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Good evening State of Hockey legion. I would like to formally welcome you to this edition of live in-game commentary. You may notice that I am quite formal in my greeting tonight. It's my personal feeling that I should be as proper as possible tonight because my Movember moustache is doing all it can to make me look like I should be changing a tire for Ricky Bobby in some state south of the Mason Dixon line, or coaching the Minnesota Vikings. I need to class it up a bit, so I'm doing so by using my yuppie dialect. Now, please take my arm me fair lass and I will walk you along this journey that is known around these parts as live in-game commentary.
Tonight, I'll be guiding you through a dust up between the Anaheim Ducks and the Minnesota Wild. This will be a challenge because, as you may know, I do not consider anyone on the Ducks roster, or in particular their bench, a friend. When these two teams play, I generally have a lot of words reserved for R-rated movies in my head, and then my filter kicks in and I write words fit for a PG audience. But just know this, I dislike the Ducks. They dislike me. And that's just the way it is. I can't be friends with everybody.
However, I can be friends with Niklas Backstrom
(even though he won't return my calls). He and I share a lot in common, most notably our ancestors are from Scandinavian countries, and he hates the Quacks as much as I do. I bumped into him downstairs today as he was going through his pregame zombie walk and the look in his eye told me that he's going to make it rough on the Ducks tonight. I said he had my blessing, and he kept walking. We just connect in that way.
Speaking of connecting, Cal Clutterbuck
has connected the puck to the back of the net in each of the past two games, and he's going to have the chance to do it again. Despite an upper body injury, he'll be in the lineup tonight. Unfortunately, Pierre-Marc Bouchard
(concussion), Chuck Kobasew (lower body) and Guillaume Latendresse
(lower body) will not be. You can cross them off your homemade game program, along with Clayton Stoner
who will be the only healthy scratch.
If fashion is at the top of your mind, I've got your back. The Wild will be breaking out the green third jerseys for tonight's contest. The Ducks will wear their road whites trimmed in copper, black and orange with "Ducks" written on the chest. Bow-riiiiing!
Four season ticket holders who are sporting some of the best Movember Mo's you'll ever see get us going with the Let's Play Hockey declaration. We are now go for launch.Period 1
19:14 - Antti Miettinen, who has scored a goal in two of his last three games since recovering from a concussion, leads a rush the other way. He skates up the left side, and then makes a nice cut to the slot where he fires a heavy shot on goal, but former Colorado College Tiger Curtis McElhinney is there to make the save.
18:12 - Marek Zidlicky gains the zone and fires a high riser that McElhinney tries to glove, but can't handle. Zidlicky slices the D and grabs his own rebound, but with the keeper down, he misses with a shot from in tight, putting it just wide. Zid looks to the ceiling in disbelief.
17:52 - Three lines have been out there so far, and all three have produced a legitimate scoring chance. This is the best opportunity as Clutterbuck emerges from the corner with the puck. From about 10 feet out, he beats McElhinney cleanly with a wrister, but clanks it right off the upright.
5:18 - Look out! Working behind the Anaheim net on the power play, Casey Wellman takes a heavy shoulder from Paul Mara, and goes head first into the backboards. This could have been disastrous, but Wellman looks just fine as he hops up and rejoins the play.
1:10 - Cam "Bark Dog" Barker unloads a slapper that gets through all kinds of traffic and forces McElhinney to make a kick save. That leaves a juicy rebound, but Robbie Earl can't quite get to it with enough time to steer it towards the goal.
0:00 - A period dominated by the Wild on the ice, but on the scoreboard ends with plenty of cheers from the home crowd. The good guys will relax in the dressing room for a bit, possibly go over some strategic maneuvers and come back with more offense in the second. Period 2
18:02 - Backstrom had an easy first period, but he's tested early here in the second. Corey Perry appears shaken when he takes a hit behind the Wild net, but he shakes that off when he gets to the front of the net and a Bobby Ryan rebound hops right to his stick on the doorstep. Perry can bury his chances, but Backstrom stretches every inch of his right leg pillow and robs him with a huge stop.
16:48 - Big tree fall hard. Former Princeton Tiger George Parros, who grows moustaches year round, gets rocked by a hit from Brad Staubitz that sends him toppling onto his back like Glass Joe getting knocked out in Tyson's Punchout.
15:42 - Mikko Koivu
would like to have this one back. He's out there killing a penalty when John Madden races the other way on a two-on-one. Madden takes the puck in deep and then slides one over to Koivu at the last minute. He has a wide open net staring at him, but he punches the puck wide. 15:04 - MIN 0 - ANA 1 - Rather than the Wild being up a goal, the Ducks come back the other way and convert on the power play. Ryan Getzlaf fires a shot that Backstrom stops and puts the recound tho his left. Perry has to reach for it, but rather than putting a shot right back at the goal, he makes a sick pass to the other side where Teemu Selanne drills it into a wide open net.
13:26 - MIN 1 - ANA 1 - This is what you'd call "an answer." Havlat, who hsa been all over the place tonight, gets a well deserved bounce, which is something he hasn't seen a lot of this year. He hustles behind the Duck net and just tries to throw a blind backhand pass to the front of the net. But the pass is coming in tight to the net, and it hits the pad of McElhinney and deflects just over the line.
10:03 - Oh my! Greg Zanon doesn't let guys get around him often, but not many guys can pull off the toe drag move that Ryan does here. He makes a slick move with the stick and then ducks past Zans. He then gets Backstrom to go down, but the puck rolls off his stick before he can tuck in a highlight reel goal.
6:36 - Parros has his revenge. After a little dustup in front of the Wild bench between Staubitz and a Ducks player I can't make out, Parros jumps in and grabs Stauby. Even though he's giving up a lot of height and weight, Stauby is more than willing. For the most part Stauby is holding on for dear life. I never like to say a Wild player loses a fight, so I won't. But I'm not going to say that Staubitz is the victor in this one. That would make me a liar. I am not
0:54.4 - After Staubitz serves his five minutes for fighting Parros, he makes his way back to the bench where all of his teammates are banging their sticks on the boards, respecting his willingness to battle a heavyweight like Parros.Period 3
18:47 - A great shift for the Madden line leads to a prime chance for John as he goes down low beneath the right circle and then jumps to the front to attempt a stuff. McElhinney makes a stop, but the rebound is laying on the doorstep for a split second and is cleared just before Havlat can drive to the net and pounce on it.
14:20 - Things are getting dicey as the Ducklings are starting to generate some oh-fense. Former Ferris State Bulldog and North Dakota Fighting Sioux Jason Blake gets a full head of steam going into the Wild zone. He pulls up to avoid a charging Marek Zidlicky and then rifles a wrist shot up high that Backstrom has to get the waffle mitt on.
10:18 - I just love the speed and energy that Robbie Earl brings to this lineup. He nearly puts the Wild on top by moving around like a water bug to get the puck behind the Anaheim net. Then, he goes to one of his favorite moves of faking a move to the slot, and then spinning the other way to fire a wrister. He puts a shot right into the crease that McElhinney stops, but the puck lays there as players scramble to knock in the rebound. No dice!
6:03 - Oh that's just a big save. A long shot is stopped by Backy, but the rebound pops right out front to a lurking Ryan. He makes a move to the backhand, but the Wild stopper drops into the splits, and slides to the right to make a monstrous save. If he's not in the All-Star Game, there needs to be some heads checked. By the way, you can vote for him and Koivu and Zidlicky by going to vote.nhl.com
0:00 - We are going to get some bonus hockey, where the Wild will get its first overtime victory of the season. It will be an epic celebration inside Xcel Energy Center. Just you watch!Overtime
4:23 - Zidlicky takes Selanne down behind the Wild net. Selanne yells at Zid, who yells right back, apparently accusing him of a dive. I'm going to agree with Zid. He is an honest man.
2:52 - Jiminy Jumper! Cullen wins the race to a loose puck behind the Anaheim net, and he finds Havlat on the other side cutting down the slot. Havlat has some room to shoot, but he tries to go upstairs and puts it off the side of the cage.1:24 - MIN 2 - ANA 1 - Holla! That's a big, fat W for the good guys! Marco Scandella gets his first ever NHL point by going behind the net and feeding Miettinen bearing down the slot. His shot right on is stopped by McElhinney, but the rebound pops up and hits Mittens in the upper body and bounces in. That sets off a Wild celebration, even though they go upstairs for a review. Everybody knows its good, and the Wild has the much-needed two points.