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Yo yo State of Hockey legion. Welcome to this All-Star edition of live in-game commentary right here on Wild.com - your home away from Facebook. A couple housecleaning items to get out of the way. First and foremost, let's wish a hearty congratulations to our favorite Finnish captain, Mikko Koivu
, who was picked for his first of many All-Star Games today. We all know that Koivu does it all out there, and now he's bringing his show to Ottawa and representing the Minnesota Wild. Second, I would be remiss if I didn't wish you a Happy Dress Up Your Pet day. Now normally, I tend to judge people that dress up their pets, and it's usually in a negative way. Typically I think it's generally Hollywood socialites or wannabe socialites that dress up their pets, but there are two exceptions: Halloween and Dress Up Your Pet Day.
That's why I've got my trusty in-game commentary sidekick, Ivy, rocking a 2007 Wild Prospects Camp T-Shirt. And yes, Ivy has been working out, so she's pretty psyched at how this shirt accentuates her figure. As you can see, she is primed and ready for tonight's big tilt between the Chicago Spazzes (sometimes known as the Blackhawks) and your
It goes without saying that nobody is more primed and ready than Josh Harding
, who fought off illness to make the start tonight. He'll be backed up by recently recalled Matt Hackett
due to Niklas Backstrom
falling ill as well. No matter. Backs can get well and rest easy knowing that "Hards" has this one under control.
As for the lineup, the Wild is missing some key guys due to concussions, or concussion symptoms. That includes Pierre-Marc Bouchard
, Guillaume Latendresse
and Jarod Palmer
. Colton Gillies is also out due to a lower body injury, and I believe we talked about Nik Backstrom's illness. Mike Lundin
will be the only healthy scratch.
As for attire, the Wild will go with the road whites for this one, while the Blackhawks sport the classic home reds trimmed in black and white with the stoic Native American on the chest.
One of the best parts of a game in Chicago is the National Anthem. I'm missing out on that experience, but seeing another Wild "W" will make up for it. Let's do this thing.Period 1
18"55 - The first scoring chance goes to the Wild as Darroll Powe
gets the puck along the boards. He has Kyle Brodziak
setting a screen in front of Ray Emery and then throws a shot on net that the Hawks keeper gets just enough of.
17:15 - Brad Staubitz makes a nice play to set Clayton Stoner
up with a one-time blast. That shot is stopped, but Warren Peters
has a crack at the rebound from in tight, but it won't go.
15:32 - Brodziak has two great chances in a matter of seconds, but can't convert. He carries out from behind the net and goes unchecked, so he tries to stick one in up high. Emery knocks that to the side, but Jared Spurgeon
throws it right back on net, and Brodziak just misses putting in the rebound.
13:41 - There's Ol' Andrew Brunette looking different in that red and black uniform. He's got a prime scoring chance from in front as he stares at an empty net, but fans on the shot. That gives Harding enough time to dive back and smother the puck.13:32 - MIN 1 - CHI 0 - That's one way to come back from a disappointing night two nights ago. Devin Setoguchi makes his way to the front of the Chicago net, and when a blistering shot by Marek Zidlicky handcuffs Emery, Seto his there to pump in the rebound. Number 10 then gives a demonstrative fist pump, knowing that's how you respond to adversity. That has to be the best possible way this game could have started for the Wild.
8:27 - MIN 1 - CHI 1 - Don't know if the game plan was to shut down Andrew Shaw tonight, but if it was, it's been unsuccessful so far. Shaw gets the puck at the Wild blueline and then marches toward the net. When he sees former Vermont Catamount Viktor Stalberg take out Greg Zanon on what could be called interference, Shaw lets a wicked wrist shot go and that beats Harding up high.
6:31 - Wooo boy! Remember when Harding had such a devastating knee injury that we wondered if he'd ever play in the NHL again? That was only a year ago, and now he's making saves like this. On a two-on-one, Dave Bolland carries up the left side and threads a pass to the other side for Marian Hossa. The Slovakian sniper has a wide open net, but as he puts it on goal from a shallow angle, Harding dives across and smothers it just before it can hit the goal line.
3:27 - Michael Frolik is sprung on a partial breakaway. He catches a long pass at the Wild blueline and splits two Wild defensemen. When he gets to the hash marks, he tries to sneak a quick shot, past Harding, but the Wild keeper makes a stellar catch with the lobster mitt.
0:00 - The Wild gets the better of the first 10 minutes, and then the momentum shifted for the last 10. We'll use this break to let the boys regroup, and I think I'll indulge in a glass of water.Period 2
17:10 - Bolland fires a long shot from the point and it catches the leg of Justin Falk
in front. The big man they call "Juicer" goes down in a heap and he is in big time pain. He is able to make his way to the bench, and Donny Fuller is there to have a look.
15:13 - Harding continues to look solid tonight. Niklas Hjalmarsson cranks a wicked slap shot from the point but Harding sees it all the way and calmly puts it into the corner with a slick blocker save.
12:40 - The good news is that Falk has shaken off the injury and is back out there. The bad news is he gets called for hooking and the Hawks are going on the power play.11:07 - MIN 1 - CHI 2 - The Blackhawks do cash in on the power play, and it's their second unit that does it. Bolland gets the puck directly behind Harding and then makes a nifty pass to the front where former Boston College Eagle Jimmy Hayes goes upstairs for his third goal of the year. Shaw and now Hayes? Not exactly Toews and Kane, is it?
10:44 - MIN 1 - CHI 3 - That's quite the combo punch from this high-powered Hawks lineup. Former North Dakota Fighting Sioux Jonathan Toews gains the zone and then shakes off a check from Clayton Stoner along the glass. Toews then flings a pass into the slot for an open Stalberg, and he's able to squeeze a shot through the wickets of Harding for a two-goal advantage.
5:07 - The Wild was chugging for the first 10 minutes, but that mostly disappeared until now. Looking to get more pucks to the net, Cal Clutterbuck
makes a nice play, gathering the puck on the left side and carrying into the Chicago zone and across the slot. He fries off a quick shot, but Emery makes the stop.3:33 - MIN 1 - CHI 4 - Oof. We're going to see Matt Hackett come into the game after the Hawks get an ugly one. On a Chicago power play, a shot from the point is rolling toward the goal. It's an easy stop for Harding, but he tries to flick it off to the side. The bouncing puck makes that difficult, and Harding only pushes it about three feet out, and that's where Bolland swoops in and slaps it into a gaping net. In comes Hackett, who is undefeated in his NHL career.
0:48.9 - Right now, Blackhawk shots are either hitting the net, or Wild defensemen in bad places. Zanon takes a shot from the point off the top of the knee, and he's in obvious pain on the bench right now.
0:00 - I'd like to make a motion to forget that period for the rest of my life. Let's never bring it up again. The third period, however, is going to be one for the ages.Period 3
17:05 - The Wild finally gets a power play tonight, and Dany Heatley
looks to take advantage. After a nice hold of the zone by Koivu, Heatley takes a massive windup from the top of the circle and rockets a shot on goal. Emery comes up with his biggest stop of the night, just getting his arm up in time to deflect the puck up and out of play.
11:46 - So far, the Wild hasn't had that push that it's needed to get this momentum changed. Matt Cullen
does make a nice play to win a puck battle along the boards. He then fires up high from a shallow angle, but Emery doesn't have a problem with it.11:04 - MIN 2 - CHI 4 - There's the push we've been looking for. Now the comeback can begin. Powe carries the puck up the left side with some speed. From a bad angle, he just throws a low shot on goal, forcing Emery to kick out a delicious rebound. Brodziak is going hard to the net and he punches it home for a "gotta have it" goal. Let's go now!
9:55 - Now the Wild is coming in waves. Cullen bowls his way to the net and again just throws the puck on goal. Clutterbuck is crashing in for the rebound, and he just misses putting one in as he gets right in Emery's kitchen.
4:15 - Hackett continues to look comfortable in an NHL jersey. He hasn't been tested a lot since coming in for Harding, but he makes a nice grab here on a laser slap shot from Brent Seabrook at the point.
2:29 - Hackett is now off as the Wild looks for a way to punch a couple more in here.1:26 - MIN 2 - CHI 5 - This might be the nail in the coffin. A scramble in front of the Chicago net eventually leads to a rush the other way and an easy layup for Bolland, who pockets his second of the night.
0:00 - The struggles on the road continue for the Wild. The boys will try to right things on Saturday in St. Louis.