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Pleasant evening good sirs and lovely madames within the State of Hockey legion. I welcome you to another Friday night edition of live in-game commentary right here on Wild.com. I've said it before and I'll say it again: if you don't spend your Friday nights in front of your computer reading a live in-game commentary featuring the Minnesota Wild and Calgary Flames, then you are missing out on the time of your life
. So if you end up going to a restaurant or a bar or a frat party or a snow fort, I'm not going to accept an apology later. This is the place to be.
Actually, my perch in the Al Shaver Press Box at Xcel Energy Center is the place to be, although you wouldn't know it because it is rather sparse right now. All of the media bottom feeders must still be stuck in traffic in their snooty little sports cars as they curse the people in front of them and punch their steering wheels. Those media types can never just be happy and enjoy the ride of life. Besides, there work is going to be easy tonight.
The Wild are going to run roughshod on the Flames and Niklas Backstrom
is going to pitch a shutout. So there you go media, I just wrote your lead for you, but you're going to have to take care of the rest. I've got business to take care of, like watching pregame warmups where Backstrom is turning away shots to the rhythym of Eminem's "Not Afraid." It's as if he's sending a message to the people of Calgary that he's not afraid to take a stand and he wants everybody to come take his hand and walk this road together through the storm whatever weather...cold or
Look for Backy to get back in the win column tonight despite being without the services of Guillaume Latendresse
(lower body), Chuck Kobasew (lower body) and Clayton Stoner
(upper body). Justin Falk
will be the only healthy scratch tonight.
For all the fans of haute couture, allow me to tell you that the Wild will sport the home reds for this one. The Flames are going with the road whites trimmed in red, gold and black with the fiery "C" on the chest.
Mrs. Minnesota Breanna Ludeman gets us going with the "Let's Play Hockey" declaration. I make it a point never to disobey anyone that has won a pageant, so I strongly suggest we go along with anything she says. Away we go!Period 1
19:34 - The top line starts this game off and comes out flying on the first shift. Mikko Koivu
and Andrew Brunette go tape to tape, and when a pass gets away from Antti Miettinen, Brent Burns steps up and rips a shot into traffic, but Henrik Karlsson makes the save. That's right, Karlsson is starting in place of Miikka Kiprusoff. I don't mind seeing the all-time leader in wins against the Wild sitting down on the visitor's bench with a cap on his head.
13:20 - As many of you know, tonight begins the last WCHA series at the DECC Arena in Duluth, Minnesota. The bad news is your UMD Bulldogs are down 1-0 early in the game. The good news is the Denver University goal was scored by Wild prospect, Jason Zucker
11:34 - That top line continues to fly around. Koivu causes a turnover in the neutral zone and races the other way with Brunette on his left. Rather than passing, Koivu moves into the slot and rifles a heavy wrister that Karlsson snares with the lobster mitt for his first big save of the game.
9:31 - The Wild's top power play unit is chugging along as well. No goal here, but almost as the puck gets moved around and Koivu puts a quick shot on goal from point blank range. Karlsson gets a piece of it and the puck bounces to the other side where Mittens looks to have a lay up but he can't get his stick on the bouncing puck.
7:04 - On a penalty kill, Cal Clutterbuck
skates hard after a puck along the sideboards. As he gets close, former Wisconsin Badger Rene Bourque gets his stick up high and and sends Clutter flying into the boards head first. Apparently it looks worse than it is because Clutterbuck and back up and skating hard.
4:25 - Man, Jarome Iginla is a beast. He cuts down the slot with the puck and gets tripped to the ice by Koivu. Even as he's falling, he's able to get a pass over to Matt Stajan who one-times a quick shot just over the net.
3:13 - Uh oh, Miettinen is headed to the box, also for tripping Iginla, and the Wild will be two men short for 51 seconds. We're not even one period in, and Iginla has drawn three penalties.
2:22 - Out comes Koivu and the Wild is one man short.
1:12 - And here comes Miettinen and a disaster is averted. A great job on the kill as Calgary really had little in terms of scoring chances. Koivu also made a fantastic play earlier when he checked a player off the puck and from his knees, fired the puck down the rink.
0:00 - We've got 20 minutes in the books, and despite a solid first period for the Wild, we've got a couple doughnuts on the scoreboard. Mmm...doughnuts.Period 2
17:23 - Pierre-Marc Bouchard
, who has already played more games than he did last year, wheels quickly around the Calgary net. From a shallow angle, he zips a quick wrister right on goal and off the pad of Karlsson. The Flames keeper makes the save with the rebound bouncing to Havlat, but he's not at an angle to put a quick shot back on goal.
14:14 - It doesn't seem to matter who plays goal for the Flames, the Wild has a tough time sneaking one by. On the power play, Clutterbuck finds Patrick O'Sullivan in the slot. He tries to find some space between Karlsson's arm and tummy with a wrist shot, but the Flames keeper swallows that one up as well.7:17 - MIN 1 - CGY 0 - BUTCHIE!!!! Oh my we've waited a long time for this. After a Nick Schultz shot from the left circle hits a Calgary leg in front, the puck bounces right to Bouchard at the top of the crease. He has a wide open net and might be a little too excited as he fans on the first attempt, but he sticks with it just chips it in over the red line with a backhand. That's Bouchard's first goal since March 10, 2009 and it tastes delicious. The fans think so too as they let out a huge cheer when he's announced as the goal scorer.
4:45 - The good guys just miss going up by two as O'Sullivan puts a great tip on a Greg Zanon shot, and Karlsson makes a spectacular stop along the goal line. As Karlsson tries to smother the rebound with his glove, Pat O pulls the puck away to try and lift the rebound in but loses control just as he's about to pull the trigger.0:32.1 - MIN 1 - CGY 0 - With four skaters aside, there is plenty of open ice and after the Flames break out of their zone, Niklas Hagman carries the puck into the Wild zone. He doesn't have a lot of room so he throws a low shot on goal that Backstrom stops, but Mark Giordano continues to the net and is able to tuck the rebound past Backy's outstretched pad.
15:21 - MIN 1 - CGY 2 - This is not what the Wild needed by any stretch. Stajan comes away with the puck in the corner and then finds Alex Tanguay cutting right down the slot. He doesn't get everything on his shot, but he gets enough to put it over the glove of Backstrom and get the Flames on top.
13:37 - Backstrom comes up big to keep this a one-goal game as Jay Bouwmeester steps up in the Wild zone and sends a low shot toward the goal. Former Michigan Wolverine David Moss puts a perfect deflection on the shot but Backy is quick to react with a huge save. More importantly, he hangs onto the rebound.
12:38 - Short of a goal, this is exactly what we need. Brad Staubitz goes hard into the corner and blows up Anton Babchuk against the glass.
10:39 - Wow! No matter what happens, it looks as if Backstrom has quickly emerged from his slump. With Jared Spurgeon
the only man back on a Calgary two-on-one, former Michigan Wolverine Brendan Morrison gets a pass over to former Alaska Anchorage Seawolf Curtis Glencross. He looks to have an easy one-time goal but Backy slides over and just gets the right leg pillow out to make the stop.7:21 - MIN 2 - CGY 2 - Don't hurt 'em Marty! This is just plain dirty. We're talking Christina Aguilera "Dirrty." We're talking Pigpen from Peanuts dirty. Havlat gets the puck in the left circle and just brushes off a check from Giordano who is not a small man. Havlat moves in all alone on Karlsson, who he jukes out of his jock before tucking a backhand in on the far side. That is what Marty can do.
5:53 - Van Halen's "Right Now" has come over the loudspeakers, and this place that was very sparse at the start of the game is now rocking at near capacity with everyone on their feet.
0:16.3 - Brunette is trying to get something going from behind the net, and he gets the puck to Koivu for a wraparound attempt, but Karlsson is all over it.
0:00 - It's only fitting that a crowd that missed much of the game because of the weather will get to see a little bonus hockey. Let's get this W in OT.Overtime
5:00 - I promise to cheer for Jason Zucker
in the future, but I'm not pleased that his third goal of the night has just tied the UMD-Denver game at 4-4 with less than 1:30 to go at the DECC.
3:17 - It's not Iginla, but Tanguay coming in on a lone breakaway isn't much better. He tries to pull off the Charlie Babbitt triple deke, but Backstrom hangs in there and makes a huge pad save and Marek Zidlicky swoops in to carry out the rebound.
1:19 - The Wild has its best chanc e in OT as Cullen carries into the slot and pulls of a little spin move before sending a low backhand on net. Karlsson gets his leg out for the stop, and he's able to keep it out even as Havlat tries to poke it in.
0:00 - More bonus hockey. We're headed to the shootout after an intense and action packed overtime. I imagine we're going to see Butchie get his first shootout attempt. Shootout
The Wild is up first, and it's going to be Koivu to start if off. He tries his patented backhand move, but pushes it just wide of the post. Tanguay will get another crack at Backy, and he whistles a wrister past the blocker.
And here comes Butch to a rousing ovation. He makes a couple shoulder jukes and then tries to sneak a backhand in, but Karlsson kicks it out with the left toe.
Hagman can win it, and he nearly does by putting one under Backy, but putting it off the far post.It's up to O'Sullivan to keep this thing alive...and he does! He lifts a quick one high on the glove side to tie it up. Here comes Bourque, and he buries the winner, beating Backstrom with a wrist shot.