. When he gets between the circles, he lets loose with a wicked wrist shot that beats Harding high on the glove side and catches the upper corner. Harding's been here before. The Wild has given up the first goal in six of his seven starts this season.
7:55 - The Ducks are dealing with a slew of injuries to key players, so I'm seeing names I've never heard of. Matt Belesky? Troy Bodie? Brad Festerling? Couldn't they at least get MacGregor Sharp back on the team so they could have a touch of class from a UMD Bulldog?
4:38 - After a great shift by the Andrew Ebbett line, my wife, who is falling asleep on the couch, points out that "Owen Nolan has two first names. Like Ricky Bobby." Nothing gets by her, even as she fights off slumber. 4:20 - MIN 1 - ANA 1 - The hex is broken! Barely. Andrew Brunette carries the puck right to the front of the net, and that always causes trouble for goaltenders. Hiller stops Brunette's bid, but Antti Miettinen, yes Antti Miettinen, is there to put the rebound back on goal. Despite a nearly magical save by Hiller, the puck bounces over the line, and Mittens finally has his ninth of the season.
3:44 - MIN 1 - ANA 2 - That didn't last long. Apple Valley's own Dan Sexton takes the lead right back for the Ducks as he finishes off a two-on-one off a great pass from Ryan, who also has two first names. Big Sexy, as Sexton is known to his teammates, has been a revelation for these Ducks.
0:00 - That's going to do it for the first 20. The Wild will look to replenish their fluids and maybe go over some cool trick plays on the whiteboardPeriod 2
16:57 - Free tacos! Everybody inside Honda Center now gets a free taco because the Ducks killed off a Wild power play in the second period. I think the Wild didn't score on their first power play of the game just to earn some goodwill among taco lovers in So Cal.
16:46 - Cal Clutterbuck
can skate, hit and talk. I'm not sure what he does best, but right now he's doing a pretty good job of talking to Nick Boynton as a crowd of players come together in front of the Anaheim net.
8:57 - Once again the Ebbett line has a great shift of pinning the Ducks in their own zone, but nothing results in the way of scoring chances.
8:07 - Really? Nick Boynton? With George Parros out, one wouldn't expect Derek Boogaard to find a dancing partner tonight. But something sets Boynton off, and he wants to go with the Boogeyman. Boynton stays on his feet a lot longer than one would expect, but Boogey finally says enough is enough and starts landing a flurry of haymakers for the inevitable knock down. Interestingly enough, it wasn't Boynton who gets the worst of it from Boogaard, but linesman Tony Sericolo who takes a punch to the ribs. That can't feel good, but I'm not sure what possessed the linesmen to jump into the fray before the bout was over.
7:34 - What is going on tonight? Right off a faceoff, John Scott (another guy with two first names) and Bodie drop the gloves for another fight. For whatever reason, before they can even go, the other linesman, Lonnie Cameron gets in between them and doesn't want them to go. Scott actually throws him aside so he can go with Bodie, but Cameron will have none of it, and he steps in there again and stops the fight. I have no idea what the explanation for this could be, and Todd Richards looks as flabbergasted as I am. The only thing I can think is that he didn't want to have to step into the middle of another fight because Sericolo was off the ice at the moment getting treatment for his owie. Just bizarre.
6:07 - Ouch! Harding takes a rising Corey Perry wrist shot right in the open spot between his mask and his chest protector. It looks like he gets it in the collar bone or the neck, and he goes down in pain. Doc Fuller comes out to check on him, but it looks as if he's going to be fine and he'll stay in there.
6:07 - As FSN shows the Arby's Fan of the Game, two Wild fans are standing next to a Ducks fan. Everything seems hunky dorey as they mug for the camera, but then the Ducks fan thinks it will be a good idea to attack Wild Wing, the Ducks mascot, with a bear hug from behind. That brings in a security guard who is trying to pry the fan away, but the guy has a maniacal look on his face and he won't let go of the big, furry duck. This is quickly becoming one of the strangest games I've ever seen.
2:33 - Todd Richards has been shown on the camera a lot recently, and each time he looks more confused than the last. With the Wild killing a penalty, Nolan breaks the puck out of his own zone and he's got Kyle Brodziak
on his right. Brodzy is racing into the play and he tries to get by Perry by sticking his arm in the way, and he gets called for a hold. In a game where only two minors had been called, this is about as suspect a call as you're going to see and it comes with the Wild alread a man down. Not a banner night for the men in black and white.1:16 - MIN 1 - ANA 3 - Not surprisingly, the Ducks convert as the first Wild minor comes to an end. Saku Koivu zips a perfect pass to the front for Ryan, who has an easy layup and he bangs it in. I'm having flashbacks to Vancouver when some ridiculous calls led to a couple power play goals for the Canucks.Period 3
20:00 - If I have to watch the Luther Kia commercial featuring the rapping Santa that keeps saying "Is nice! Is nice!" I might lose my mind. Then, I could be a linseman in the NHL. Zing! Hey Oh!
16:55 - I'm not sure if Richards has benched someone, but his lines appear to be a mish mash of different bodies. The only usual line I'm seeing out there is the top line of Koivu, Brunette and Miettinen.
11:29 - The Ducks are making Jacques Lemaire's system look like the Russians of the 1970's. Right now, the Ducks are basically lining every single player up in front of Hiller like a soccer team blocking a penalty kick. Can we get another linesman throwing his body into a fight to spice things up?
7:54 - As much as I can't stand the KIA rapping Santa commercial, I love the Budweiser holiday greeting Clydesdale ad. I could watch that over and over this time of year and never get sick of it. Is it obvious that I am lacking of things to say about this hockey game right now?6:53 - MIN 2 - ANA 3 - Here's something to talk about! Johnsson now has a goal in three straight games for the first time in his career. And, he now has a new season high for goals in a Wild uniform with five. On a power play, Havlat gets the puck on the sideboards and slides one back to the point for a Johnsson one-timer. Number five drills the shot past Brunette, who perfectly screens Hiller. Is another third period comeback against the Ducks in the cards?
5:27 - Hiller has had to make very few good saves tonight, but he makes a dandy in a huge situation here. Guillaume Latendresse
wins a battle along the back wall and feeds out front to Ebbett who looks to have an easy goal, but Hiller flashes his glove up at the last instant and knocks it away. Huge save.
0:48.0 - Harding is off for an extra attacker and the Wild throw the puck on net. Everybody crashes the goal, and Brunette is right there. He takes a stick to the face from Sheldon Brookbank, and the Wild will get one more power play to try and get the equalizer.0:09.4 - MIN 2 - ANA 4 - Former Clarkson Golden Knight Todd Marchant seals this one by firing one into an empty net.
0:00 - Another amazing comeback isn't in the cards. The Wild will return to St. Paul for a long stretch of home games in the month of January.