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What is up party people in the State of Hockey legion? Welcome to a special edition of live in-game commentary coming to you straight from snowy Denver, Colorado, home of India.Arie, Roy Halladay and Tim "The Tool Man" Allen. We have got a big one on tap for you tonight, so I'm not going to pussyfoot around with a bunch of drivel.
Your favorite hockey team of all times is about to blast into a playoff position tonight if it can handle its business against the pests otherwise known as the Colorado Avalanche. The Avs are eagerly awaiting Peter Forsberg to announce that he's coming out of retirement for the 18th time to play through the end of the season. And why not? Watching a guy retire, and then return and then retire and then return never gets old. Neither does watching a guy flail his arms in the air and fall on his back when someone breathes on him. It's just good for hockey.
You'll note that Forsberg did not announce his return prior to tonight's game. My theory is that he doesn't want to return to a game in which he will obviously be overshadowed by a former Lanche, Jose Theodore. Theo is getting the nod in the crease tonight, and I can't argue with the decision. I've yet to see him allow a puck get past him in pregame warmups on this night.
Once again, every Wild player available will be in the lineup. It's always nice to have a little extra room up here in the visiting press box. It's enough to have to deal with PR guru use up three seats to lay out spreadsheets and travel itineraries. Back home in Minny, Guillaume Latendresse
(abdominal), Marek Zidlicky (shoulder) and Marco Scandella
(concussion) are recuperating, and following their teammates on live in-game commentary. Hi fellas! We miss you!
As for attire, the Wild have broken out the road whites for this one. The Avs are sporting their blue third jerseys trimmed in burgundy and white with "Colorado" diagonally written on the chest. Very Wisconsin Badger-like.
That's going to do it for the ancillaries. Let's get down to brass tacks.Period 1
19:27 - MIN 1 - COL 0 - And that's how you start a game, friends. The Wild is now on pace to win this game by a 120-0 margin because of a spectacular passing play. Martin Havlat gains the Colorado zone and stickhandles all over the place to draw the attention of the Avs. He then dishes off to Cal Clutterbuck, who quickly finds Nick Schultz skating in deep. Schultz then finds a wide open Kyle Brodziak in front. Brodzy doesn't get all of it, but he gets enough to chip it over the outstretched pad of Craig Anderson. I'd tell you more, but I've got more for you...
18:59 - Still on that 120-0 pace. In game 1,001, Andrew Brunette hangs another one on his former team. Doing what he do, he wins a battle in the Colorado corner and then propels himself to the front of the net where he buries it past Anderson. This is how you go about jumping on a team that hasn't played in over a week. That's easily the fastest two goals to start a game in Wild history.
18:44 - Good gracious. The Wild very nearly picks up a third goal in as many shots as Pierre-Marc Bouchard
has a clear breakaway from the red line in. He tries to put a wrister in on the glove side, but Anderson gets just enough of it to make a huge save and deflect it wide. By the way, the Wild is winning every race to a loose puck so far.
13:46 - The Avs finally have a spark as All-Star Matt Duchene races ahead to pick up a loose puck in the neutral zone. He's got Greg Zanon closing in on him so he fires a wrister from the right circle but Theodore easily snares that one with the lobster mitt.
8:13 - It's no Bruins-Stars brouhaha from earlier tonight, but the bad blood has shown itself. Just as Cody McLeod is about to drill Eric Nystrom, Brad Staubitz steps in and clobbers McLeod into the boards. The Avs think it's a dirty hit and both Chris Stewart and former Denver Pioneer Paul Stastny go after Stauby. He holds them off and then deals with McLeod who is incensed. Everybody on the ice gets in on the fracas, including Brent Burns who looks to want some of McLeod. The Avs agitator is screaming with that toothless mouth of is, showing that Stephane Veilleux
's impression of him was dead on.
3:58 - Clutterbuck intercepts the puck in the neutral zone and then leads Havlat with a beautiful saucer pass. Marty speeds in from the left side and cuts to the net, trying to stuff a backhand in on the far side. Anderson is able to extend his left toe out there and make the stop.
0:00 - It now appears unlikely that the Wild will win this game 120-0, but we'll still take a 2-0 lead after one on the road any day of the week.Period 2
18:41 - The Wild continues to win those battles for the puck, especially low in the offensive zone. Behind the cage, Brunette gets it to Koivu who forces his way to the front and musters a backhand stuff attempt. Anderson makes that stop but Koivu gets another crack at the rebound as he's falling down. Once again, the Colorado keeper is able to keep this a two-goal game.
14:03 - The Wild has come close on several occasions to making this a laugher, and this is another instance. A high shot by Brodizak on a one-timer is knocked to the side of the net, but Havlat is right there and attempts to stuff it in quickly. Anderson somehow has his toe stretched far enough to keep it out and he then reaches back to cover it up.
13:35 - Now the gloves are off. At the Wild blueline, Cam Barker's gloves are on the ice and former Boston University Terrier Brandon Yip is his opponent. There's a lot of grappling in this one as neither guy can really land a significant blow. But it's a spirited tussle and both benches appreciate it with some stick taps when it's finally broken up by the linesmen.
13:05 - The Avalanche game plan appears to be waiting for Anderson to make a save and then start going after Wild players well after the whistle. Not surprisingly, it's Adam Foote who rides Koivu into the boards long after Koivu's wrister from the slot is stopped and covered by the Lanche target. Koivu's not going to back down from Foote and he responds with several jolts of his own to Old Leatherface.
9:58 - On a Wild power play, a deflected Koivu shot skips right to the stick of Brunette in front of the cage. Bruno has Anderson moving the wrong way as he tries to stuff one in, but the Illinois native does a great job of keeping his right pad down and shutting the door on the Wild vet. 8:13 - MIN 2 - COL 1 - It's now a game again. The Wild power play looks great, but can't find the net and the Avs take advantage just as Milan Hejduk steps out of the penalty box. Former Michigan Wolverine Kevin Porter rushes up the left side and he's joined by Hejduk on the right side. Porter finds him, and Hejduk easily tucks it in before Theo can slide to his right.
3:34 - The Wild power play has looked very good tonight on two attempts, but there are still zero goals to show for it. Brodziak cranks a shot from the slot and Anderson gives up a juicy rebound. The puck bounces to Clutterbuck on the left side but he can't get good wood on the shot and his shot floats in slow enough for Anderson to snare it. 3:10 - MIN 3 - COL 1 - Wow! At first glance, this looks like just another goal from in tight by Andrew Brunette. But in looking at the replay, he catches a pass from Koivu in front of the net. With his back to Anderson, he slides the puck between his legs and puts a shot on. Anderson stops it, but Bruno sticks with it and punches it in, just before an Avalanche penalty expires. Spectacular goal but Bruno, who was saving his offensive explosion for after his big night on Tuesday. Period 3
19:15 - MIN 3 - COL 2 - The Avs won't go away like they should. Once again, it's Hejduk pulling his team back in it, but only after a fortunate bounce off the backboards pops right to Stewart in front. He fans on a shot but pushes the puck to the left side where Hejduk is all alone, and he finishes off another lay up. This will be an intense 19 minutes.
16:41 - Hejduk, who has scored the second most goals against the Wild all-time, nearly turns the trick with a redirection in front. Theodore is able to kick that one out, but the Avs are absolutely buzzing around the Wild zone right now.
15:10 - Another bullet dodged. On a four-minute Colorado power play, former Michigan State Spartan John-Michael Liles fires a slapper through traffic and catches the far post. This crowd is now riled up and the Avalanche players seem to be feeding off of it.
13:10 - It's Theo's time to shine right now. After a failed clearing attempt, Yip fires a turnaround shot right on, but the Wild keeper makes a great stop and covers up quickly.
12:05 - Havlat is out of the penalty box and the Wild gets a huge penalty kill when it's needed most.8:34 - MIN 4 - COL 2 - Butch has become Mr. Clutch. The Wild hadn't put a shot on net in the period until now when Havlat cranks a shot from the slot. Anderson kicks that out but leaves a delicious rebound for Bouchard to swoop in and grab it. He maneuvers just a bit and then tosses the puck into the yawning cage. The lead is stretched back to two, and now the clock becomes our friend and ally.
4:03 - What a night for Theodore! His 35th save of the night is easily his best. With a whole mess of players in his crease and him being knoced down, Porter has a wide open net as he fires a low shot, but Theo lays his right arm on the ice and knocks it away just before it can make its way to the goal line.0:10.7 - MIN 4 - COL 3 - Sorry Avs fans, but in the words of pop sensation JoJo, Stewart's goal is "too little, too late." I'm confident these 10 seconds will not see an equalizer.
0:00 - That's another gigantic win for the good guys. By my count, that's six wins out of the last seven, and your Minnesota Wild is now sitting in a tie for seventh in the West with Phoenix. Oh, and by the way Coyotes fans, we're coming for you on Saturday. Try to get some sleep.