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Attention State of Hockey legion, I have an urgent announcement...Welcome to live in-game commentary on Wild.com, and a Happy Teacher's Day to all of those teachers/Wild fans in the lovely country of Thailand. You got a bit of a raw deal with Teacher's Day falling on a Saturday, but I certainly hope your students brought you something nice. You teachers deserve it.
My gift to those teachers in Thailand isn't going to be tangible, but it will be a gift that lasts a lifetime. It's a live in-game commentary from my Como Park Palace featuring your
Minnesota Wild and those pesky Phoenix Coyotes, who filed for bankruptcy and then went about beating up everybody in the National Hockey League, including your aforementioned Minnesota Wild...twice. What is it Phoenix? You're either wallowing in debt, or your a great hockey team, but it's impossible to have both.
It's time to knock those rabid Coyote fans down a peg, because all anybody in Arizona talks about anymore is how great their hockey team is. It's time for Niklas Backstrom
to enter the picture and destroy some hope. You almost have to feel bad for the Arizonans. First, their football team gets pasted by New Orleans, and now they have to watch "Backs" frustrate their team. Don't feel too bad, thought. It's, like, 80 degrees there.
As for the lineup, it looks like Andrew Ebbett will play in tonight's game despite some back and neck spasms caused by a T.J. Oshie play that looked like a "slew-foot" to 99.9% of the population, but not to the person in charge of issuing suspensions for such plays. I'm wondering if any action would have been taken if Sid Crosby was the victim. As you know, the health of superstar players is more important than that of a fourth-line energy guy (pardon the sarcasm and crankiness, I just woke up from my nappy). Anyway, Ebbett is in, and Robbie Earl and Petr Sykora are the healthy scratches. Pierre-Marc Bouchard
(concussion), Brent Burns (concussion), Chuck Kobasew (knee) and Clayton Stoner
(groin) are out with injuries.
As for wardrobe, the Wild will wear the road whites for this one. The Coyotes will be decked out in their black third jerseys trimmed in brick red and white with the howling desert dog running across the chest. It's actually an underrated uniform in my opinion. Call me crazy.
All right, it's Saturday night. It's game time. I'm so glad you and all your friends got together for your live in-game commentary party. Let's do this thing.Period 1
17:44 - The Coyotes take the play to the Wild early and Radim Vrbata takes a cross crease pass from Petr Prucha. Fortunately, he can't find the handle right away and that gives Backstrom time to slide over and make a great butterfly stop while sponging up the rebound.
13:58 - After a slow start to the game, the guys in white finally race up the rink as Greg Zanon feeds Marek Zidlicky who rips a shot that forces Ilya Bryzgalov to make a snazzy glove save. Bryzgalov has been spectacular all season, so it's going to take some solid peppering to break his dam.12:15 - MIN 0 - PHX 1 - A bad line change leads to a quick goal by the Yotes as Prucha gets behind the Wild defense and Martin Hanzal hits him in stride to get him in alone on Backstrom. Prucha doesn't miss his spot as he roofs one over the glove hand of Backstrom. to set off the Coyote Howl in Jobing.com Arena.
9:55 - MIN 0 - PHX 2 - Criminy. Phoenix ix making this game look easy as former New Hampshire Wildcat Daniel Winnik wins a battle for the puck behind the Minnesota net and works his way around. He sends a pass out to the slot for Shane Doan who crushes a one-timer past Backstrom, who is not enjoying his team's second straight sluggish start.
6:26 - Andrew Brunette and Antti Miettinen find themselves on a two-on-one with Bruno carrying the puck. He gets into the zone and then sends one over to Mittens, but his one-timer is from long-range and that gives Bryzgalov time to slide to his right and make the save.
2:58 - Several Coyote players go after Miettinen who gets his stick tangled with Ed Jovanovski's skates as they go after a delayed icing call. Jovo Cop is especially angry, because that's just a dirty play. Now, if Mittens had tried to hit him directly in the head, that would be another story. Mittens is heading to the box for two minutes.
0:00 - The Wild can't get off the ice fast enough as the buzzer sounds. That was not good. I imagine Todd Richards will have some harsh words for his team and he might even knock over a garbage can or something for effect.Period 2
15:18 - Phoenix has a great chance during its second power play of the night. Matthew Lombardi is hit with a pass right in front and he cranks a point blank shot just wide.
13:10 - Cal Clutterbuck
, looking to produce a spark, fires a high shot on goal that Bryzgalov has trouble handling. The puck bounces right out to the front, but Eric Belanger can't connect on the bouncing puck.
10:06 - Derek Boogaard is going to get the gate on a fairly dangerous play here. Scottie Upshall pushes him after the whistle, and Boogey responds with a yank of his stick across the back of Upshall's thigh. He goes down hard, although he appears to be embellishing a little bit. Still, a dangerous play which honestly is uncharacteristic of Boogey, who abides by the code more than almost anyone in the League.2:25 - MIN 1 - PHX 2 - Phew! The Wild was in danger of going a fifth consecutive period without a goal, but it's G-Lat to the rescue. A shot from the point gets deflected to Kyle Brodziak in front, and Brodzy makes a great play by quickly tapping it over to a wide open Guillaume Latendresse and he buries it for a much-needed tally.
0:44.4 - Andrew Brunette gets in on Bryzgalov and tries to stuff one in on the backhand. That's stopped by Bryzgalov, but the puck is still free and that brings almost every player on the ice into an area of about five square feet. The puck is somewhere in there, but the ref won't blow the whistle because it's not covered up. Wild players continue to poke away and four different Coyote skaters, plus Bryzgalov are on the ice keeping it out before the whistle finally tweets.Period 3
19:25 - Backstrom has to come up big early in the third as a Coyote rush ends with Winnik getting a point blank try from a great centering pass, but the Wild keeper makes a huge stop to keep his team alive.18:01 - MIN 1 - PHX 3 - With Phoenix on its fourth power play of the night compared to zero for Minnesota, former Boston University Terrier Adrian Aucoin pads the lead. He gets the puck at the blue line and just sends a long wrist shot toward the goal. It looks like the puck hits something on its way in, but Aucoin is going to get the credit.
16:14 - You've got to be kidding. Brunette makes a great play by faking Bryzgalov out of position at the side of the net. He then throws the puck behind the Yotes keeper into the crease, where it hits Zanon and rolls toward the goal line, but Bryzgalov dives back and throws his lobster glove on it before it gets to the line. Dan Terhaar was fooled. He thought this was in, and so did I.
15:10 - Boogaard speeds up the left side as only he can and he throws a pass to the slot where Ebbett makes a great deflection that sends the puck past Bryzgalov and off the post.
14:02 - Koivu is headed to the box. Fifth penalty on the Wild. Still none on Phoenix.
13:57 - Whoops. Check that. Upshall is going to the box for a high stick, so the Wild will have a whopping five seconds of power play time coming up.
12:49 - Doan looks to have a clean breakaway on Backstrom, but Zanon comes out of nowhere with a desperation dive from behind and he cleanly knocks the puck off Doan's stick.11:28 - MIN 1 - PHX 4 - These Coyotes are for real. They aren't looking susceptible to another Wild comeback as they continue to pile on. Jovanovski enters the Wild zone deep on the left side, and he sends a pass across for Prucha, who buries his second of the game. The question now is whether or not this game has been uglier to watch than Thursday's game?
10:10 - MIN 1 - PHX 5 - Backstrom looks like he wants to head right to the locker room as he gets hung out to dry again. The Wild gives up yet another shorthanded goal as the Coyotes break in on a two-on-one. Vernon Fiddler passes over to Jovanovski, who gives it right back to Fiddler. It's an easy one. He buries it into a yawning cage.9:24 - MIN 2 - PHX 5 - Latendresse continues to be the bright spot for the Wild. He picks up his second of the night by putting a perfect tip on an Owen Nolan shot from the slot. This is the third two-goal game of the season for G-Lat, and who knows? Could this spark another miracle comeback?
8:33 - MIN 3 - PHX 5 - Queue up Daughtry! "It's not Ohhhh-veerrr!" The Wild power play strikes as Nolan gets the puck down low and just banks a shot in off the breezers of Bryzgalov and in. You know you're thinking about Chicago. Plenty of time left to score two more goals.
5:17 - MIN 4 - PHX 5 - For all you Jersey Shore fans, out there...J-Woww! Just start calling Guillaume Latendresse "The Situation." He posts the 15th hat trick in Wild history by finishing off another rush with a roof shot over Bryzgalov. If the Wild can complete this comeback, it would be more improbabable that the Chicago rally. It's going to happen.
1:01 - MIN 4 - PHX 6 - It's not going to happen. The Coyotes put it away as Vrbata tries to center a pass in front but Nick Schultz tries to glove it down and deflects it into his own net. It's just the second time in Backstrom's career that he's given up six goals in a game.
0:00 - The Wild rallies but takes a loss, and I suspect you're going to hear a lot of quotes from Wild players talking about "playing a full 60 minutes" and "not showing up to play until it was too late."