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Bonjour State of Hockey legion, and welcome to another special edition of live in-game commentary, presented by my favorite airline, bar none: Sun Country Airlines. Rather than coming to you from the Bell Centre, I'm going to be knocking out this commentary from the comfy confines of my basement in my Richfield estate. I figure since we just landed a kid from my neighboring suburb in Bloomington named Tom Gilbert
, we can get some good juju going with the Lake Conference vibe.
I've also got a couple good luck charms with me to get the Wild going on a winning streak. Since we've got an early 6:00 p.m. start, my two-year-old daughter Devin will be cheering the Wild on with me, at least until she becomes disinterested and starts in on her Hello Kitty! coloring book. But I can tell you this, little Devin has no love for the Montreal Canadiens, or as she refers to them, "the Hab Nots."
Devin has something in common with Niklas Backstrom
, who also has a healthy distate of the Canadiens. Don't think Backy has forgotten last year's meeting when the Habs came into our building and scored three goals on him after putting five past Jose Theodore. Revenge is on Backstrom's mind tonight, and all those goofy French Canadiens that were going bonkers at Xcel Energy Center last year, will be silenced by the silent but deadly Finn.
Unfortunately the other Finn, the silent assassin, Mikko Koivu
, has been shut down for a couple weeks with his upper body injury. He is joined on injured reserve by Mike Lundin
(lower body), Clayton Stoner
(lower body), Guillaume Latendresse
(concussion) and Pierre-Marc Bouchard
(concussion). Both Latendresse and Bouchard are in the building tonight, and will be watching their boys put a pounding on their hometown team.
As you know, Montreal is a city that is on the cutting edge of fashion, so you can be sure the Wild will break out the road whites for this one. The Canadiens will go with the classic home reds trimmed in white and blue with the Spanish letter "Ch" on the chest. In the Spanish language, "Ch" comes between "c" and "d" and is used in words like "coche," which means "car."
In the words of Coolio, I'd like you to join Devin and I and come along and ride on this fantastic voyage known as live in-game commentary.Period 1
19:50 - Okay...well, we've got out first fight out of the way. Right off the opening draw, Stephane Veilleux
wants to tangle with Ryan White. After some jaw jacking, they decide to go. Veilleux has never been known in these parts for his fighting prowess, and he doesn't exactly impress here. But he certainly brings energy and feistiness and you have to admire his spunk, which incidentally will be missing for the next five minutes.
18:24 - While chasing a puck, Jed Ortmeyer
gets his stick up too high and accidentally clips Aaron Palushaj in the face. Palushaj goes down in a heap and has to be taken to the locker room. Ortmeyer will be going to the box for four minutes.
17:37 - Backstrom comes up with a huge glove save after stuffing former Clarkson Knight Eric Cole. The rebound pops to David Desharnais, who fires a wrister, but Backstrom gloves it. Unfortunately, Justin Falk
hauled down Cole going to the net, and the Habs will have two minutes of a five-on-three.17:27 - MIN 0 - MTL 1 - PK Subban is becoming a Wild killer very quickly. He buries a one-timer from the point that beats Backstrom on the blocker side. To make matters worse, this is going to stay a two-man advantage for the Habs due to the Ortmeyer double minor. This has a chance to get ugly early if the Wild can't come up with some major penalty killing here.
17:08 - This isn't good. After making a stop on Cole, Backstrom goes down and slams his stick in pain. Backstrom has to be helped off by Doc Fuller, and Josh Harding
is going to come on in relief. 15:32 - MIN 0 - MTL 2 - Just five seconds were left on the two-man advantage, but the Habs pad the lead. Scott Gomez gets the puck on Harding's right and slides a pass across the low slot for Lars Eller, who easily buries it. The Wild will finally be back at full strength in a few seconds and can start working on a comeback.
12:25 - Subban meets Kyle Brodziak
at center ice and plants a back-first check on him, putting Brodzy on the ice. Dany Heatley
takes exception and cross checks Subban in retaliation. Brodziak then gets up and challenges Subban, who isn't taking the bait. Brodziak continues to go after him, but Subban wisely stays relatively quiet and the Habs will go on the power play once again.
5:35 - Oof. A couple Badgers connect on the Wild's first power play. Heatley glides behind the Montreal net and then puts a pass into the low slot for Gilbert moving into the play. He pumps a shot past Carey Price but rings it off the cross bar. Gilbert has come close to scoring in both of his Wild games thus far, but so far no dice.
4:33 - MIN 1 - MTL 2 - Grab that puck! It will forever belong to Matt Kassian, who puts home his first NHL goal. Darroll Powe comes away with the puck in an offensive zone faceoff and heads behind the net. He then spins back and puts a pass back to the side of the net where Kassian raps it in. What a great site to see for many reasons, but especially to see a good guy like Kassian get rewarded after many years of hard work to become an NHLer.
4:17 - It's official, Ryan White is a lunatic. After Price covers up the puck in his own crease, Veilleux is there lurking in the crease. Chris Campoli wraps him up to clear him out, which is understandable. But while that's going on, White takes his gloves off and starts hauling off and punching Veilleux in the face. The refs take a long time to discuss this awful display, and it's finally decided that White will get five and a 10. That should be suspendable. And somehow, Veilleux is getting a double minor for slashing, even though he slashed nothing.
0:21.5 - The Habs are sending another player to the box, so the Wild will have 1:04 of a five-on-three, most of which will carry over into the second.
0:00 - That was one of the most interesting first periods I've seen this year. The Wild heads to the locker room down a goal, but they've got the momentum and some fire.Period 2
18:30 - The Wild is back on its second five-on-three, albeit for only 23 seconds. Heatley and Gilbert play catch until Heatley unloads on a one-timer that Price snares.
16:44 - Harding came into this game in a very difficult situation, but he's settled in nicely since the second goal of the game. He slides across his crease and makes a great stop on a point blank one-timer by Tomas Plekanec.
12:36 - Gilbert makes a great play after having his shot from the point blocked. A Canadiens forward tries to get behind him, but he steps in the way of the home run pass and thwarts the potential breakaway.
12:03 - Kassian is looking to become an offensive dynamo. After a great effort by Nick Johnson
to win a battle in the corner, he lunges to poke a pass over to Kassian at the side of the net. Kassian's one-timer is stolen away by Price, and the rebound lays right in the crease, but nobody can get there to put it away.
9:26 - Cal Clutterbuck
tries to poke the puck away from former Wisconsin Badger Rene Bourque at the point. Bourque tries to sidestep him and that leads to a knee-on-knee hit. Clutterbuck definitely does not stick his leg out, but he is going off for a two-minute trip.8:01 - MIN 1 - MTL 3 - Tip your lid to former Michigan Wolverine Max Pacioretty. On the Habs power play, he gets the puck at the side of the net. Marco Scandella goes down on the ice to take the pass away, so Pacioretty hangs onto the biscuit, backs up into the low slot and then snipes a shot up high to beat Harding. That's just a spectacular goal.
7:26 - There's ol' Brad Staubitz mixing it up a little bit. That's because Warren Peters
smokes Alexei Emelin into the boards from behind. There have been all kinds of scrums tonight, and this is another one. Montreal will get another power play out of it.
4:03 - Pacioretty has another chance with a wide open shot from between the circles, but Harding comes up with a huge save with the waffle mitt.
3:42 - Emelin steps up in the neutral zone to try and hip check Johnson, but he misses and instead upends Cole, who goes flying through the air. He does a full flip before dropping to the ice.
2:15 - Plekanec is hit with a long lead pass and he's in alone on Harding. Justin Falk
is in pursuit, making it harder for Plekanec, who can only muster a weak shot up high that Harding turns away with his chest.
0:00 - The action hasn't stopped in this one, but it's only included one Wild goal. We need some more. I'm calling a goal for Heatley and a goal for Brodziak to get this thing evened up in the third.Period 3
17:24 - It's been a nice bounceback game for Nick Johnson
, who again does some dirty work behind the Montreal net. He muscles his way to the front and gets the puck to Powe at the top of the crease, but he's robbed on a huge save by Price.
14:10 - Yet another scrum, and Kassian is in the middle of it and he's shoving White, who I don't even like looking at it. He just seems like a jerk. But anyway, former Wisconsin Badger Blake Geoffrion is also in there grappling with Jared Spurgeon
. By my count, there are four former Wisconsin Badgers in this game. And by my count, that's four too many. Am I right Minnesota?
13:08 - Yannick Weber gives a little shot to Devin Setoguchi
after he comes into the zone offsides. Seto doesn't like it and those two jostle for a bit.
12:49 - Wouldn't you know? We've got another scrum after the whistle. Clutterbuck has Eller in a headlock and looks to be scrubbing Eller's ear free of any wax buildup that may be in there.11:10 - MIN 1 - MTL 4 - Aside from the pushing and shoving, there have been some skill plays in this one. Unfortunately most of them belong to Pacioretty. He makes another great play on a rush into the Wild end. He fires a backhand on goal from close range that Harding stops, but Desharnais follows up and easily buries the rebound. *Sigh*
5:44 - Think we've gone about four minutes without anybody sticking a glove in someone's face. That's got to be a record for this game.3:53 - MIN 2 - MTL 4 - Matt Kassian might be on the first line tomorrow night in Detroit. He comes up with his second goal of the game, and second career goal. He swipes at a shot from the point by Johnson. Price makes the stop on that one, but Kassian sticks with it and knocks in his own rebound. This guy is a force!
2:13 - The Wild is making a push, but Price is pushing back. Matt Cullen
lets a bullet go from the top of the circles, but Price flashes the leather and makes a nifty glove save to keep this a two-goal game. Harding is now out of the game for a sixth attacker.
1:53 - Price can rob everyone in a Wild sweater except Kassian. He comes up with another robbery of Cullen, who crashes the net for a big rebound.1:43 - MIN 3 - MTL 4 - We've got a game here folks! Heatley shows the sniper in him hasn't gone anywhere. He steps into the play and catches a pass from Brodziak. He pumps a wrister that beats Price but clanks off the cross bar. The puck falls behind Price, but Heatley stays with it and pokes in the rebound.
0:40.1 - Kurtis Foster
just got away with one of the worst hookd in the world. 0:09.8 - MIN 4 - MTL 4 - Unbelievable! The Wild scores a goal, and the Montreal fans are delirious with anger. I'm not shocked because it looked like Foster was obviously hooking Pacioretty in order to prevent an empty netter. But it doesn't get called and the Wild keep pressuring and Setoguchi finally puts one in at the side of the net. Where did this amazing comeback come from?
0:00 - The Wild will get at least a point out of this, and maybe one more. We're headed to overtime. Overtime
1:35 - Heatley looks like a beast right now. He nearly ends this thing with a spin-around slap shot that skips just wide.
0:17.7 - Subban makes a great play to walk into the low slot but Harding makes his biggest stop of the night by getting his glove up just in time to knock it down.
0:00 - This game is insane. Shootout
Pacioretty is an obvious choice to start this one for Montreal. He has been very good, but he can't beat Harding with a low wrister that Harding turns away.
Cullen leads off for the Wild, but his wrister up high is turned away.Desharnais dodges the poke check of Harding and then roofs a backhand to give the Habs a lead.
Heatley is up, and he goes in slowly before trying to put one in on the blocker side. Price makes that stop.
Bourque could end this one, but his five hole attempt is knocked away.
It's up to Setoguchi, but um, he loses control of the puck and then loses his footing, and that's an unsightly end to this amazing game.