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Yo, yo State of Hockey legion. Welcome back to another edition of live in-game commentary presented by the aviation experts at Sun Country Airlines. I would like to start off by wishing you a very Happy Groundhog Day. You probably know by know that spotlight hound Punxsatawney Phil emerged from his underground lair today and was scared by his own shadow, meaning six more weeks of winter. Punx Phil is based out of Pennsylvania, but his wrath extends cross country. Why, just because that little rodent saw his shadow, the poor people here in Denver are about to be swallowed up by 22 inches of snow starting tonight.
You really have to feel for these Coloradoans. Not only are they going to have to spend the next 48 hours shoveling themselves free (and then again once the plows come by and push the snow back into their driveways), but they'll have to do it following tonight's impending Minnesota Wild victory over their beloved Colorado Avalanche. Those poor folks just can't catch a break, but they do have Tim Tebow on their side, so in the end, they should be okay.
I just hope they're prepared to handle the wrath of Niklas Backstrom
, who is just as ruthless as the groundhog when it comes to playing here at Pepsi Center. Backs is 8-2-1 in this building with a .934 save percentage. I expect that number to go up tonight, because he's looking extra sharp in pregame warmups. Again, these poor Avs fans.
As far as the lineup is concerned, you can once again scratch Mike Lundin
, Brad Staubitz and Marek Zidlicky. Mikko Koivu
is here, but he's still out with his upper body injury. Pierre-Marc Bouchard
, Guillaume Latendresse
and Jarod Palmer
are back home due to their concussions. Get well soon fellas.
As for attire, the Wild will go with the road whites for this one. The Avs are wearing their blue third jerseys trimmed in burgundy and white with "Colorado" written diagonally across the chest. Very Ranger-like.
All right fans. We've needed these past 48 hours to fly by so we could get to some more game action. Away we go.Period 1
15:29 - We're still looking for our first shot on goal in this game. We've got our first big hit. Devin Setoguchi
gets upended by a hip check from former Cornell Big Red Ryan O'Byrne. Seto wants a penalty called. He's not going to get it.
14:15 - Here are the first two shots, and they are both scoring chances for the Avs. A turnover ends up on the stick of former Boston University Terrier David van der Gulik right in front. He puts a quick backhand on goal that Backstrom stops, and then Cody McLeod has an open net, but Backy gets over to turn that one away as well. Big time stops for the Wild keeper after not seeing much action the first five minutes.13:56 - MIN 1 - COL 0 - That's one shot for the Wild, and one goal for Greg Zanon. Right off the draw in the Colorado end, the puck is won back to the right point. He takes a few steps to the middle and then sends a high wrist shot that eludes all kinds of traffic as well as the padding of Jean-Sebastien Giguere. Quite a few cheers go up from the Wild fans in attendance, and the Wild bench looks jacked up.
9:39 - Prized rookie Gabriel Landeskog makes a great play, avoiding a check from Justin Falk
along the boards and then going to the middle. He actually has Backstrom down has he cuts across the slot, but it looks like he shoots too early and puts it right into the Wild target.
7:31 - Off a draw in the neutral zone, Matt Kassian
and McLeod are jawing at each other. Please let it happen. Please.
6:38 - It almost does happen, but McLeod is McLeod and he's not going to drop the gloves. After a scramble in front of Backstrom, Falk and McLeod start shoving each other. Kassian jumps right in and drops the gloves, but McLeod doesn't and just holds onto Kassian for dear life.
4:54 - It looks like Setoguchi may have gotten away with one himself. Chasing after Paul Stastny, his elbow comes up high and smacks the former Denver University Pioneer in the face. Stastny goes down and puts his hand to his face, but play continues right on.
0:00 - The Wild heads to the locker room with just three shots on goal, but a nice little 1-0 lead. Time for some energy drinks, and they'll be back for more in a few.Period 2
15:56 - Nick Johnson
takes a harmless looking shot toward the goal, but Cal Clutterbuck
is gliding in and puts a nice little tip on it, forcing Giguere into a tough save with the leg pillow.
15:43 - Clutterbuck then lays a big hit on Landeskog in front of the Avs bench. The whistle blows the play dead, and Landeskog goes after him to say a few words.
15:12 - Things are starting to get chippy out there. Powe collides with Van der Gulik in the Avs zone, and ol' Chuck Kobasew takes exception. He jumps on Powe and the two drop the gloves. This one ends pretty quick and doesn't even result in fighting majors. Both are getting double minors, however. Side note: McLeod is shaken up after taking a hit from Carson McMillan
12:56 - Clayton Stoner
has had enough of McLeod's b.s. after watching Avs instigator jawing at Warren Peters
before a faceoff. After the next whistle, Stoner wants to go. He lands several blows while McLeod hangs on for dear life. McLeod finally wrestles Stoner to the ice and then lands a punch while he's on the ice.
8:57 - Not sure when ol' Kobasew turned into such a tough guy, but the former Boston College Eagle is getting testy tonight. He drops the gloves with McMillan and this one is a real fight. Kobasew pulls McMillan's jersey above his head and lands a blow, but then McMillan comes back with a vicious right that drops him.
4:16 - Powe takes a huge hit from Landeskog after icing the puck. There's been plenty going on in the middle of the ice tonight. Just not a lot around either net.
1:04 - Peters snaps off a quick shot from the right circle that forces Giguere into a tough save with the waffle mitt.
0:05.2 - Giguere comes up with one of the best saves I've ever seen. After Kyle Brodziak
races in and loses the puck, he collides with the Avs netminder. The puck lays there about eight feet out for Clutterbuck who just throws a backhand on goal. From inside the net, Giguere throws his glove up and knocks it away. Unreal save.
0:00 - The Avs lead in shots and punches thrown while a player is on the ice, but the Wild still holds a 1-0 advantage on the scoreboard.Period 3
16:24 - Dany Heatley
just misses a chance to extend his goal-scoring streak. After picking up a loose puck behind the net, he wheels around and tries to put one in on the far side. The puck hits Johnson's skate and deflects inches wide.
15:09 - The Avs are buzzing right now and very nearly get this thing knotted up as Ryan Wilson steps into the low slot and rips a shot past Backstrom, clanking it off the near post.
9:52 - Interesting. Backstrom knocks his own net off as the Avs move the puck around in the offensive zone. Backs then points outside the zone, wanting the faceoff to happen out there. I don't think that's going to happen, since there wasn't an Avalanche player close to making contact with the cage.
7:37 - Backstrom loves playing here, and that's just all there is to it. He makes a very nice snare of a wrister from former Dartmouth Big Green TJ Galiardi. We're coming down to crunch time, and Backstrom appears to be getting steadier as the game progresses.
5:22 - Backstrom with another big save on a shallow angle shot from Landeskog. That's his 32nd stop of the night.
3:43 - The Peters line comes up with a nice shift, keeping the pressure in the Colorado zone. That leads to a Peters chance on a wraparound with McMillan battling out front.
1:46 - Giguere is off for an extra attacker.
1:20 - There's a mad scramble in front and Falk takes a penalty for driving Ryan O'Reilly to the ice from behind. The Avs are going to call timeout, and when it's over, they'll have their first power play of the night. It will be a six on four.
1:10 - Powe just misses on a backhand off the side of the net.
0:00 - Backstrom makes a glove save at the buzzer, and the Wild kills the penalty beautifully and that's another win in Colorado for the good guys. A big win to erase the memory of Tuesday.