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What's the good word there State of Hockey legion? Welcome to live in-game commentary presented by the fine folks at Sun Country Airlines. Have you ever had their cookies by the way? They are gooey goodness defined. Buy yourself a flight to a warm place and then have a cookie. You'll thank me.
Tonight's commentary is dedicated to all the college students out there because obviously today is International Students' Day. Today celebrates the multicultralism on campuses worldwide. Now, I know from experience that college kids usually spend their Thursday nights studying and/or hanging at the nearby coffee shop. But the fact that it is International Students' Day, might I suggest that you really get rowdy and stick here for some live in-game commentary as your first place Minnesota Wild take on the Colorado Dweebs (sometimes known as the Avalanche). It's like a crazy frat party, only it involves more reading and I do all the talking. Again, you'll thank me.
It's rather fitting that on this special International celebration, the Wild will start a goalie from the country of Finland. Niklas Backstrom
is getting the start in goal, and that's pretty comforting because the guy is 17-4-2 in his career against these clowns. I'm watching him in warmups right now, and the guy is unbeatable. Expect that to carry into game action.
The Wild are going to be without a bunch of dudes tonight, including Guillaume Latendresse
(concussion), Mike Lundin
(back), Marco Scandella
(concussion), Greg Zanon (groin) and Marek Zidlicky (concussion). That means we're going to see former Colorado College Tiger Kris Fredheim
make his NHL debut for the good guys tonight. Casey "Shane Falco" Wellman will be the only healthy scratch for this one.
As for attire, the Wild will sport the dapper red sweaters for this one. The Avs are going with their road whites trimmed in burgundy, black and blue with the snow-covered "A" on the chest.
Lindsey Whalen, the star point guard from your World Champion Minnesota Lynx, sends those winning vibes to the ice with the "Let's Play Hockey" declaration. That means we're good to go after another win for the top dogs in the Northwest.Period 1
17:24 - Not a lot of shots (zero to be exact) thus far, but a lot of skating back and forth. Former Boston University Terrier Brandon Yip chases after Jared Spurgeon
and lays a pretty good hit into the youngster. Spurge almost loses his footing as he goes into the back boards, but he's able to pull up at the last instant.
14:20 - The Wild power play gets to work with some serious puck movement in the offensive zone. Spurgeon puts one on a tee for a Mikko Koivu
one-timer from the top of the right circle. Jean-Sebastien Giguere slides over to make that stop.
13:40 - I'll go on record as saying Koivu will have a goal by night's end. He's set up perfectly by Nick Johnson
on a pass from behind the net. From the hash marks, Koivu snaps off a quick shot but Giguere comes up with a big stop. He doesn't seem to know where it is, but it's under his 800 pounds of equipment.
8:15 - That energy line centered by Kyle Brodziak
generates an odd-man rush into the Colorado zone. Darroll Powe
drops a pass into the zone for Brodziak who cranks a slapper from the left circle, looking to generate a rebound. Giguere sponges up that shot, not allowing a rebound with Powe and Nate Prosser
crashing the net hard.
4:35 - That Matt Duchene kid is dangerous. He glides into the Wild zone and looks like he's going to pass one into the slot. With the flick of the wrist, he sends a quick shot toward the goal. The puck hits a skate and deflects in on Backstrom who is just able to get his toe on it.
0:00 - No blood in the first period. We'll head to the intermission where the boys will rehydrate and maybe draw up a few plays on the whiteboard. Should be fun.Period 2
19:16 - Cal Clutterbuck
is feeling the flow these days. He jumps on a loose puck in the neutral zone and gains some speed up the left wing. He lets go with that big wrister, but again Giguere gets his padding in the way.
17:46 - Former New Hampshire Wildcat Daniel Winnik makes a nifty pass from the sideboards to the front of the net where Yip puts a deflection on it. Backstrom is positioned perfectly and makes that difficult save look easy.
10:38 - For whatever reason, Ryan Wilson is losing his mind and repeatedly crosschecking Powe in the back as he digs for a puck in the corner. The question on my mind - other than wondering what his problem is - is does he need to start hitting Powe with a hatchet to draw a penalty?
5:39 - I don't know how we're still tied at 0-0 after Nick Schultz looks to have an easy one in his 700th game. Koivu finds him pinching in deep and hits him with a perfect pass as he moves in alone on Giguere. The Avs keeper flops completely out of position, so Schultz makes a quick move. He has a wide open net, but somehow Jan Hejda keeps it out by putting his stick into the crease and knocking it away as its sliding toward the empty cage.
2:03 - Duchene is wheeling and dealing in deep in the Wild zone and nobody can get the puck away from the guy. He finally dishes off to Milan Hejduk, who puts a shot over the pad of Backstrom and through the crease.
1:00 - Kah-boom! Clutterbuck dreams of moments like this. Hejda gets the puck in his corner, turns up ice and he's greeted with a monstrous hit from Clutterbuck. Not only does Hejda go down like a sack of hammers, but his stick is also snapped in half by Clutter and his mustache.
0:00 - Two periods in the books, but zero goals. Wild will bag a few in the third and all will be good. But for now, put your feet up and relax.Period 3
13:18 - The Wild is looking to get one unconventionally here. Koivu throws the puck on goal from the corner. The puck hits off Giguere's pad and drops down where Pierre-Marc Bouchard
is waiting. He tries to lift one in there from tight quarters but pops it just wide.
10:45 - Bouchard has some jump here in the third. He speeds up the right wing and when he gets to the circle, rifles a rising shot that Giguere gets his shoulder on.
9:27 - Hey now! We've got some fire going now. Shortly after being rammed with a huge hit by Colton Gillies, former Dartmouth Big Green David Jones is an angry bird. He goes into the neutral zone and crushes an unsuspecting Justin Falk
as he's looking up to catch a puck in the air. Falk gets up immediately and drops the gloves and drops him with a huge punch. A couple good things about this: the fans are going crazy and Falker is the clear winner in the fight. The bad news is he's going to get an instigator penalty and the Avs are going to get a power play.
8:35 - More good news: Hejduk gets open in the slot and zips a shot past Backstrom. The puck clanks off the post and bounces right into the crease and under the rump of the Wild keeper. Colorado is going to call timeout right now.2:31 - MIN 1 - COL 0 - There it is! It was a long time coming, but well worth the wait. Dany Heatley tries to take a shot from above the left circle. The puck caroms off a skate and right to Devin Setoguchi who is crashing the net. He buries his chance and lets out a big time roar as he goes into the corner. We'll take it.
1:36 - Giguere heads off.
0:00 - That's going to do it. Backstrom gets the shutout. The Wild get a third straight win and maintain their hold on first place in the division.