This page will automatically refresh every 60 seconds.
Howdy State of Hockey legion, and a very Happy Independence Day to all of the Wild fans in Botswana, who are no doubt taking a break from their fireworks and backyard BBQ's for a little live in-game commentary action, presented by Sun Country Airlines. Of course, I don't need to tell you that Botswana didn't gain its Independence Day from Great Britain until 1966. We gained our Independence from those Red Coats well over 200 years ago, and we still party like it just happened last year. So you've got to think the people of Botswana totally blow it out in this, their 45th year of independence.
: Setoguchi Goal: 3-1
| Koivu Goal: 2-1
| Bouchard Goal: 1-0
I like to celebrate any kind of party in the Al Shaver Press Box, and that's where you'll find me tonight for the final preseason game of 2011. Now, I bear no prejudice toward the preseason. I mean, some of my favorite games are preseason games. But I think I speak for everybody when I say, "Let's get to the good stuff" which is slang for "Bring on the regular season." So there is only one way to do that: take care of the Edmonton Puppy Haters, also known as the Oilers, and then start fixating on the regular season opener next Saturday.
Fortunately, we've got Nik Backstrom manning the crease for the Wild tonight in his final tuneup. He is looking like a world beater right now in warmups, so I can't imagine beating the Oil will pose any real concern for him.
There will be a few guys getting some rest to relieve some aches and pains tonight. Cal Clutterbuck
(groin) is one of them. Mike Lundin
(back), Matt Cullen
(upper body), Jared Spurgeon
(chest) and Matt Kassian
(hand) are among the injured players who will sit this one out.
As for the sweater choices, the Wild will go with the home reds as per usual in the preseason. The Oilers are wearing the road whites trimmed in blue and orange with the tear drop on the chest.
Now we're just about set to go. Of course, you can watch tonight's game through the video stream right here
, but I don't know why you'd want to do that when you can read all night on a Friday night. That's what the cool cats do.
And away we go.Period 1
19:36 - Did I not tell you Backstrom is on his game tonight? When will you start believing me? He makes two very solid saves to get things started, stopping a long Tom Gilbert
shot, and then denying a point blank rebound chance from Magnus Paajarvi on the doorstep.
17:21 - The Wild's top power play unit puts on a passing clinic in the Edmonton zone, finished by a beautiful cross rink pass by Mikko Koivu
to Dany Heatley
. The Heater has Devan Dubnyk on the move, but he doesn't get good wood on the shot and misfires with a shot wide. He won't be missing those when the games count.
15:20 - The rest of the Wild power play didn't look so hot, but at even strength, the Wild are buzzing the net. Eric Nystrom rips a shot on goal through traffic, and Dubnyk can't control the rebound. Newly acquired Nick Johnson
is battling in front and is able to backhand the puck on goal, but Dubnyk is able to snuff that out.
12:47 - These top two lines know how to move the puck, I mean let's just be honest. Pierre-Marc Bouchard
makes a great pass over to Guillaume Latendresse
as they enter the Edmonton zone. G-Lat then feathers a pass to the slot where Marek Zidlicky is cruising in, and he puts a nice redirection on that one, forcing Dubnyk to make another tough save.
9:01 - This is the third time now that Wild players have gained the zone and then put a pass right on the tape of a teammate going hard to the net. This time the passer is Heatley, and the recipient is Darroll Powe
, who puts another shot on and Dubnyk has to make another sliding, butterfly stop.
7:46 - This time it's Backy who has to come up with a huge save. A turnover in the Wild zone leads to Teemu Hartikainen getting the puck all to himself as he bears in on net. Backstrom comes way out to challenge him and just gets a toe out to make the stop, and the rebound chance by Ryan Keller is fired wide.
1:01 - Another odd man rush for the Wild, this one led by Latendresse. He's given the shot, and you know him, he's going to take it. He tries to go high glove, but Dubnyk is up to the challenge to make the big stop.
0:00 - A free flowing first period ends with a couple bagels on the board. Time to rest the limbs and drink some Powerade, and the boys should come back refreshed for period two.Period 2 19:23 - MIN 1 - EDM 0 - And that's how it's done, gang. Bouchard shows he's got the moves like Michael "Mick" Jagger when he gets the puck along the far boards and has Latendresse cutting to the net. Butch looks for the pass, but both defensemen go with G-Lat, so he takes the puck to the front and tucks a quick backhand under the leg pillows of Dubnyk. And they say the Wild struggle in the second period.
18:30 - I'll be honest, I didn't see what happened here since I was typing, but it does not look good. From what I can gather, Eric Nystrom tries to track down an icing, but takes Taylor Fedun hard into the boards from behind and Fedun is seriously hurt. Theo Peckham rightfully comes to his teammate's defense and goes after Nystrom, but it doesn't escalate too quickly. Everybody seems concerned about the well being of Fedun, who is going to have to be carted off on a stretcher. Nystrom is going to get five minutes for boarding and a game misconduct. I'm sure Brendan Shanahan will also be having a look at the hit.
16:28 - Koivu and Devin Setoguchi
look good together on a four-on-four situation. Koivu carries the puck all over the Edmonton zone before going down low and dishing back out to Seto for an in-close one-timer. Dubnyk makes a nice pad save on that one to keep the Wild lead at one.
14:54 - Is that Paul Coffey down there or Jeff Petry. I get those two guys confused all the time. It is in fact Petry I'm told makes this dandy maneuver to get around Greg Zanon and get in alone on Backstrom. Nik is again rock solid, making the stop with the upper body.
13:40 - During a TV timeout, Heatley and Peckham are spending a lot of time jawing at each other. Peckham likes to yap, but Heater is not one to shy away from that.
13:40 - Now that's a veteran Kiss Cam move right there. A guy is obviously not getting anywhere with the gal next to him as she refuses to kiss him. He convinces her to give him a peck on the cheek and as she moves in, he quickly turns and gives her a big 'ol lip smacker. Well done my man.13:03 - MIN 1 - EDM 1 - Penalty shots are a lot more fun when it's your team taking them. But Anton Lander plays for the Oilers and he gets hooked on a breakaway by Zidlicky. Lander uses the penalty shot to make a quick deke and then roofs a backhand to square this one up.
6:38 - After a Backstrom save, Justin Falk
and Gilbert Brule start mixing it up and palming each other's faces. That has to smell delightful.
0:00 - That'll wrap up period number two, which didn't decide anything. We'll get the game-winner in the third here, and then some insurance to boot.Period 319:13 - MIN 2 - EDM 1 - And just like that the Wild are back on top with a blast on the power play. Mikko Koivu rips a slapper that skims over the the glove hand of Dubnyk, and sets the Lighthouse off with the sound we all love so much, the goal horn. Give Zidlicky credit on the assist of the power play marker.
14:16 - MIN 3 - EDM 1 - Dubnyk should be happy to give up this goal, because if this shot makes contact with him, he's heading to the ER. Setoguchi skates up the right side and when he gets to the right circle he unleashes a howitzer not seen in these parts since Brian Rolston strutted around. The shot beats Dubnyk over the shoulder, and the Wild has that insurance goal.
9:22 - Ales Hemsky, who I feel like has played in Edmonton since the Gretzky days, makes a slick move to get in on Backstrom. But the Wild netminder holds his ground for a big save, and a wild scramble ensues, but the puck is lost in the mayhem and never crosses the goal line.
7:20 - Brett Bulmer
continues to impress. He incenses the Edmonton bench with a check and then later in the shift, after throwing another hit, he's confronted by Lennart Petrell. Bulmer does not back down and they drop the gloves. Bulmer goes to town on Petrell for a good while, and after the Edmonton combatant comes back with a few blows of his own, Bulmer throws him to the ice. An impressive display by the kid who looks like he should probably be at Driver's Ed class tomorrow morning.
6:25 - Oh my! This is a spectacular save by Backstrom after a pass is deflected right onto the tape of a streaking Ryan O'Marra. He has the whole short side, but Backstrom slides over and makes a ridiculous stop with the lobster mitt.6:22 - MIN 3 - EDM 2 - Right off the ensuing faceoff, the Oilers strick as Linus Omark fires one through traffic and beats a screened Backstrom up high. This looks to be the start of an Edmonton comeback.
5:55 - MIN 3 - EDM 3 - And yes, this goal happens as I was writing about the previous goal. An Oiler shot from the point bounces off another skate in front, and that's former Wild draft pick Ryan Jones who picks it up and roofs a backhand.
2:28 - Bouchard dances around the Edmonton zone before sending a pass to the point for Zidlicky. He cracks a shot that bounces all over the place, but very nearly goes in on its way past the net.
1:38 - We'll take this. The Oilers appear to have a goal as a shot is snapped past Backstrom. But no, there's going to be a penalty on Brule. So we don't just remain tied, but the Wild will have the man advantage for the remainder of regulation.
0:00 - The preseson is going to last a little longer than expected. The Wild buzzes but can't convert on the power play, so we're headed for some bonus hockey.Overtime
3:16 - Not known for his offense, Falk has a pass teed up for him by Clayton Stoner
, and he steps into a one-timer that Dubnyk makes a pad save on.
0:20.1 - Man it's nice to have a healthy Bouchard in the lineup. He goes coast to coast and makes a sick move to get in on Dubnyk at full speed. Only problem is he tries to go upstairs and has a little too much loft on it, sending it over the net and the glass.
0:00 - Nothing decided there. Let's settle this with a breakaway contest. Shootout
Koivu is going to lead this one off. He tries to go upstairs with a backhand, but Dubnyk is expecting it and snuffs it out.
Omark goes wide and then comes in hot, trying to stick a wrister in net, but Backstrom knocks that away with the glove.
Bouchard offers up two shoulder shakes and tries to tuck one five hole, but nothing doing.Here's Lander, who already scored on a penalty shot. He puts in a quick shot and Edmonton has the lead.
It's up to Seto, who tries to go Rolston again with a slapper, but Dubnyk gets just enough, and the preseason is over.