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Good evening to you State of Hockey legion, and what a pleasure it is to have you join me for live in-game commentary presented by Sun Country.You'll note how kind I was in my greeting to you. You should expect nothing less, because after all, it is World Kindness Day. Currently, World Kindness Day is not recognized as an official holiday like it is in Canada, Japan, Nigeria, Australia and of course, the United Arab Emirates. I would expect that to change, though. Personally, I feel like kindness is an underrated trait amongst humans, and I for one enjoy when people are kind to me.
But let's be real here, folks. While it's always nice to be kind, it's sometimes better to be angry and ornery. For example, when your Minnesota Wild hits the ice tonight against the Anaheim Dorks (also known as the Ducks), you're going to see a bunch of steamed dudes in white sweaters ready to unleash their wrath. They boys aren't happy about last night in Anaheim, and the Ducks should probably wear twice as much equipment as they normally would (like Jean-Sebastien Giguere used to do when he played in Anaheim).
Just to show we mean business, we're putting Niklas Backstrom
in the crease tonight for the Wild. Nik has no kindness in his heart for the Ducks. But in the spirit of World Kindness Day, I bet he tells the Duck players "good game" even after he shuts them out tonight. He might not mean it, but that's fine. Nobody really likes the Ducks anyway.
You want to know another reason we're angry around here? Concussions. We've got no use for them. Marco Scandella
has one, and so does Guillaume Latendresse
. They're both out of the game tonight, as are Mike Lundin
(back) and Greg Zanon (groin). The good news is that Clayton Stoner
is getting back into the lineup after missing seven games with a hand injury.
For the fourth game in a row, the Wild will wear the road whites tonight. You have to think the pits on those jerseys are getting a little yellowish and smelly, but that's just NHL life on the road. The Ducks are wearing their home blacks trimmed in orange and copper with the webbed "D" on the chest.
That's about all there is to it. I've got my trusty sidekick Ivy watching this one with me, and I'm ready to have some fun. Let's end this weekend the right way.Period 1
18:55 - The first minute of play showcases some up and down hockey. After a Nick Johnson
hit, Darroll Powe
takes the puck into the Anaheim zone and fires a shot from the right circle. The puck changes speeds after deflecting off Tony Lydman but Jonas Hiller snares it with the glove. By the way, solid effort by Hiller on the mask with portraits of all his teammates with Movemeber staches on there.
18:06 - At the other end, Powe save a goal during a scramble in which Ryan Getzlaf gets the puck with Backstrom down and out. Powe is the only one there in the crease and he keeps the puck out with his leg as he loses his balance and falls to the ice.
16:59 - Getzlaf has another chance on an early Anaheim power play. He one-times a shot from the high slot past Backstrom but off the cross bar.13:51 - MIN 1 - ANA 0 - That's the anger we like to see! That grind-it-out line of Kyle Brodziak, Powe and Johnson just will not be denied at the Anaheim goal. Johnson tries to stuff one in, then Powe has a crack at the rebound. Hiller makes both of those stops, but there's no stopping Kyle Brodziak on the rebound and he buries it for the early lead. A greasy goal, and a big one for the Wild.
12:55 - Matt Cullen
charges into the Anaheim zone on a two-on-one with Pierre-Marc Bouchard
. Cullen's pass over to Butch is blocked, so he gathers it up and puts a tricky shot right on net but Hiller is able to pin that between his arm and his chest.
10:50 - The Wild is just punishing the Ducks right now, hitting them at every turn and firing shots on HIller. The good guys currently hold an 11-3 shot advantage.
8:41 - The Wild power play continues the momentum as the unit pins the Ducks deep in their own zone. Devin Setoguchi
centers a pass to the front for Cullen. He looks to have one, but Hiller drags his leg pillow on the ice and somehow keeps a glorious scoring chance off the board.3:49 - MIN 2 - ANA 0 - Pretty plays count just as much as ugly plays do. Cullen, who has been absolutely buzzing tonight, puts the puck into the Anaheim zone and Cal Clutterbuck goes hard after it. When he gets there, Clutter flings a no-look backhand pass right to Cullen in front and he is not to be denied this time. He buries his seventh of the year and the Wild is just firing on all cylinders so far tonight.
0:28.8 - MIN 3 - ANA 0 - Keep it coming boys. I can't...repeat CANNOT get enough of this. Jared Spurgeon gets in on the first period onslaught by taking a pass from Bouchard in the high slot and ripping a slapper past HIller. The Wild has some fire tonight, that is for darn sure.
0:00 - Setoguchi takes a deflected shot to the face as time expires, but he's able to get up and get off under his own power. We'll take a road period like that every day of the week and three times on Sundays. The Wild dominates the first and heads to the break with a three-goal lead.Period 2
20:00 - Former Nebraska Omaha Maverick Dan Ellis is now between the pipes for Anaheim.17:45 - MIN 3 - ANA 1 - The two sides are at four-on-four and that gives the Ducks some room to finally make something happen. They work the puck around the zone and get it to Cam Fowler, one of the heroes of the 2010 U.S. World Junior Championship team. He picks a spot on the far side and drills it with a quick snap shot. Apparently, the Ducks aren't going to make this as easy as it looked in the first period.
16:00 - Teemu Selanne makes another bid as the Ducks pick up the pace. He quickly gets rid of a pass into the slot with a quick one-timer. Backstrom has to be alert and he's able to sponge up that shot in the leg pillows.
14:01 - A dominating shift by the Wild's fourth line finally ends but the momentum stays with the white jerseys. Setoguchi comes onto the ice and picks up a loose puck in the high zone. He lets a shot go, but Ellis is able to kick that one away.
10:48 - Luca Sbisa cranks a shot toward the Wild goal and hits Jared Spurgeon
near the skate. He goes down in a heap but toughs it out and stays on the ice.
9:06 - The Ducks power play is dangerous with the names they have and they nearly cut the Wild lead to one on a four-on-three. They work the puck around until Selanne has another one-timer clank off the post.
4:41 - If Selanne was playing shinny hockey, he'd be dominant tonight. He puts yet another shot right off the same post that he drilled five minutes ago.
2;09 - Reigning MVP Corey Perry can get that wicked shot off from dang near anywhere. Despite being checked tightly, he lets a heavy wrist shot go that Backstrom is able to turn away with the waffle mitt.
0:00 - The Ducks threatened in that period after getting pummeled in the first, but the Wild still maintains a two-goal cushion heading into the third.Period 3
19:19 - Backstrom and the Wild are getting some help from the red posts tonight. This time its former Michigan Wolverine Andrew Cogliano who blasts a shot from the high slot and he catches iron.
12:51 - The spotlight is now on Backstrom as the Wild tries to hold this lead. He comes up huge on a point blank attempt in front by former St. Cloud State Husky Andrew Gordon who takes a nice centering feed from Matt Belesky.
10:45 - Powe turns on the jets as he chases down a home run clearing attempt by Clutterbuck. He gets in alone on Ellis, but the puck hops on him a little as he tries to make a move. He sticks with it and slides a tough angle shot past Ellis but it zips through the crease and just misses the far post.
4:18 - Francois Beauchemin pinches into the Wild zone and has a long shot stopped. He follows up his own shot but puts the rebound off the side of the net.
1:58 - The Ducks pull Ellis and nearly pull within one. A tip in front by Perry squirts through Backstrom but trickles just wide. 0:48.5 - MIN 3 - ANA 2 - This will make for an interesting finish. The Ducks win the draw in the Wild zone and Fowler again is able to find the twine. His long shot through traffic avoids Backstrom and cuts the lead to one.
0:00 - Now that's more like it friends. Your Minnesota Wild responds big-time, and wouldn't you know the boys are now alone in first place in the Northwest Division?