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Hola State of Hockey legion, and let me start off tonight by wishing you the very merriest Data Privacy Day. As I'm sure you are well aware, two years ago the United States House of Representatives passed House Resolution HR 31 by a narrow vote of 402-0, declaring January 28 National Data Privacy Day. Despite having celebrated for only two years, I think Data Privacy Day might be my favorite holiday of the year. All of my family and friends get together and have a paper shredding party as we destroy documents that may contain important identity information. Then, we recycle the scraps.
Then, we all gather around a computer for a live in-game commentary featuring your Minnesota Wild and those streaking Colorado Avalanche. Hence, here I am, coming to you live from my Como Park Palace with Ivy, my trusty road game sidekick, who is the only one keeping me company while everyone else engages in Data Privacy revelry and shenanigans. Tonight, we'll be watching the Wild shoot for five wins against the Avs this season in the season series finale.
Fortunately, we've got Josh Harding
between the pipes, and never in his NHL career has Harding lost a game when he's started the night before. Granted, he's only played consecutive nights twice, but that's irrelevant. Josh is about to put a hurtin' on those Mountain Men in Colorado, and there's nothing they can do to stop it. And if there is, then we've got Wade "Dooby" Dubielewicz serving as backup on the bench, and the former Denver Pioneer used to run the show in Colorado. The only problem is his flight didn't land until after 5:00 PM so he missed tonight's warmups, and as of 7:40 central time, he hasn't arrived at Pepsi Center.
"Dooby" is up because Nik Backstrom is dealing with a bit of a stiff back and will be shut down for a couple days. He will join some other guys on the shelf. Derek Boogaard will miss a second straight game with a sore hammy. Clayton Stoner
is out because of a groin injury. Chuck Kobasew is out, but workng his way back from a knee injury. Pierre-Marc Bouchard
remains out with a concussion. Big John Scott will be the lone healthy scratch.
Finally, we can talk about attire. The Wild will wear the road whites for tonight's shebang. The Avs are going with the home burgundies trimmed in blue, black and white with the snowy "A" on the chest.
That does it for the appe-teasers. Let's get to the main course.Period 1
18:52 - Kyle Brodziak
enters the Colorado zone and gets knocked off the puck and taken down on a solid body check by one of the linesmen.
16:29 - With the Wild on its first power play of the night, Martin Havlat makes a smart play by just sending a light wrister toward the net where there is all kinds of traffic. Anderson has trouble with the floater, and both Antti Miettinen and Andrew Brunette get whacks at the rebound. Mittens' bid is stopped by a sprawling Anderson, and Bruno's backhand appears to hit the side of the post.
11:38 - The Wild has come out with good energy to start this one, and perhaps the Avs are rusty after three days off, but who's complaining? Mikko Koivu
gains control behind the Colorado net and then finds a pinching Brent Burns, who puts a solid one-timer on goal from about 12 feet out.
3:48 - The Avs haven't generated much, but Kyle Cumiskey finds former Dartmouth Big Green T.J. Galiardi in the slot. He fires a wrister right on and Harding gets a small piece of it, but it's enough to deflect it wide. Is it me, or are there are large number of former Dartmouth players in the League? Seems like every game the Wild plays, there's at least one Big Green alum. There are actually two in this game - Galiardi and David Jones.
1:38 - Yikes! After a great play by former Denver Pioneer Paul Stastny, Scott Hannan has a wide open net and puts his shot over the crossbar. As Harding tries to scramble to make a save, he appears to hurt himself. He is up and moving around, but he looks like he's bothered by something. It would be quite a story if Dubielewicz has to enter the game tonight after getting to the game 15 minutes before it started.
0:00 - That's going to do it for the first period that lacked some flow, and some goals. The Wild will head to the dressing room after a solid road period.Period 2
18:45 - The Wild has been helped by Colorado's inability to hit wide-open nets. This time it's Wojtek Wolski getting a great pass from Stastny. Wolski is looking at a glorious chance and he fires his shot wide, and then looks to the ceiling in disgust. I think Stastny is going to a key player for Team USA in February. That kids has some skills.
15:32 - Burns makes a great play at the point by drawing a defender with a fake shot and then dishing over to an open MIettien, who crushes a slapper on goal. Anderson is able to make that save despite having to deal with Bruno right in his grill.
11:17 - Andrew Ebbett finds Greg Zanon at the point, and the red-bearded warrior sends a wrist shot that gets redirected in front by Brodziak, who trips over Anderson. Brodzy then takes a shot to the head by Stasnty. After a whistle, Brodziak seeks out Stastny and gives him as shot with his stick. That brings in Chris Stewart who is animatedly shouting at Brodzy.
9:30 - Darcy Tucker, one of the classiest players in the League, drills Zanon from behind as the two chase a puck behind the Wild net. This is an easy boarding call for the refs, but Zanon is very slow to get up and head back to the bench.
7:02 - The Wild's fourth power play of the night comes to an end with nary a scoring chance. Ever since the first power play of the night, there has been absolutely nothing happening with the man advantage. The power play was so solid last night, but those tape-to-tape passes and guys moving around to get open seem to have vanished 24 hours later.
5:12 - Minnesota gets its best chance of the night, and it comes by trying to get a puck to the net. Burns fires a shot from up high. That hits traffic, but the puck pops right to Owen Nolan, but his bid is robbed by a sliding Anderson, who does a great job of recovering from the blocked shot.
2:36 - The Avs get their best chance as Stastny, who must be one of about two players to use a wooden stick, carries the puck in on a two-on-one. He is just a great playmaker and he bounces a perfect pass over to Stewart who fires a shot, but Harding slides over and stays square, getting a shoulder on the puck. Period 3
19:08 - The Wild is about to go on its fifth power play of the night to the Avs' zero. Decline it! Decline it!
17:08 - The power play comes to a quiet end, and I might say this was the ugliest of the five, and that's saying something.
14:44 - There's the first penalty to go against the Wild, and it's Kim Johnsson for a hold. This is big, as Colorado boasts a ferocious power play.
12:32 - How many times in the first eight years of Wild hockey did we see a Wild three-on-two and two of those three were defenseman. Jacques Lemaire would have fainted if he saw this, but Johnsson hops out o the box and joins a rush with Marek Zidlicky and Miettinen. Johnsson finishes the rush with a heavy snapper, but Anderson, who is working on his second straight shutout (hoping to jinx him), makes another great stop.
12:05 - I will tell you that I never get tired of seeing the commerical for this year's WCHA Final Five with highlights of the UMD Bulldogs celebrating their first ever capturing of the Broadmoor Trophy. It's the little things in life that you appreciate, especially if you're a 'Dogs fan.
9:57 - After a Colorado scoring chance rings off the pipe, Harding can barely stand up. He is clearly in pain, and this is not good. Meanwhile, play keeps going without a whistle and nobody can come out to check on Hards.
6:25 - The legs of the Wild players appear to have lost their life. It looks like the good guys are just trying ot hang on, or maybe pop one in off a bounce and come away with a 1-0 win.4:41 - MIN 1 - COL 0 - As if you didn't know already, I'm a moron. Trying to sound like a I know what I'm talking about by saying the Wild will try for an ugly goal, they score on one of the prettiest plays of the season. Havlat gains the zone and dishes to a cutting Brodziak. The puck gets deflected a bit, but Brodzy stays with it and then sends a no-look back to Havlat. Despite having three Avalanche players draped all over him, Havlat catches the perfect pass and slides it into a gaping net. Yoooge goal!
2:29 - G-Lat is going off for hooking, and that's going to make this a very tense two and a half minutes. Sweet, I just polished off four Twix PB's and a Cherry Coke, so my heart is going to get a great workout here.
2:05 - The Avs are getting aggressive, pulling Anderson for an extra attacker.
1:48 - Sweet sassy molassy! Johnsson sends an ill-advised pass right up the middle and it's picked off by Wolski. He has a point blank chance but Harding makes a huge save and there is no rebound.
0:00 - Hot diggity dog! The Wild holds off the Avs late. Harding gets an amazing shutout. And the Wild closes the gap on a couple more Western Conference teams. We'll take it!