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Happy St. Patrick's Day my little Mo Cuishles! Welcome to another edition of live in-game commentary presented by the friendly leprechauns at Sun Country Airlines. I've got a little bit of news to announce before we get this party started. This will likely be one of my last commentaries, at least for awhile. I am moving into another position here with the Wild as I'll be managing the social media for the team. So I highly encourage to "Like" the Wild on Facebook and follow @mnwild on Twitter. I will make it worth your while.
But in the meantime, you'll be getting a healthy dose of Mike Doyle manning the keyboard. He'll be getting it done just like he did for the the ol' St. Cloud State Huskies in the mid 2000's.
So let's enjoy this time together. I can't think of a better day for you to be kicking back by your computer and reading this commentary as the Carolina Hurricanes take on your Minnesota Wild. I even encourage you to throw back a green beer if you are 21 years of age or older. If not, pour yourself a big glass of Hi-C, Ecto Cooler flavored. It's nice and green.
Speaking of "green," the good guys in green have Matt Hackett
starting in goal today. I'm not sure if the kid they call "Hack" is Irish, but I do know he's stingy when it comes to goaltending. I don't know if Irish people are sterotypically stingy, but if that's the case, then Matt could very well be a Paddy.
As for the rest of our lineup, we're going to wait on the return of our Finns, who were probably celebrating St. Urho's Day yesterday. Mikko Koivu
(upper body) and Niklas Backstrom
(groin) are both out. Mike Lundin
(lower body), Justin Falk
(lower body), Pierre-Marc Bouchard
(concussion) and Guillaume Latendresse
(concussion) are also out. Matt Cullen
is good to go, and Matt Kassian
and Kurtis Foster
will be healthy scratches.
You can be darn tootin' that the Wild will wear their green third jerseys for this special day. The Hurricanes are wearing their road whites trimmed in black and red with the frisbee on the chest.
Denver University Head Coach George Gwozdecky and North Dakota Head Coach Dave Hakstol get us going with the "Let's Play Hockey" declaration. Even though they're from the wrong schools, I say we go along with it.Period 118:58 - MIN 0 - CAR 1 - This isn't exactly the start we were looking for on this St. Patty's Day. An errant Clayton Stoner pass is picked off in the high slot by Drayson Bowman. He makes one move to put the puck on his backhand and flick it past the glove of Hackett. Fortunately in hockey, a one goal lead can be easily erased. The same can be said for three goal leads in some cases.
16:36 - Nothing like a good ol' fashioned scrap on St. Patrick's Day. First, Dany Heatley
and former Western Michigan Bronco Patrick Dwyer start getting into it. In fact, Heatley just snaps and gives him the business. Just when it looks like things will calm down, Nate Prosser
and Brandon Sutter drop the gloves. Sutter has Prosser on the ropes at first, but the Elk River kid channels his inner Tiger and comes back with an upper cut and a knockout blow. 12:52 - MIN 1 - CAR 1 - This will make your corned beef and cabbage taste that much better. The Wild applies some serious pressure deep in the Carolina zone. Finally, the puck is worked to Steve Kampfer, who makes a nice touch pass to Kyle Brodziak cutting down the slot. Brodzy tucks a quick backhand past Brian Boucher that catches the inside of the far post and pops in. We're back to square.
10:08 - Kampfer is very noticable out there today. He's been getting active in the offensive zone, and he makes a nice play here, snapping off a quick shot from the right circle that finds its way through traffic and forces Brian Boucher into a tough save.
4:47 - Cal Clutterbuck
has the puck pop right to him in the low slot. Believe it or not, he tries to beat Boucher upstairs but misses the net and puts it off the glass.
0:00 - The first 20 of this one are in the books. Time for some energy drinks to replenish the fluids and then more action after the Zambonis do their thing.Period 2
18:42 - Darroll Powe
gets the legs churning to chase a puck that is lofted into the Carolina end. He races past the defense to get their first and then tries to go upstairs with a quick backhand, but he can't quite get it over the shoulder of Boucher.
14:14 - Whewie! A deflected puck ends up on the stick of Eric Staal just below the hash marks. He has his back to the net, but he spins quickly and puts a low backhand past Hackett. Fortunately, he clanks it off the inside of the post and it stays out.
11:22 - Staal is causing all varieties of trouble for the Wild right now. After whistling a shot just wide, he wins the puck back behind the Minnesota net. Without looking, he sends a perfect feed to the side of the net for a crashing Chad Larose. He tries to go upstairs but Hackett shuts the entrance quickly.
9:12 - Tom Gilbert
makes a great play to save a goal. After a shallow angle shot is kicked out by Hackett to the left side, Staal is right there for the rebound. He has a wide open net to shoot at, but Gilbert lunges and gets just enough of it to deflect the puck wide.7:27 - MIN 2 - CAR 1 - That's what we're talking about! Recently scratched Nick Johnson comes up with a great shift on that reunited line of Brodziak and Heatley. They work the puck around down low until Johnson fires off a shot from below the right circle. Boucher makes that stop, but Johnson as another whack and puts it up and in on the far side.
5:14 - Only Heatley would try to take a full slap shot from well behind the opponent net and darn near score a goal. After he can't control a Matt Cullen
pass on the power play, he recovers the puck along the endboards and then just whistles a shot to the front where Boucher is scrambling. The puck hits Boucher and ends up about an inch from the goal line before it gets covered up. 4:36 - MIN 3 - CAR 1 - Now that's how you enter the zone. The Wild's power play unit makes it look easy with tape to tape passes as Clutterbuck sends one to the right side for Brodziak. He quickly throws another pass to the front where a cutting Erik Christensen taps it past Boucher. Christensen follows that with a great celly, slamming his stick on the glass.
2:46 - MIN 3 - CAR 2 - The Canes stop the bleeding with a goal of their own. They play keep away down low until Drayson Bowman tries to center one out front to Sutter. The puck hits off the skate of Devin Setoguchi and deflects in just over the goal line. Period 3
15:50 - Dwyer cross checks Jed Ortmeyer
right in the face and gets away with it. I think these refs are in a hurry to hit up a pub in the very near future.
15:06 - Another strong performance turned in by Hackett today. He is positioned perfectly to take a scoring chance away from LaRose from point blank range.12:44 - MIN 3 - CAR 3 - A four-on-four situation opens up the ice and the Canes take advantage. Sutter loses his man in the neutral zone and Bowman hits him with a perfect pass to spring him on a breakaway. Sutter makes a quick move and then puts a backhand top cheese for the equalizer.
11:56 - MIN 3 - CAR 4 - A one-goal lead has quickly morphed into a deficit. Fresh out of the penalty box, Tim Brent gets the puck at the right point. He winds up and cranks a shot that has eyes through a maze of legs and fines the far corner on Hackett's stick side. That'll suck the life out of this joint.
10:04 - That line with Staal, LaRose and Jiri Tlusty is as dangerous as they come. They again are wreaking havoc in front with LaRose getting two chances from in tight, but Hackett is able to make two scrambling saves.
4:59 - Good night Jussi Jokinen. The shootout specialist gets lined up in the neutral zone by Stoner, and he gets buried with a monstrous hit.
2:37 - Ooh! A shot from Clutterbuck hits off a leg but rolls all the way to the front where Cullen is waiting. He is all alone in front of Boucher, but he can't get the backhand up ight enough as the Canes netminder absorbs it while down on his side.1:15 - MIN 3 - CAR 5 - Ish. With Hackett out of the net. Gilbert and LaRose are in a race for the puck into the Wild zone. The both dive headfirst for it, but it's LaRose who gets enough of the puck to punch it in before both players go sliding into the net.
0:00 - And that's the game. The Wild don't get the luck on St. Patty's Day and fall to the Canes. Don't forget to follow the Wild on Twitter (@mnwild), and Mike Doyle will have your back for the rest of the Wild season.