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Wassup State of Hockey legion? Don't be alarmed. It's just me, your friendly local in-game commentator. We've met before, but I can tell you can't remember my name. Don't worry about it, sport. I don't want awkwardness to get in the way of a good time, and it's impossible to not have a good time here on Wild.com during a game. There really isn't a better way to spend a Saturday night when the Wild is out of town than right here on live in-game commentary.
Tonight, I'll be getting my information from watching the Fox Sports North broadcast from the cozy confines of my Como Park palace. I've got Ivy, my trusty sidekick, conked out on the love seat next to me, and I've got another companion as well - my hideous Movember moustache that is on pace for setting the record most different colored hairs in one 'stache. People in my neighborhood are officially afraid of me.
Columbus Blue Jacket players and fans know exactly how my neighbors feel. They've got to be a bit nervous about facing goaltender Jose Theodore, who will make his second start in a Wild uniform tonight. Sure, they avoided the red hot Niklas Backstrom
, but I have it on good authority (Wild PR maven Aaron Sickman) that Theodore is locked in during pregame warmups at Nationwide Arena. I fully trust Sickman's judgement, but if for some reason Theodore struggles, you know who to blame.
Sickman has also informed me that Marek Zidlicky will not be in the lineup tonight. The courageous blueliner fought through a lower body injury last night, but he's not going to be able to go two nights in a row. Clayton Stoner
is more than capable of filling in, and he'll get that chance tonight. Antti Miettinen (concussion), Pierre-Marc Bouchard
(concussion), Guillaume Latendresse
(lower body injury) and Chuck Kobasew (lower body) are not with the team, and no doubt they are following their teammates right here on live in-game commentary. My only hope is that they are each doing so on separate computers, rather than huddling around one single computer. I need the web hits! Although, I have to admit a night of hanging out with a few adult beverages and reading in-game commentary is the perfect "Guys Night."
As for wardrobe, the Wild will break out the road whites for the first time in a loooong time. The Blue Jackets will sport the home blues trimmed in red and white with the silver star draped in the Ohio state flag on the chest.
That's going to do it for all the ancillaries. Let's get to the good stuff, shall we? A little Wild pummelling of the Blue Jackets, hmm?Period 1
19:07 - Theodore hasn't seem game action in more than a couple weeks, and one minute in, he's facing a two-on-one led by Rick Nash. On the right side, Nash sends a pass over to a wide open Derick Brassard. Theodore quickly gets over laterally and makes a stellar save for his first of the night.
18:15 - You knew this was coming. Matt Kassian
was hankering for a fight last night but couldn't find any takers. Columbus' Jared Boll is never one to turn down a bout. These two hook up at center ice and after Boll misses with his first one, it's a good full minute of Kassian throwing right after right after right. He doesn't land a knockout blow, but he certainly lands more than Boll, who can't overcome Kassian's reach. Kassian can even be seen smiling in mid-fight because it's going on so long. Finally, it looks like Kassian says, "I'm done," and the two part ways. If Boll hadn't withdrawn his commitment to UMD back in the day, he wouldn't have so many guys wanting to fight him.
11:36 - It hasn't been easy for Theodore in his return. He's already made one big stop, and here he takes a big hit from former Colgate Red Raider Kyle Wilson, who is a former Wild draft pick. Wilson is going off for goaltender interference, and the Wild will have it's first power play.11:11 - MIN 1 - CBJ 0 - The power play is back, and Mathieu Garon's shutout streak is kaput. Early on in the man advantage, Matt Cullen steams into the Blue Jackets zone and draws everybody in a blue sweater's attention. He then makes an exceptional pass over to the right side where Brent Burns is flying in. Burns catches the pass and quickly moves to his backhand and flips it past Garon. That's a big start for a team looking to get momentum on the road after playing a tough game last night.5:42 - MIN 1 - CBJ 1 - They are firing the Civil War cannon in Nationwide Arena, and that is not a good thing. It's because Brassard carries up the right side and zips a perfect pass through all kinds of traffic in the slot over to Nash. The big man doesn't miss many open nets from five feet out, and this is one of the easier tallies he's had in his career. He just deflects this one home and squares this game.
4:01 - Casey Wellman is getting some time on the top line with Mikko Koivu
and Andrew Brunette tonight. Brunette battles in the corner for the puck, and Koivu supports him and emerges with it. He sends a great pass to the front, where Wellman chips it right on. Garon makes a big save and absorbs it without giving up a rebound.
2:01 - Burns has some serious bling hanging on his neck. He's got a big chain with about four big medallions hanging off it. Have I never noticed this before? Or is it a first time thing? Lil' Jon would love the look. By the way, is it still cool to say "bling?"
0:00 - A Wild penalty expires as the period does with Theodore coming up big several times to keep this thing tied. I think I'm going to go have some 'za and come back for the second. Catch you on the flippity flop.Period 2
18:37 - Jakub Voracek gets behind the Wild D and is hit with a home run pass. He has nobody even near his vicinity as he zeroes in on Thedore. But this isn't the Wild goaltender's first rodeo. He calmly stands his ground and shuts the door on Voracek's wrister on the glove side.
16:38 - Former Ohio State Buckeye R.J. Umberger looks like someone just sniped him in the head with a slingshot the way he's flailing back while trying to draw a penalty. The replay shows that the only thing that makes contact with his face is the gloved hand of Nick Schultz, which appears to barely brush him. Umberger is irate right now, but his blubbering will not yield a penalty call.14:15 - MIN 1 - CBJ 2 - The Blue Jackets dump the puck in along the sideboards, and Cam Barker has the puck bounce off his skate to Wilson. He takes a couple steps toward the slot and then rifles a wrist shot past the blocker of Theodore. That's Wilson's first-ever goal against the team that drafted him in the ninth round of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.
5:54 - Hey man, lay off the 'stache! While battling for the puck, Rostislav Klesla gets his stick up high and catches Cal Clutterbuck
in the grill. That's going to ruffle some whiskers on his famous moustache, but it's also going to get the Wild a much-needed power play because there has been little offense generated by the Minny in this period.5:40 - MIN 2 - CBJ 2 - Oh nice! Nice! The Wild do get that equalizer thanks to another quick power play goal from Burnsie. The puck is worked back to him at the point, and he one-times a shot through a maze of bodies in front of the Columbus cage. The puck might glance off the breezers of Bruno, but Burnsie is going to get credit, and he's one goal shy of becoming the first Wild defenseman to ever record a hat trick.
4:11 - Nash looks for his second of the night. He gets right on top of the crease and tips a shot that Theodore somehow stops between his legs. Nash continues to drive his stick into Theo's "groin" area, and that brings Burns in to help out his goaltender. Nash isn't budging. He does not like to be moved from a crease, unless it's under his own free will.Period 3
19:46 - This is funny because it doesn't result in a Blue Jacket goal, but Thedore has a serious misadventure while playing the puck behind his own net. He can't control the dump in, and then as he tries to get back to his net, he completely loses his balance and almost wipes out completely. Samuel Pahlsson nearly takes advantage by scooping up the loose puck and trying to put into the vacated net. He can't do it, and there is nobody in front to bury the loose disc.
14:55 - The Wild has come out much harder here in the third, and the second line generates several chances. Burns even makes a bid for the hatty, but it's not too serious of a threat. His long shot from the point looks like it might give Garon some trouble, but he gloves it down.
11:14 - Justin Falk
just misses his first NHL goal. He cranks a shot from the point that Garon gets just enough of to pop into the air. The puck lands just a couple feet from the empty net, but Marty Havlat can't get ther in time to put it home.
10:34 - Ow! Schultz is back in his own end to get his stick on a shot attempt by Wilson. The puck rides right up his stick and drills him in the face. He goes down hard, and then quickly gets up on his own and makes his way to the Wild locker room. I'll give up half of my next pay check if he's not back later. 9:29 - MIN 3 - CBJ 2 - This is a Clutter goal if there ever was one. He takes out Voracek and Jan Hejda behind the Columbus net with one hit. That causes the puck to be sent around to the far boards where Koivu picks it up. Koivu sends a low wrister toward the goal where Eric Nystrom makes a great tip. Garon makes the save, but Clutter comes to the front of the net after his triumph behind it and he buries the disc into a yawning goal mouth. That's a play of the week nominee right there. I imagine @clutterstache has something to say about it on Twitter as well.
7:56 - I don't know how Garon keeps this insurance bid out of the net. A Greg Zanon shot from the point makes its way on goal, and John Madden is right there to pound at the rebound. It looks like he has an opening underneath Garon's leg, but somehow it stops underneath it, about six inches from the goal line.
2:48 - I still haven't seen Schultz back, and my wife is already thinking of ways to spend that $200.
1:31 - Garon heads off the ice.
0:00 - That's three straight, y'all! The Wild gets an important road win and can now bask in this three-game win streak for four days before hitting the ice again in the hockey hotbed of Atlanta, Georgia.