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Bah-wit-da-bah da bang da bang diggy diggy y'all! This is iiiiiiiiiiin-game commentary! That was my attempt at a greeting you might expect from classical artist Kid Rock, who hails from Detroit, which is where I'm lucky enough to find myself. True story, I once had a woman cutting my hair and she said I could look like Kid Rock if I grew my hair out. It remains the biggest insult anyone has ever said to me. But like Kid, I do know how to have a good time, so long as the party involves typing comments while a hockey game is going on.
Fortunately, I've got the three things required for hard-partying tonight: a laptop, a chair in cramped press box and an ice cold can of Coca-Cola. It's going to be a rowdy night with the Minnesota Wild taking on the Detroit Red Wings for the first time this season. The last time I was in this building, the Red Wings whipped our guys all night. Mark my words, things will be different tonight. I've got a supremely confident feeling that our guys are going to ransack this joint and squeal the bus tires on the way out of this place.
My primary confidence booster is knowing that Jose Theodore is starting between the pipes for the good guys tonight. I know Niklas Backstrom
belongs on another planet, but even Batman needed some days off, and that's why he had Robin, who was no slouch. Theodore is better than "no slouch." He's a gamer, and he's got this one measured tonight.
Confidence booster number two is the return of Burnzie. Brent Burns is back on the ice after a two-game suspension. When you hold a guy as highly energized as Burnzie out of the lineup, you better expect some destruction on the ice when he comes back. Burns goes off for a pair of tallies tonight, and that is not an opinion. Clayton Stoner
will be the only healthy scratch tonight, and Pierre-Marc Bouchard
(concussion), Chuck Kobasew (lower body) and Guillaume Latendresse
(lower body) are all out with injuries. Get well soon, guys and thanks for reading!
As for the unis, you can pencil the Wild in for the road whites as per usual. The Wings are going with the home reds trimmed in white with the flying Goodyear on the chest.
We're expecting a full building tonight, and I only hope the folks here have other plans after the game because they are not going to enjoy what transpires over the next couple hours. It's go time.Period 1
17:22 - The Wings cause a turnover in the Wild zone, and the puck bounces to former Boston College Eagle Patrick Eaves in the slot. He fires a quick snapper but Theodore is all over it, swatting it away with the waffle mitt.
15:38 - As the Wild enters the Detroit zone, John Madden floats a pass into the slot for Eric Nystrom, who dives head long to try and poke it past former Maine Black Bear, Jimmy Howard. Nystrom is coming in hot, and Howard braces himself for a heavy collision. They blow up the net and then Howard delivers one more shot to Nystrom with his blocker.
14:23 - The Wings are skating hard tonight, as they are known to do. Darren Helm leads a rush and elects to fire a heavy wrister on goal. Theodore is positioned perfectly and sponges up the shot in the midsection. He looks primed for tonight.
12:00 - From the bad news desk, Cal Clutterbuck
heads to the locker room in pain. 11:44 - MIN 1 - DET 0 - From the good news desk, I'm halfway toward one of my many predictions being correct. Burns puts the Wild on the board just after the Wild's first power play of the night expires. The formula is simple. Burnzie has some room on the point and just takes a few steps toward the Wings net before rifling a wrister through traffic and beating Howard on the blocker side. Burnzie celebrates with a yell and a big leg kick into the air. I told you he was excited! And now he leads all NHL defensemen in goals. Hot diggity dog!
8:42 - More good news, Clutterbuck is back out there. He's a Wes Walz-type Warrior, he is.
5:01 - Clutter looks just fine to me. On one shift, he makes two solid hits, including one plexi-glass rattler on Helm just inside the Detroit blue line.
2:44 - On another Wild power play, Clutterbuck gets the puck down low at the side of the net and tries to make a centering pass to Marty Havlat. The puck gets deflected by a Detroit stick and pops up in the air and rolls along the cross bar before falling off on the other side.
1:30 - Burnzie is having a day. Helm flies ahead on a partial breakaway, but Burns calmly skates back with those long strides and pokes the puck away before he can get a shot off.
1:10 - This would have been huge. A Howard save leads to a big rebound on the left side where Nystrom is bearing down. He fires a low shot headed for an empty net, but Howard lunges over and gets it with the paddle of his stick.
0:00 - We'll take two more periods just like that one. The Wild comes out and plays a smart, sound first period and silences the masses in here.Period 2
18:35 - MIN 2 - DET 0 - Count it! What a play by Clutterbuck! A lead pass just misses him at the Detroit blueline, but he goes to the corner and is the first to retrieve the puck. As he goes to get it, he looks back as if looking for a teammate to pass to, and then he just fires the puck at the side of the net and banks it in off Howard's left leg. Nobody in the building was expecting it, or currently believing it, but the replay backs it up. It is a goal, and the Wild has that beautiful two-goal lead.
14:58 - The Wings are getting angry and starting to pepper Theodore with shots. Henrik Zetterberg gets loose in the slot and just misses with a missile from the slot.
11:20 - After a whistle, Todd Bertuzzi is furious at the ref and wants to get in his face because he thought he was tripped by Cam Barker earlier in the play. Take it easy there, Todd. We all know it would be a mistake to do something stupid here, and that's just not in your character.
10:13 - Dangerous situation here as the Wings will have a two-man advantage for over a minute as Nystrom heads to the box.
8:59 - Wellman is out of the box and the Wild is just one man short.
8:23 - And here comes Nystrom! What a huge kill by the PK unit, who really gave the Wings zip on that two-man advantage. Phew!
6:01 - The Wings are taking control with power plays coming their way. Fortunately, Theodore is sizzling right now. He is not giving the Wings anything, and he's swallowing up every shot, including this rocket by Valtteri Filppula from the slot with several players right on the doorstep.
3:54 - Former Michigan State Spartan Justin Abdelkader attempts to drill Clutter in the neutral zone, but 22 is having none of it. He raises his shoulder and Abdelkader goes spinning off of him like a top.0:33.7 - MIN 2 - DET 1 - Could have done without this before the end of the second. The Wings forecheck hard to get to the puck behind the Wild net. That leads to Abdelkader getting the puck on the left side of the net, he wheels around with a backhand that slides across the crease to Helm on the other side. He finally solves the riddle that is Theodore and bangs it in. Period 3
18:03 - While killing a penalty, Mikko Koivu
races the other way on a partial breakaway. Unfortunately, the puck is a little too far ahead of him, and he can't do much when he finally gets in on HOward. 17:43 - MIN 2 - DET 2 - Crud. The Wings get this thing tied up with a power play goal and a fortuitous bounce. From the right faceoff circle, Johan Franzen fires the puck toward the cage. Trying to block it, Greg Zanon gets low to the ice, but the puck deflects off him and fools Theodore who is shuffling the other way. We're back to square.
16:35 - After Howard covers up a dump in, Koivu and Tomas Holmstrom lock up in the slot and have a heated exchange, with quite a few shoves. Can't the Swedes and the Finns just get along?15:05 - MIN 2 - DET 3 - Theodore can only do so much. After the Wings win the draw, a long wrister from former Wisconsin Badger Brian Rafalski gets to Theo who makes the stop. He then robs Eaves on the doorstep with a remarkable paddle save. But Eaves quickly scoops it up, races to the other side to stuff it in. He just barely gets it over the line, but the review confirms the goal call on the ice. The Wild will be forced to stage a comeback.
10:29 - Could have used it. Burns is trying desperately to keep me from being a liar. He takes the play over in the offensive zone and gets low with the puck. He fires one shot that's stopped, then puts the rebound right on goal. Howard is down and there's a mad scramble with the puck bouncing all over the red zone. Just when it looks like it's heading to a wide open Andrew Brunette for an easy lay up, it's poked out of trouble at the last instant.
3:33 - Just over three minutes left, and I've got a lot of predictions dependent on a goal here before the end of regulation. I have a reputation of being a huge homer that always predicts good things to protect.
2:20 - Mikko is going after those Swedes tonight. He and Zetterberg get tangled up and start jabbing at each other. After the whistle, Koivu glides over to him and has a few words that could probably be described as "harsh.1:23 - MIN 3 - DET 3 - Boom Boom Pow! Wow is that a huge goal! Nick Schultz turns on the jets and carries the puck deep into the Detroit zone. He does a great job just getting a backhand on net. Howard kicks a delicious rebound into the slot where Koivu is charging hard and he flings a wrister into the goal. He then skates right to the bench, grabs a big Finnish flag and starts parading it around the rink. Okay, that last part didn't happen, but the first part is true. We're all tied up.
0:00 - An Antti Miettinen wrister at the buzzer is gloved by Howard and we are headed to OT, where I guarantee something good is going to happen. Overtime
3:44 - Man, the Wings have a lot of good players they can roll out there for a four-on-four overtime. One of them is Nicklas Lidstrom, and the best defensemen in the NHL has some room in front of him. He unleashes a blistering shot, but Theodore makes a big pad save.0:42 - MIN 4 - DET 3 - There it is! This one is ovah! The Wild wins its second straight overtime game as John Madden punches in the rebound off a great centering pass from Marek Zidlickly. The puck hits traffic and then the pad of Howard, but Madden lunges to knock the puck in at the crease and gets it under Howard. As the other famous John Madden might say, "If you can score a goal in overtime, you're going to win the game." So long Detroit, and thank you!