This page will automatically refresh every 60 seconds.
Oh hi there State of Hockey legion! You're looking well. What's it been, 19 or 20 hours since we last danced the online tango known as live in-game commentary on Wild.com? I hope you didn't miss me too much, but I will confess, I really missed you. I wanted to call, but didn't want to come on to strong. But let me just say, I'm so glad we're back together on back-to-back nights as the Minnesota Wild boys get set to do battle with the Calgary Flames.
Last night, our boys took care of those punks in Edmonton, and it all happened with me parked on the davenport in my Como Park palace. So I see zero reasons to change things up tonight. I've got my dog holding down the other end of the sofa so it doesn't tip over, and we'll be good to go. Before we begin, I just have to make a few predictions because I'm trying to keep pace with the Star Tribune's Mike Russo, who apparently has made 133 consecutive correct predictions. I've got my work cut out for me, but here goes: Martin Havlat turns the trick tonight. Chuck Kobasew buries a couple. Mikko Koivu
and Matt Cullen
both have multi-point games.
Oh, I almost forgot. Niklas Backstrom
blanks the Flames in his first game action since 2010. That's right homeys. Backstrom is back in net, and might I say, it's just in the Nik of time? Boom! Nailed it. Anton Khudobin, who was stellar over his last two starts, will assume backup duties tonight. Cody Almond
will once again watch tonight's game from the press box as a healthy scratch. It looked like he'd get some game action tonight, but the instigation call on Brad Staubitz from last night was wiped out and he won't be suspended. Guillaume Latendresse
(abdominal), Marco Scandella
(concussion), Jose Theodore (hip) and Marek Zidlicky (shoulder) are all out of the lineup tonight.
As for the unis, the Wild will once again pull on the road whites for the second night in a row. The Flames are going with the home reds trimmed in black, gold and white with the burning "C" on the chest.
It looks like King of Queens is over, and we're set to go after a third straight victory. Bring it.Period 1
18:29 - The Wild ices the puck for what I believe is at least the fourth stoppage in the first 90 seconds. We might be here til 3:00 a.m. tonight, to which I say, no problem. The longer the better.
17:23 - Yet another whistle, but at least it comes on a chance for the Wild as Antti Miettinen cranks a slap shot from the right circle but Miikka Kiprusoff gets the waffle glove up and hods on to the rebound. 16:35 - MIN 1 - CGY 0 - Havlat is well on his way to a hat trick tonight. In fact, he's on pace to score 15 goals tonight, although that seems a little far-fetched. He can thank his center Kyle Brodziak for doing the dirty work along the boards and then diving in the right circle to poke the puck over to Havlat on the left side. As he does so often against the Flames, Havlat finds the back of the net. He now has 15 goals and 26 points in 26 regular season games against Calgary, and he's scored four goals in six games against the Flames this season.
13:56 - MIN 2 - CGY 0 - I really enjoy these two-goal leads before 10 minutes have passed. I doubt I'm alone in that camp. The Wild power play gets its first chance of the night and it wastes no time. From the point, Cullen feeds the puck down to Koivu in the right circle. With room to shoot, Koivu fires a laser through traffic that beats Kiprusoff up high and pads the Wild lead. What a start for the good guys!
5:43 - The Wild comes within inches of going up by three as a Havlat centering pass from behind the net hits a skate and goes right to Pierre-Marc Bouchard
who's standing eight feet away. His initial backhand is stopped by Kipper, but Bouchard continues to hack away at the loose puck and puts it off the post. The puck sits about two inches from the goal line, but the Flames netminder drops his stick and pulls the puck back with his blocker glove, just barely keeping it out.
0:00 - Two-goal leads after one period are the way to go. I strongly advise the Wild to do it every game from here on out. The pooch and I are going to take care of some business outside. See you in a few.
19:10 - The Flames really didn't threaten Backstrom in his first game back during the first period, but they get a decent chance early in the second. Niklas Hagman has some speed going into the Wild zone and he fires a hard, low shot, but Backstrom nicely kicks it away.
18:41 - Former Alaska Anchorage Seawolf Curtis Glencross will get a well-deserved five minute major after he just smokes Clayton Stoner
from behind and sends him headfirst into the endboards. Stoner is extremely slow to get up, but the good news is he does get up, and he slowly makes his way to the bench. A big opportunity awaits the Wild here for five minutes.
15:24 - This is easily Calgary's best chance of the night. Alex Tanguay makes a pretty pass from the slot down to the left of the net where Matt Stajan puts a pefect tip on it, but Backstrom stays with it and stuffs him.
8:43 - Jay Bouwmeester, the NHL's current Iron Man with 471 consecutive games played, unloads a rocket shot from the point. Usually, Backstrom just lets pucks hit him because he's so well-positioned, but he needs every inch of his left leg to stretch out and make a pinky toe save.
4:38 - Former Wisconsin Badger Rene Bourque unloads a slap shot that hits traffic and misses the net wide. But the puck bounces hard off the backboard and bounces into the crease where it hits Backstrom's pad and slides perilously in the crease. Koivu alertly helps out and sweeps the puck out of the danger zone.1:37 - MIN 3 - CGY 0 - Boom! Tough actin' John Madden comes up with a huge goal in the closing minutes of the second. Chuck Kobasew takes repeated shots from a shallow angle but Kiprusoff stops each one. Andrew Brunette steps in and goes to his office behind the net, He flips a perfect centering feed to Madden at the top of the crease, and he puts it right through the body of Kiprusoff for his seventh of the year. The other John Madden might say, "If you can get in a position to score goals, you're going to score goals." And Pat Summerall would be quick to say, "Yes."Period 3 17:12 - MIN 4 - CGY 0 - When the enemy tries to come up for air, you step on their head. That's what the Wild is doing here as Cal Clutterbuck just unleashes a wicked wrist shot that whizzes past the blocker of Kiprusoff and underneath the crossbar. He doesn't have many goals that just slide over the goal line. Most of them zone in on the water bottle on top of the cage. That's a team-leading 14th goal for Clutter, and that's a career-high.
13:44 - It hasn't been a fun night for the Flames fans or their players. In the neutral zone, Anton Babchuk winds up and drills a slap shot toward the Wild zone, but he puts it right off his own teammate, Mikael Backlund, who goes down in a heap.
12:40 - Even though he's the one getting hit, Clutterbuck just blows up Adam Pardy who tries to level him in the corner. Clutter acts like he doesn't see him, but just lifts the shoulder at the last instant and sends Pardy flailing into the endboards. Damn, he's fun to watch.
10:01 - A mad scramble in the Wild crease ends up with Pardy getting the puck in the low slot. He finally beats Backstrom with a wrister but clanks it off the iron.
8:37 - I haven't mentioned Backstrom enough tonight, but what a return to the net for the Wild netminder. He continues to thwart any attempt at a Calgary comeback, this time by cleanly picking a high shot by Mark Giordano with the blocker and the glove. 7:56 - MIN 5 - CGY 0 - It's officially a rout. The Wild puts this one out of reach, and I almost feel bad for the Flames fans at this point. The Wild has played well. The Flames have looked horrendous. I don't feel too bad though, and neither does former Flame, Kobasew. After a turnover in the Calgary zone, Madden fires a shot on goal. Kiprusoff makes a kick save, but a delicious rebound pops to Kobasew who dives for it and whacks it in. He still needs to score another one or he's going to make me look like an idiot.
2:52 - MIN 6 - CGY 0 - Mercy! The Wild continues to pile on and the boys are making it look easy. Clutterbuck shows he can make a play in addition to firing wrist rockets and drilling guys into the glass. He makes a slick backhand pass to Havlat cutting to the net, and Marty easily finishes it off. Marty is another guy who might be letting me down tonight. He better back up my prediction of a hatty or I'm going to look like an idiot...again.
0:00 - Not a bad road trip so far, eh? The Wild plays back-to-back games in Alberta and heads back to the States with four points in hand. If you're about to check the standings, I've done that for you. The Wild is in sole possession of ninth place, just one point behind Colorado and Chicago, who are both tied for seventh. Buckle up, y'all!