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Hi there State of Hockey legion! Welcome to a special All-Star Brent Burns edition of live in-game commentary, on the award-winning website, Wild.com. What awards has Wild.com won, you ask? Well, for starters, multiple Ivy's, which is an award named after my dog, who happens to be curled up next to me on the davenport at my Como Park palace.
Now, you're probably also wondering what to expect on an All-Star Brent Burns edition? Well, for starters, you can mark it down that Burnsie scores a goal tonight. In fact, it's going to be a game-winner. He's also going to tack on an assist and will be named the number two Star of the Game.
I know, it seems odd that Burns will only be the number two star on All-Star Brent Burns night, but that's what happens when you're goaltender is NHL Third Star of the Week, Jose Theodore. He's going to be the top dog tonight, which will be his sixth straight start. Wild PR maven Ryan Stanzel is in Nashville tonight, and he tells me confidently that Theo will make this one look easy. If he doesn't, you'll know to blame Mr. Stanzel.
Stanzel also tells me that both Patrick O'Sullivan and Brad Staubitz are taking warmups, but it's going to be Staubitz that sits this one out as the lone healthy scratch. Antti MIettinen will return to the lineup after missing four games with a lower body contusion, so that leaves Stauby as the odd man out. Guillaume Latendresse
(abdominal), Marek Zidlicky (shoulder) and Niklas Backstrom
(lower body) are all going to miss this one due to injuries. You can bet the farm that they're following tonight's action intently on in-game commentary, just like you.
As for wardrobe choices, the Wild will go with the road whites as is customary in games outside of Xcel Energy Center. The Predators are sporting the home blues trimmed in yellow, silver and white with the prehistoric saber-toothed tiger on the chest.
That does it for the appies. Let's get to the meat and potatoes.Period 1
18:04 - The intensity is already up in this one as Matt Cullen
tries to cross the Nashville blueline, and he's stood up there by Shane O'Brien with a big hit.
15:10 - The shifty J-P Dumont makes a nifty steal of the puck in the left faceoff circle and he moves in all alone on Theodore. The Wild keeper plays this one perfectly, covering every inch as Dumont moves in front ot the crease until he finally has to try and stuff it in. Not happening with Theodore smothering the puck in the crease.12:57 - MIN 0 - NSH 1 - Looking to stay hot, the Preds start it off quickly. As the Predators enter the Wild zone, David Legwand skates up the middle before dishing to Marek Svatos on the left side. Svatos quickly sends the puck right back to the slot where Legwand redirects it perfectly and slides it under the pads of Theodore.
8:54 - The Wild has its first power play of the night, and that's where Cullen does a lot of his damage. He winds and fires a shot from the left point that gets tipped on its way in. That confuses Pekka Rinne, but he's able to stick his toe out just in time to make the save and allow his teammates to clear it quickly.
4:05 - MIN 1 - NSH 1 - That's how you do that! The Wild penalty killers do the job and then some. John Madden makes a steal in his own zone and races ahead the other way. He gains the Nashville zone before handing off to Mikko Koivu trailing the play. Koivu brings the puck low on the left side and then makes a nifty fake before somehow finding some space on the other side with a sick backhand shot. The don't come much prettier than this, and already we've got a Top Play candidate and we're not even 20 minutes into the week.
0:00 - The horn sounds and that's going to put an end to an up-and-down first period. The Wild will get a chance to rejuvenate a bit in the locker room and come out firing in the next 40.Period 2
18:58 - MIN 1 - NSH 2 - The Preds take the lead back when Kevin Klein gets the puck at the point and fires a shot on goal. Theodore easily makes the pad save, but he tries to swat the rebound to the side. Instead, he gives it right to former Wild winger Joel Ward, who steals it and then easily flips a backhand past a diving Theodore.
15:47 - Right off the draw in the Wild zone, the Preds power play gets to work and makes two quick passes before getting the puck to former Boston University Terrier Colin Wilson right in the slot. He one-times a laser, but Theodore comes up with a huge waffle glove stop.
14:08 - Holy Hannah! Cody Franson fires a long shot from the very top of the slot and it squeaks through the pads of Thedore and slowly rolls to the post where it hits the iron and sits precariously about a foot from the goal line. Koivu comes up big in his own end this time by diving and swatting the puck into the corner before a Predator can put it home.
6:26 - The Wild has completely taken over the play, but thus far has been unable to crack Rinne. Eric Nystrom gets a great opportunity from in close, but his backhand is snuffed out by the enormous netminder.
6:12 - Rinne also gets some help from his defensemen. After Kyle Brodziak
puts a quick backhand on goal from point blank range, the rebound slides to the right side. Brodziak is the first to reach it, but by the time he flings it toward the empty cage, the net has been knocked loose by Franson. That's going to be a delay of game call and the Wild gets another chance to get the big equalizer.
3:03 - Burns barely gets anything on a shot from the point, but nobody can seem to get a stick on the disc as it bobs and weaves its way toward the goal. It finally lands on the stick of Andrew Brunette right in front, but he pushes the his shot inches wide.
2:38 - I don't know much about Andreas Thurreson, but I do know he can't be happy after smoking a one-timer from the right circle and seeing Theodore make a spectacular catch with the lobster mitt. He needed every part of his extended arm to grab this one. Period 3
16:12 - It is a slow slog through the neutral zone for the Wild right now. The Predators have mastered the art of making the path into the zone somewhat of a minefield, and so far in the third, the Wild has had little to no sustained pressure in the zone.15:42 - MIN 1 - NSH 3 - This is the last thing you want to see when playing a team as defensive minded as the Preds. Nick Spaling grabs the puck before it can escape the Wild zone. He gets to the sideboards and just sends a long wrist shot onto the goal and a screened Theodore doesn't see it until it zips by his right pad and into the far side. Time for an all out Wild blitz.
10:54 - And here comes the Wild charge as Marco Scandella
tries to force the issue by carrying the puck into the heart of Nashville's zone. The puck is poked off his stick and bounces around before Patrick O'Sullivan picks it up and drives a shot on goal, but Rinne sponges up that shot and gets a faceoff.9:21 - MIN 1 - NSH 4 - After Theodore makes two unbelievable stops while flailing on the ice, the puck ends up at the side of the net. Trying to help, Burns throws his body into the crease to help keep it out. Meanwhile, Spaling is pounding away from the side of the net, and eventually, the puck somehow trickles in and the ref emphatically signals for a goal. I'm not so sure this puck didn't go in under the side of the net, but nobody else seems to think so because there's not even a review. That's going to end Theodore's night, which means we'll get our first glimpse of the season at Anton Khudobin.
7:07 - MIN 1 - NSH 5 - This is going to make a Wild comeback difficult, but boy will it be fun if it happens. Right now, it's not so fun. Cam Barker can't control a pass from Marco Scandella behind the net and Marcel Goc grabs it. He has a clear lane and roofs a shot over the glove for Khudobin's first goal against of the season.
5:05 - One sure sign that you're up against a gigantic goalie is if you see him go down in the butterfly and each foot is touching the post. That's the exact position that Rinne is in right now as Koivu puts a low shot on goal that gets all the way to the goal line where it meets the right pad of the Preds keeper.
0:00 - The Wild comeback was about to start, but alas, time has run out. The boys will finally get two off days in a row before hosting the Colorado Avalanche in a monstrous game on Friday.