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Good evening State of Hockey legion, and welcome to a Saturday night edition of live in-game commentary, presented by Sun Country. Now, you may or may not know this, but every single web page can be tracked to see how many eyeballs come to it. We in the biz call them "web stats." Well, it turns out that live in-game commentary web stats are typicially lower on Saturday nights. We're talking...like...single digits. I was flabbergasted when I heard this news. Are you telling me there are more fun things to do on a Saturday night than sit at a computer and read comments about a Wild game? Let me tell you, there is nothing
better to do, ex
pecially on Halloween weekend.
You'll thank me tomorrow morning when you wake up with your head hurting, not from too much fun, but because your brain is packed with so much knowledge about tonight's game between your Minnesota Wild and the Detroit Gearheads, also known as the Red Wings. Let me tell you, I've got a sweet spot to watch the action - my perch in the Al Shaver Press Box. It's giving me full view of everything like pregame warmups, cool Halloween costumes in the crowd and nerds in red and white jerseys pressed up against the glass in the Detroit zone like those stupid Garfield car window stick-ons.
I'm also going to have full view of Josh Harding
's brilliance tonight. He'll be manning the pipes tongiht for the Wild, just like he did two weeks ago when he turned away 38 Red Wing shots. Hey Detroit, there's more where that came from, ya heard?
As for the lineup, the Wild will be without three defensemen - Mike Lundin
(back), Greg Zanon (groin) and Clayton Stoner
(hand) - due to injury. Brett Bulmer
and Matt Kassian
are going to be the healthy scratches. Please join me in welcoming Nate Prosser
back home as he is set to make his season debut tonight after getting the call up today. You're not going to meet a nicer guy than the Pross, but he's also got game. Mark him down for his first NHL goal tonight.
As for unis, the Wild are breaking out their green third jerseys for this Halloween extravaganza. The Red Wings are sporting their road whites trimmed in red with the Flying Goodyear on the chest.
Tonight's "Let's Play Hockey" declaration is conducted by the costume contest winners dressed up as Spy vs. Spy. Speaking of, I spy a Wild victory. Onward!Period 1
17:21 - Brad Staubitz finds himself open in the right circle and he fires a shot off a Colton Gillies centering feed. Former Maine Black Bear Jimmy Howard gives up a huge rebound right back to Stauby, but he misfires with a heavy wrister.
16:12 - Some good jump in the Wild skates so far. Matt Cullen
gains the Detroit zone with speed after flying by Jiri Hudler. He deftly drops a pass back to Nick Schultz who fires one off the outside of the post.
15:13 - Darren Helm has to be one of the more underrated players in the game. I love the way he plays. He ducks a check behind the net and then sets up Henrik Zetterberg on the doorstep, but Harding closes the door right against the post and holds his ground as Zetterberg does battle with Dany Heatley
11:27 - Aw give it to him! This one is going to be up to the folks in Toronto, but it looks good to me. Cal Clutterbuck
gains the Wings zone and then dishes to Kyle Brodziak
cutting down the slot. Howard kicks that shot out into the front where Nick Johnson
comes to a stop and has the puck bounce off his skate, over Howard and in. The play goes to review, and it's determined he intentionally kicked it in. Crud!9:09 - MIN 1 - DET 0 - This is what Dany Heatley does! Mikko Koivu beautifully chips the puck out of his own zone and sends the Heater on a two-on-one. He's got Latendresse on his left, but Heatley's got this one covered. He picks his spot where the pipe meets the crossbar on the far side and he hits it in stride. That is a snipe, and that is not going to be reviewed.
2:12 - Great effort on the PK by Cullen and Darroll Powe
. The Wings appear to have an open lane to the net, but Cullen dives in and then Powe gets in there on his knees to win the battle for the loose puck and fire it down to the other end.
1:03 - Brodziak dumps the puck in and takes a late hit from Tomas Holmstrom. Those two jaw back and forth before going into their respective boxes.
0:00 - We'll take that first period any day of the week and twice on Saturdays. The Wild heads to intermission with a one-goal lead and the better of the even strength play.Period 2
19:04 - The Wild power play nearly pads the lead on a fantastic feed into the slot by Guillaume Latendresse
. He hits a wide open Koivu about eight feet in front of the net, and the captain's redirection is stonewalled by the leg pillows of Howard.
16:57 - Simply dazzling! Harding comes up with what has to be the best save of the year for the Wild thus far. From one side of the net, Todd Bertuzzi spins around and puts a low angle shot on net. Harding stops that with his stick laid down flat, but the rebound skims to the other side for a wide open help. Somehow, Harding slides across and makes a spectacular blocker save. That right there will be a Top Play nominee. There is no doubt.
13:02 - Marco Scandella
tees off on a one-timer but breaks his stick into three pieces in the process. That you don't see too often.
8:44 - I do not like when Pavel Datsyuk starts weaseling his way around the Wild zone with the puck on the stick. It's because he does things like throw a no look pass behind everybody to a wide open Johan Franzen, who fires a shot wide.
6:28 - It's not as spectacular as his previous stop, but Harding comes up big on Holmstrom's point blank attempt.
1:25 - Harding continues to shine as the Wings are starting to fire away here in the second period. He gets a pad on a perfect Zetterberg tip from the hash marks. Then he dives to get a piece of Zetterberg's rebound on the other side.
0:00 - No goals. Plenty of action. And still a Wild lead after number two.Period 3
18:38 - Oh Bert, just chillax okay? You obviously held onto Jared Spurgeon
's stick and then ripped it out of his hands. By rule, that's a penalty, so you can quit your chirping on the way to the box. We have to have rules, Todd. Otherwise people might just go around blindside hitting people in the head.
14:54 - Wow! I guess you can argue your way into getting a call! Setoguchi hits Bertuzzi and then falls down. His stick comes up and clips Bertuzzi in the face and he goes to the bench bent over with his hand on his face. The Wings bench is irate and even though play keeps going and the Wild players touch the puck, there is no whistle. When play is finally stopped, the bench complains some more and the refs decide to give Setoguchi four minutes in penalty minutes. That is absolutely ridiculous.
13:11 - Maybe this is the save of the year. Zetterberg spots Niklas Kronwall bearing down the slot and puts one right on his tape. Kronwall tries to go upstairs, but Harding slides across, gets an arm on the shot and then is able to cover up with players swarming about.
7:48 - Man, Gui is getting a lot of chances tonight, and he makes his best bid here. After a great steal and pass by Scandella in the neutral zone, Latendresse is in on a two-on-one. He's got Heatley on the right, but the mantra these days is "shoot the biscuit." He does, but Howard makes his biggest stop of the night.
7:18 - The crowd is loving this as Clutterbuck lights up Bertuzzi behind the Detroit net. Oh it's glorious.
6:49 - Bertuzzi gets called for a hold. Poor guy, it is just not his night and my heart is hurting for him.
1:53 - Clutterbuck delivers another big check on former Michigan State Spartan Justin Abdelkader. Clutter has been a menace to the Wings tonight. Zero points, but plenty of huge hits as per usual.
0:43.4 - This would not have been cool. Harding gets the puck behind his own net and might be trying to go Ron Hextall. Instead, he turns it over but the Wings can't convert with the net empty. Holy Hannah!
0:00 - As they say in the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: "Hot Dog, Hot Dog, Hot Diggity Dog!" The Wild hangs on for a huge shutout win over the Wings, just the second ever against Detroit. We'll get them again on Tuesday. Happy Halloween all!