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Hi ho State of Hockey legion! Welcome to another Rocky Mountain edition of live in-game commentary presented by the fine folks at Sun Country Airlines. I'd like to wish a Happy Dentist's Day to all the dentists out there that jam picks and mirrors into our mouths while asking us questions. Those are the experiences we cherish when we're at the dentist's office, but they do so much more than remind us to brush and floss more often. For one, they make hockey players look halfway normal considering how many teeth they've had knocked out. They also provide an amazing soundtrack to our dental experience with songs like Michael Bolton's "How Can We Be Lovers If We Can't Be Friends" and Celine Dion's "Because You Loved Me." So this one's for you Dentists.
Ironically, your Minnesota Wild will be taking on the Colorado Avalanche tonight, a team with maybe the one player in the League that has never visited a dentist, Cody McLeod. I am coming to you live from the Pepsi Center press box, and as you may know, the Wild doesn't lose in this building. I expect the run of success to continue despite some recent struggles from the good guys. The thin mountain air seems to help the boys in green and white find their games.
Plus, Matt Hackett
is manning the crease for the Wild tonight, and the kid is going to be looking for some revenge tonight. Don't think the one they call "Hack" has forgotten that the dirty Avs handed him his first NHL loss two days ago. My sources tell me that Hackett is better when he's angry, and you can be sure he's angry about the "L."
The Wild has lost another regular for this game. Cal Clutterbuck
is not feeling well and will come out of the lineup. He joins a lengthy list of players that are out including Nik Backstrom (groin), Mikko Koivu
(upper body), Mike Lundin
(lower body), Clayton Stoner
(lower body), Guillaume Latendresse
(concussion), Pierre-Marc Bouchard
(concussion) and Justin Falk
(lower body). I might have left someone out that list but my fingers are tired from writing all the names so I'm going to stop there.
As for attire, the Wild will wear the road whites as is customary away from St. Paul. The Avalanche will go with the home burgundies trimmed in blue, black and white with the snowy "A" on the chest.
Now then. Let's get down to business.Period 1
17:46 - Bodies are already flying around out there, which is not shocking. Stephane Veilleux
lays a nice check up against the boards on Stefan Elliot that plants the Avs defenseman on the ice.16:55 - MIN 0 - COL 1 - The rough starts continue. McLeod starts this one by skating up the left side and firing a shot from near the boards. Hackett kicks that one to the other side, but that's where Jay McClement is bearing in and he puts the rebound right back on the goal and in.
15:17 - Hackett has to quickly shake off the early goal because the Avs are pressing again. A low shot from the point is tipped nicely by Steve Downie, but Hack gets the leg pillow down for a big save. The rebound is rather juicy, but Steve Kampfer jumps on it and slaps it down the length of the ice.
14:01 - The Wild gains the zone via Dany Heatley
and that leads to a chance for Kyle Brodziak
. He pumps a shot from the slot that Semyon Varlamov has some trouble with. The puck is loose out front, but the refs blow the play dead as Heatley scoops it up. Heatley and Shane O'Brien then exchange some shoves in front.
9:56 - Look out! Jamie McGinn lays a monstrous hit on Marco Scandella
as they chase a puck in the corner and both go into the endboards extremely hard. Brodziak is not happy about it and he goes right up to McGinn and confronts him. They go at it for a bit before Brodziak loses his footing and goes down. Brodzy is going to get a 10, a five and a two, but I think the coaches will be happy with his willingness to defend his mates.
4:04 - I don't know if we've had a brouhaha like this all season. It all starts when Gabriel Landeskog takes exception to a knee-on-knee hit by Warren Peters
. Landeskog chases Peters into the Wild zone and those two go at it, and then everybody gets involved. Matt Kassian
is out there, but nobody's in a hurry to challenge him. The only bout that's allowed to erupt is former Minnesota Gopher Erik Johnson and Peters battling it out.
2:08 - This game might not get over until well into Wednesday morning at this rate. Nate Prosser
and McClement start going at each other after a whistle and then everybody gets involved once again. The best part is only McLeod will get a penalty out of this and if you thought he would skate to the box without making a scene and embarassing himself, you'd be wrong.
1:28 - Varlamov is working on quite the streak against the Wild right now. He still hasn't given up a goal in almost four periods and he makes a huge stop here. Heatley puts one right on the tape of Devin Setoguchi
in front, but his quick shot is gloved beautifully by a sliding Varlamov. We need that elusive goal. We need it.
0:00 - An entertaining first period comes to a close. I'm predicting an end to the goal drought in period two.Period 2
16:56 - That's a breakaway for Matt Kassian
. Yes, Matt Kassian
. He outskates Elliott (I'm not kidding) to chase down a puck skidding into the Colorado zone. Kass gets in alone, tries to go upstairs on the blocker side, but Varlamov shuts the door.
15:50 - Setoguchi might have to start shooting blocker side. He tries to beat Varlamov on the glove side once again, but the Russian keeper flashes the leather again and snares it out of the air.
10:07 - Hackett again looks very composed despite an early goal. He stuffs Landeskog on the doorstep as the Avs work on another power play opportunity.9:07 - MIN 0 - COL 2 - Jamie McGinn has become a Wild killer. He and Peter Mueller seem to have something special brewing. Mueller throws a pass to him in the slot and McGinn puts an absolute perfect deflection on it to fool Hackett. That's a power play marker for the Avs. Wild prospect Jason Zucker, who is in the house tonight, is not cheering.
5:22 - MIN 0 - COL 3 - Ish. The Avs pad the lead on what appears to be a harmless looking play. Downie throws a pass to the point and Jan Hejda steps into a one-timer that skims along the ice. It looks as though Hackett doesn't see it through the screen of Landeskog.
4:28 - MIN 0 - COL 4 - The Avs are piling on now, and I don't like it. Former Denver University Pioneer Paul Stastny and former Northern Michigan Wildcat Mark Olver skate in on a two-on-one. Olver ends up with it and makes a move just before colliding with Hackett. Somewhere in the collision is the puck, which makes its way into the net. And now Hackett will make his way to the bench and Josh Harding will finish up here.
3:26 - MIN 0 - COL 5 - Uncle. I have to say, writing commentaries when the Wild is losing by five goals is not tops on my list of favorite things. But hey, if I always got what I want, nobody would like me. Anyway, the Avs now have a 5-0 lead as Landeskog and Ryan O'Reilly skate in on another two-on-one and the rookie Swede makes a perfect pass for O'Reilly to easily bury.
0:00 - Oh thank God the buzzer sounded. I wasn't having a lot of fun during that period.Period 3
20:00 - I hope you guys are ready for the comeback of all comebacks.
15:51 - The comeback has yet to start if you're wondering. It's still the Avs that are coming with the offense. Landeskog, who is just a horse, has another opportunity, but Harding makes the glove save on that one.15:26 - MIN 1 - COL 5 - Now the comeback has begun. After he gets loose on a breakaway, but gets hooked from behind, Setoguchi is awarded a penalty shot. He calmly skates in on Varlamov and with a quick wrister, he ends the scoreless drought. Here we go now.
14:46 - Nick Palmieri
gets his stick or skates tangled with Duchene, and the Avs star goes down awkwardly. He is in obvious pain and has to be helped off the ice. You don't like to see that, but completely unintentional on the part of Palmieri.
8:37 - It's Landeskog...again. He shrugs off a check and then fires off an shallow angle shot that Harding gets enough of. The puck skitters through the crease and perilously near the goal line, but stays out.6:51 - MIN 1 - COL 6 - This keeps the theme of the night going. Harding tries to make a pass from behind his own net, but misfires and it lands on the stick of McGinn. He throws a pass to the front where the puck deflects off the skate of former Dartmouth Big Green David Jones and in. The play is reviewed to see if it was kicked in intentionally, but the goal will stand.
1:23 - MIN 1 - COL 7 - Just for one more kick to the gut, McLeod of all people is sprung on a breakaway and scores. This game just needs to end.
0:00 - That was a rough one. The Wild will lick their wounds and try to right the ship in sunny Phoenix.