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Good evening all you State of Hockey legion knuckaheads. It's about that time to bring forth one of the most epic live in-game commentaries in the history of the World Wide Web (www for short). Thank you for joining me on this snowy Minnesota evening. It is Friday night, and I'm coming to you live where all the fun goes down on a Friday - the Al Shaver Press Box, high atop the ice surface at Xcel Energy Center.
There is just so much to gab about tonight when the Colorado Uglies...I mean...Avalanche take on your
Minn-ah-so-taaaaaaaah WHYYYYYAAAAAALLLD. First and most importantly, we don't like the Lanches. They called our guys names, and they tried to hurt our boys both physically and mentally back on December 23. Fortunately, our boys were better that night, much like they will be tonight. There's no doubt the Avs have some talent on their roster to go with their hooliganism. Matt Duchene has some skills. Former Denver Pioneer Paul Stastny is a stud. That's all well and good.
We've got Anton Khudobin. 'Nuf said. I'm sure I don't need to remind you (but I will anyway) that the guy affectionately known as "Borat" has never lost a game in his NHL career. The 2010 Eastern Conference Champion Philadelphia Flyers know this all too well. In his last NHL start, Borat made Philly look like a bunch of hockey novices. I see no reason why he won't do the same to the Avs when he makes his second career start tonight. He doesn't like them either.
Just because they're required to, the Wild will keep a backup goaltender on the bench, and that will be newly-recalled Matt Hackett
As for the rest of the lineup, you can scratch the two every day goaltenders: Niklas Backstrom
and Jose Theodore. They're dealing with some lower body issues and won't dress. Of course, Guillaume Latendresse
(abdominal) and Marek Zidlicky (shoulder) are also out of the lineup. Cam Barker will be the only healthy scratch tonight, while Jared Spurgeon
is back in the mix.
If you're like my wife, you can think of nothing else but clothing or how to spend money on clothing. For you folks, I'm happy to tell you the Wild will sport the often replicated but never duplicated home reds for this one. The Avs will go with the road whites trimmed in burgundy, blue and black with the big "A" on the chest. Do you know what the "A" stands for? Use your imagination.
KS95's Dez gets us going with the "Let's Play Hockey" declaration. Far be it from me to ignore someone named "Dez." I never have, and I never will. Let's get this thing going.Period 1
19:33 - We're just 27 seconds in, and tempers are already flaring. After Craig Anderson gloves a bouncing puck, Eric Nystrom and former Cornell Big Red Ryan O'Byrne start jostling in front of the net. There's nothing too significant here, but a likely sign of things to come.
18:12 - Former Michigan Wolverine Kevin Porter spins around and fires a low shot on goal that Khudobin easily turns aside. It's always nice to get that first save out of the way.
16:39 - Holy schneikies! Greg Zanon whiffs on a claring attempt right in front of the Wild goal and the puck is gifted right to Tomas Fleischmann about eight feet away from Khudobin. Fleischmann jumps on it, but Khudobin comes up with a huge save. He's definitely into this game now. 11:05 - MIN 0 - COL 1 - The Avs strike first as a floating puck in the neutral zone lands inside the Wild blue line where Porter picks it up and moves in on Khudobin. He picks his spot on the far side and hits it with a quick wrist shot that skims past the blocker and catches just inside the post.
9:20 - The Avs get another chance as Daniel Winnik gets loose down the slot and rips a point blank shot in Khudobin who comes way out to challenge him and plays it perfectly.
8:40 - Kyle Brodziak
very nearly gets this thing tied up twice. After Marty Havlat makes a spectacular move in the neutral zone to get around Chris Stewart, he gains the zone and fires a shot from the right circle. Anderson makes that save but the rebound comes right to Brodziak, who holds the puck and then tries to stick a backhand past the sprawled keeper, but can't squeeze it in. He gets another chance when the puck is centered to him in the low right circle and he's got nothing but net. He can't get the shot off cleanly and when he does, it hits off the side of the cage.
8:06 - Looking for his first NHL goal, Marco Scandella
cranks a shot from the point that gets through everybody and rings off the far post. That's three near goals in 40 seconds.
7:38 - More rough stuff in the corner as Adam Foote starts facewashing Chuck Kobasew, who isn't exactly known for his scrapping abilility. Way to pick your battles, Adam.2:26 - MIN 0 - COL 2 - The Wild can't finish their early chances and the Avs take advantage on their first power play. From the right circle, Milan Hejduk throws a pass down to the goal line for Stastny, who throws it right back to Hejduk. He gets a wicked shot off quickly and puts it just over the shoulder of Khudobin on the near side. For the first time in his NHL career, Khudobin has given up more than one goal in a game.
0:00 - That's not the first period we wanted, but the Wild did generate plenty of chances. Now, it's just a matter of burying one or two or five over the next couple periods. Period 2
17:18 - It's been all Wild early in the second, and Pierre-Marc Bouchard
gets the first scoring chance. The puck gets kicked right to him about four feet in front of the net. From in tight, Butch tries to go upstairs with a backhand but Anderson gets just enough of it with his shoulder to deflect it over the net.
15:02 - Antti Miettinen throws a shot toward the goal from the right circle. Anderson makes the save but kicks it right off of Andrew Brunette who is battling in front. The puck deflects off him and bounces just inches over the goal.
14:38 - Ryan O'Reilly and Matt Cullen
skate after a puck along the Colorado blue line. Cullen gets to the puck first, while O'Reilly slides headfirst into the boards at high speed. This one is ugly and he's down flat on his back and being attended to by the Colorado trainers...It's been two minutes and he's still down...They are bringing out the stretcher. This place is silent...Five minutes later, they've got him on the stretcher. Both teams are on the ice and watching intently. The fans give a nice ovation as he's wheeled off. We're set to go.
13:10 - It's been this kind of night. Brodziak makes a great play on the half wall to sidestep a check by Ryan Wilson. He then finds Cal Clutterbuck
in the slot with a perfect pass and Clutter rings a shot off the cross bar. In the last four and a half periods at home, the Wild have put four shots off the post and zero in the net.
8:51 - It continues to be a Wild-dominated second period, but Anderson and the pipes have kept the puck out thus far. Havlat has a bid from the high slot, but his heavy wrister is sponged up in the chest protector of Anderson.5:15 - MIN 0 - COL 3 - Um, I don't know how to put this one, but this one hurts. From just outside the Wild blue line, Fleishmann just flips the puck toward the goal. The bouncing puck fools Khudobin and skips right through him and into the goal. We haven't seen too many of these goals go against the Wild, but this one hurts. And it's just the third shot for the Avs in the period. They really haven't even had a scoring chance yet.
0:00 - Isn't that a kick in the teeth? The Wild easily outplays the Avs in the second and it's Colorado that pads their lead. Period 3
17:58 - The Koivu line has been out on the ice the entire first two minutes of this period. That's because they won't let the Avs breathe and just start peppering Anderson with shot after shot after shot. That unit pumps six shots on goal in the first two minutes and the shift finally ends when Stastny is forced to hook Koivu to the ice.
16:48 - The Avs try to clear the zone by ringing the puck off the glass. Scandella moves up in the zone to keep it in and takes the puck right in the ear hole. He goes down in obvious pain but is able to make his way to the bench, and then the locker room. 15:46 - MIN 1 - COL 3 - Sweet Sassy Molassy! You won't see a prettier pass...ever! We've seen Koivu come close to pulling this move off, in particular in Finland earlier this year. But this time, it results in a huge Wild goal. He gets the puck behind the net, makes a move to one side and then does a 360 spin to the other side while being hit by Stastny and puts the puck right into the crease where Andrew Brunette raps it home between the pads of Anderson. That brings this crowd to live.
9:38 - Havlat finds Brodziak cutting to the net and puts it right on the tape. Brodzy tries a quick backhand to the far side but Anderson gets the toe out for a big save.
5:10 - The Wild continues to throw everything at the net. Jared Spurgeon
makes a bid by sending one in from the point and looking for a rebound. Once again, Anderson absorbs that shot and hangs on.
4:55 - Colorado finally gets the puck in the Wild zone and Stastny rockets a one-timer from the slot, but Khudobin makes a great upper body stop.
3:08 - Nystrom causes a turnover behind the Avs net and quickly finds Brodziak out front. Anderson is scrambling around after trying to play the puck, but Brodzy shovels a close range shot just wide. He's been bitten by a black mamba tonight.0:49.5 - MIN 1 - COL 4 - Story of the night. The Wild generates a flurry of chances with Khudobin pulled. The puck goes into the corner where Wilson just throws it out of the zone and finds the empty cage at the other end.
0:00 - That will do it. The Wild outshoot the Avs 33-18, thoroughly dominate the game, and fall by the score of 4-1. Doh!