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Good evening State of Hockey legion, and welcome to yet another edition of live in-game commentary presented by the fine folks at Sun Country Airlines. I think I'd like to go to Sun Country sometime. It sounds like a lovely and warm place. But then again, I'm in a lovely and warm place right now as I get down to business for this upcoming battle between your Minnesota Wild and the Philadelphia Bullies (also known as the Flyers). Now, typically when I do a commentary from home, I've got my trusty sidekick, Ivy, alongside me on the davenport. But with the early start tonight, my two-year-old daughter is still awake, and she's lobbying me to turn on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse rather than this game between the Wild and Flyers.
Sorry kid, but the Wild is going to end its road losing skid tonight, and I want to be there to see it. Plus, it's about time she learn that life isn't always fair and you don't always get what you want. The Flyers are going to learn that lesson as well tonight, so you're welcome to think of them as a bunch of two-year-old girls learning a valuable lesson. And of course, that lesson is "don't count out the Minnesota Wild just yet."
Sure, the Wild has had some struggles in finding the net, as well as the win column away from Xcel Energy Center. And yes, Mikko Koivu
is out for a spell here. But a wounded bear is a dangerous bear, and your Minnesota Wild will be rather protective of their cub, Josh Harding
. "Hards" is getting the start in goal for the fourth straight game. In case you forgot, he's coming off a 47-save performance on Saturday night and he's in the proverbial zone.
As mentioned in the previous paragraph, Mikko Koivu
is out with an upper body injury. Pierre-Marc Bouchard
, Guillaume Latendresse
and Jarod Palmer
are all out with concussions. And Greg Zanon is going to be the lone healthy scratch. Carson McMillan
is going to make his season debut tonight, and if you recall what he did in his debut last year, you know good things are in store from good ol' Carson. Pencil him in for a couple goals tonight.
If you're into fashion, and i"m sure that you are, I've got some news for you. The Wild will be wearing their road whites for this contest. The Flyers are wearing their home oranges trimmed in white and black with the winged "P" on the chest.
The Wild players will have their dads or brothers watching from a suite tonight. Look for an inspired performance from the kids tonight.Period 117:04 - MIN 0 - PHI 1 - It looked like the Wild was going to escape an early power play, but late in the man advantage, the puck is worked back to the point for Kimmo Timonen. He launches a rising shot that evades all kinds of traffic in front. It doesn't look like Harding sees any of the shot until it's too late as it whizzes past his head and under the cross bar.
16:02 - The Wild has a chance as a long shot from the point is mishandled by Ilya Bryzgalov, who boots a juicy rebound to the front. Brad Staubitz is there for a put back attempt, but he pushes the shot just wide.
14:15 - The Wild has some jump right now as they pin the Flyers in deep. Marek Zidlicky makes a nifty pass from the point down low to Kyle Brodziak
on the left side. He tries to put a deflection on the pass but it misses by inches.
11:57 - The Flyers cause a turnover in the neutral zone and have a three-on-one the other way. Prized rookie Sean Couturier has the puck on his stick, but he opts for taking the shot himself and misses badly.
11:16 - A sign that the Wild mean streak may continue tonight: Justin Falk
doesn't like how close Jakub Voracek gets to Harding after a whistle, so he gives him a forearm shiver to shove him out of there.
9:38 - Harding is good for at least one of these diving glove saves a night lately. He comes up with another beauty, diving head first to steal one off the stick of 64-year-old Jaromir Jagr.
9:24 - Now Harding gets some help from his defenseman. A deflected shot from the point hits Harding up in the shoulder and then pops up in the air. It looks like the puck is going to land in the net, but Nick Schultz is able to bat the puck out of the air with a home run swing.
6:24 - We've got ourselves a little skirmish here. After a big hit by Warren Peters
, he and Maxime Talbot are grappling for a bit. There won't be any penalties out of this.
2:13 - The Peters line is giving the Flyers fits right now in their own zone. Every time the Flyers try to get out of the zone, someone is stealing the puck right back. Cal Clutterbuck
comes away with a steal and then sets up David McIntyre
in the slot, but his quick shot misses wide.
0:00 - That's going to be it for the first. Just a screen shot on a power play is the difference in this one. The Wild just needs to replenish their fluids and they'll be good to go in the second. Period 2
15:51 - Both teams are coming out a little sluggish here in the second, but Jagr has a chance from the slot. He pumps a shot with that quick release, but misses high. I feel like I've typed "misses high" a lot tonight. The puck has hit the glass more than it's hit any goalie padding tonight.
13:12 - The Wild penalty kill does a nice job killing a Darroll Powe
infraction. Really, the PK unit has been good during both opportunities, but the Flyers converted once just from a rather lucky screen shot.
12:06 - Matt Cullen
gets some offense going by winning a puck battle in the corner and wheeling around the net. He dishes to the goal mouth where Nick Johnson
has a spin-around shot denied by Bryzgalov.
11:10 - Well there's another dirty, dangerous hit. Meszaros creams Clutterbuck from behind and sends him face first into the backboards. Clutterbuck's face appears to hit the portion of the boards where the wall meets the glass. Good thing guys are taking it upon themselves to get rid of the dangerous hits...ish.9:33 - MIN 0 - PHI 2 - The Flyers are winning the special teams battle tonight. On the Wild power play, Couturier steals the puck in the Wild zone and leads a two-on-one the other way. He gives it up to former Bemidji State Beaver Matt Read, who sends it right back. Couturier fans on his shot, but he does get just enough of it to roll it over the goal line.
8:22 - MIN 1 - PHI 2 - The Wild needed this in a big way, and it couldn't have come from a better person. Facing his old team, Powe carries up the left side and just fires a slap shot from a pretty bad angle. Bryzgalov just flat out misses it and the puck finds the far side. Now the guys can relax and know that if they can get shots on net, good things are going to happen on Bryzgalov.
7:13 - PHI 3 - MIN 1 - The Flyers seem to be following that mantra of sending the puck to the net and it's working. This wrist shot from the point Braydon Coburn isn't even going on net, but it deflects off the hip of Schultz battling in front and bounces past Harding. That's the way the bounces are going for the Wild right now.
3:56 - PHI 4 - MIN 1 - This is getting silly. The Flyers cash in again on the power play, and again it's just a long wrister that ends up in the back of the net. This time it's former Denver Pioneer Matt Carle who lets a long wrister got. Scott Hartnell is able to put a perfect tip on the shot to get it past Harding, who has to be wondering when this is going to stop.
1:15 - Another long shot from the point gets through, and this time the puck hits Harding. The rebound sits there and Hartnell is the first to get there, but Harding swallows that one up and breaks the streak of Flyer wrist shots from the point going in.
0:00 - The Wild has a hill to climb in the third period. But nothing is insurmountable. Period 3
19:40 - The frustration continues. Zidlicky makes a great rush with the puck, getting all the way to the net before flipping a backhand on goal. Bryzgalov gives up a juicy rebound that Brodziak hammers on net, and sure enough he clips the post.
15:53 - On a Philly power play, Claude Giroux is all alone in front of Harding and he has the puck on his stick. He takes a couple steps and then tries to tuck one far side, but Harding gets the waffle mitt on it. It's not the golden scoring chances that have hurt Harding and the Wild, but the long shots that bounce off things and through screens that cause problems.
14:10 - Hartnell has another chance from in tight. Harding makes the stop, but Clayton Stoner
drills Hartnell from behind and he goes crashing into the Wild keeper. Harding is down for a bit as it looks like his neck bends awkwardly, but he eventually gets to his feet and he'll stay in the game.
8:17 - Harding comes up with another highlight reel save as Voracek makes a great play, faking a slap shot and then hitting Maxime Talbot through the back door. Talbot redirects it behind Harding, but he's got his glove dragging on the ice and he's able to keep it out while falling back on his rump.8:02 - MIN 1 - PHI 5 - No miraculous save. here. Talbot gets the puck along the left boards and he flings a pass to the other side. Voracek is there and he one-times a shot that Harding gets a piece of, but it's not enough. The Wild is now down four.
0:00 - The road woes won't end tonight. The Wild will be happy to get out of Rockytown and hopefully end this nonsense with a win in Toronto on Thursday.