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Guten tag State of Hockey legion, and a Happy Black Friday to you. Welcome to live in-game commentary presented by Sun Country Airlines, the best darn passenger carrier in the skies for my money. Now, if you know anything about me, you're aware that Black Friday is easily my favorite day of the year. I don't think there's anything that speaks to the spirit of the holiday season than people waiting outside huge department stores and then throwing elbows Trevor Gillies style to get 10% off a LEGO Ninjago Lightning Dragon Battle or a Squinkies 16-piece Bubble Pack - Series 5.
I'm pretty sure that when I was resting up last night in a tent in the parking lot of Kohl's, I caught a glimpse of Wild head coach Mike Yeo. I may be wrong, because I was so hopped on caffeine I couldn't see straight, but it would make sense because it was pretty obvious that coach is rather testy today from a lack of sleep. In fact, during his media session today, he took exception to an Edmonton writer claiming that the Wild is "bad for hockey." Of course, we all know that writers in Edmonton (and Denver) know more about hockey than the people who fill up Xcel Energy Center for each game, or even coach Yeo. Plus, when one team beats another 17 times in a row on home ice, it's not so fun to watch for the losing teams biggest fan/beat writer. So, I'm sorry coach, but you need to learn that the media knows what they're talking about...always. But that doesn't mean your good-natured shots at the writer
weren't very funny to listen to.
Now then, the Wild is about to go about doing their thing against the Edmonton Geekwads (known to some as the Oilers), and win their sixth game in a row. I know...super boring right? Well, the news only gets worse for the Edmonton media...Josh Harding
is in goal tonight. Harding has lost once in regulation this season, which means he's reached his quota for the year. He will now resume his job of frustrating the Oiler skaters and boring the dickens out of their fans. Sorry Edmonton. Deal with it.
As for the lineup, it's going to be exactly the same as it was during Wednesday's yawner of a 3-2 third period comeback win over the Nashville Predators. Guillaume Latendresse
(concussion), Mike Lundin
(back), Greg Zanon (groin) and Marek Zidlicky (concussion) are out with injuries.
As for attire, the Wild will go with the green third jerseys to celebrate Black Friday. The Oilers are wearing their road whites trimmed in blue and orange with the oil drip on the chest.
Dan Johnson and James Burazin, the two finalists in the Wild.com Best Mo contest, get us going with the "Let's Play Hockey" declaration. How can you say no to faces like that? Here we go.Period 1
18:28 - What did the Oilers have for breakfast this morning? The guys in white jerseys are coming out with both guns blazing. The Wild is having trouble just touching the puck as the Oilers are firing away on Harding and putting enormous pressure on deep in the Minnesota end.
17:28 - Here come the Wild. Pierre-Marc Bouchard
makes a nifty dish to Matt Cullen
in front. His bid from in tight is stopped, and Cal Clutterbuck
pounces on the rebound. Nikolai Khabibulin kicks his pad in the air to make that stop, and it's a beauty. 14:45 - MIN 0 - EDM 1 - I'd love to know why this goal is not disallowed for man in the crease. Jordan Eberle spins in the left circle and throws the puck to the crease where Ryan Smyth has both skates, his stick and his entire body in the blue paint. He definitely wasn't pushed in there by Nate Prosser, but the refs don't call it and his tap in goal is going to count without so much as a review.
13:25 - Brad Staubitz wants some fisticuff action right now. He gets sandwiched by Darcy Hordichuk and Theo Peckham, who gets his stick up in Stauby's face and draws blood. Staubitz holds his ground and puts Peckham on the ice, but that's followed by a hit from behind again by Hordichuk. So Staubitz drills him, and then wants to drop the gloves, but Hordichuk is an unwilling participant. For whatever reason, Staubitz is going to be the one going to the box for four minutes, even though he's the one bleeding from his cheek.
9:59 - What a kill this has been for the Wild so far. Matt Cullen
and Clutterbuck do a masterful job of winning battles for the puck in the neutral zone. Cullen makes a great play by lifting an Oiler stick, stealing the puck and working his way into the Oiler zone for a shot from the slot. The crowd is roaring its approval, because apparently they don't understand how boring that is. Not just letting the Oilers walk in and score? Ridiculous.
5:12 - Oh boy. Hordichuk tries to engage Staubitz this time in the neutral zone but he's getting the cold shoulder. So Hordichuk lays a big hit on Staubitz against the glass and then goes right down to the ice. Staubitz starts throwing punches with Hordichuk laying face down on the ice with his gloves over his head. Again, the Oilers are getting a four-minute power play out of this. Really? Hordichuk was trying to fight 10 seconds ago, and he's not going to the box at all? This doesn't seem right. 3:31 - MIN 0 - EDM 2 - This game is getting really frustrating. The non-call on the Smyth goal. The eight minutes of penalties given to Staubitz. And now this. The Oilers work the puck around deep in the Wild zone and then Sam Gagner and Smyth both start whacking away in the crease. There's a mass of bodies in there, but Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is able to sweep in behind everybody and punch in the loose puck. The Wild is still going to have to kill off another two minutes of the Staubitz penalty.
0:39.4 - The Wild power play is looking strong to very strong on its first bid. Dany Heatley
had a one-timer robbed by the pad of Khabibulin earlier. Here, Heatley puts a dangerous backhand on goal. Khabibulin gives up a juicy rebound that Clutterbuck has chance at. He can't put it away, but there's a mad scramble that ends with Peckham crosschecking Heatley, giving the Wild a two-man advantage.0:09.2 - MIN 1 - EDM 2 - Count it! The power play continues to pressure until a shot on Khabibulin is popped high in the air. At the side of the net, Devin Setoguchi tries to whack it in out of the air. That bid is stopped, but he stays with it and is able to roof the puck up high under the cross bar. They go to review to see if Seto played this with a highstick, but he definitely waited until the puck camb below the iron. The goal will stand, and the Wild gets a huge momentum boost going into intermission.
0:00 - Well, that was just so boring, I'm not even sure we should play the next two periods. Rules mandate it, though, so I guess we'll just have to watch more of a game with 21 shots already, few stoppages and lots of scoring chances. Snoooooozer.Period 2
17:40 - Warren Peters
was going to tell everybody about the hit he delivered on Smyth in this game. Unfortunately, Smyth ducks out of the way and Peters delivers a big hit to the boards in the Wild zone.
13:09 - The intensity continues to rise in this one. Colton Gillies delivers a big hit on former Wisconsin Badger Tom Gilbert
near the penalty boxes.
12:45 - The word battle continues between Staubitz and Hordichuk after another whistle. Hordichuk is trying to goad Staubitz into some shenanigans and is then chirping at the Wild bench. Clutterbuck always has some things to say, and then Staubitz sends a few more barbs at his nemesis for the day.11:00 - MIN 2 - EDM 2 - Let that be a lesson Mr. Nugent-Hopkins. As he's carrying the puck in the neutral zone, RNH doesn't see Bouchard lurking behind him. Then, the little guy strikes by lifting #93's stick, peeling around and moving in all alone on Khabibulin. The Oilers keeper might be thinking another spin-o-rama is in store, but no. Bouchard neatly tucks on in on the short side and his dominance of the Oil continues.
4:31 - MIN 2 - EDM 3 - There's the other number one overall pick. After a high-rising shot by Gilbert catches Harding a bit off guard, Taylor Hall lurks near the side of the net to Harding's left. He jumps on the Thanksgiving leftovers and punches it into the gaping net. I'm still going to guarantee a Wild win in this one. There's just that feeling that this team can't lose right now.
2:29 - How good is the chemistry between Clutter and Cullen right now? Clutterbuck burns up the right side with the puck and threads a perfect pass to the other side of the net where Cullen puts it right on goal. Only a spectacular sliding pad stop by Khabibulin is enough to keep this a one-goal game...temporarily.
0:02.1 - Other teams really do not like Clutterbuck, and yet he won't back down. He gets into the crease after Khabibulin gloves a loose puck. Smyth and Peckham, who are two big boys, are both going after him. He's not backing down, and he's not staying quiet. We have got to get him mic'd up in a game for Wild.com. It just has to happen.
0:00 - There's some more chatting and shoving between Clutterbuck, Setoguchi, Ladislav Smid and Peckham. You do not want to miss the final 20 of this one...Unless you're an Edmonton fan or a member of the Oiler media contingent.Period 3
19:38 - Clutterbuck is everywhere tonight. On a power play shift, he holds the puck below the goal line and then saucers a pass to the front for Heatley. The Heater puts one right on net, but Khabibulin is able to kick that one out and the rebound is shot wide.
17:15 - Mark my words, the tying goal is coming and it's coming off the stick of Heatley. He continues to get his chances, this time on a great spin-o-rama pass from none other than Justin Falk
. Heatley catches the pass, makes a couple moves and then fires a shot that Khabibulin snuffs out.12:32 - MIN 2 - EDM 4 - I was not expecting this. The Oilers pad their lead as Ales Hemsky dances around with the puck behind the Wild net long enough to shake off Falk. He then puts a pass to the front where former Michigan State Spartan Shawn Horcoff chips one up high and past the waffle mitt of Harding. I'm still certain the Wild are coming away with two points tonight. We've just got to figure out this Khabibulin fella.
6:34 - Heads up there Tony Dacosta. The Wild's head equipment manager nearly takes a puck to the face as its shot into the Wild bench.
5:21 - During a TV timeout, this crowd gets riled up by a kid who took three fake mustaches from todays giveaway and made them into a unibrow, a 'stache and a goatee. He then gets very amped up when he sees himself on the big screen and proceeds to point at the camera and then punch the plexiglass in front of him. We should send him after Hordichuk.
3:21 - This has just been Khabibulin's game. He denies a shot by Clutterbuck and then comes up big again on Cullen's quick follow up. The young talent is one thing, but Khabibulin has to be the main reason this Oiler team is among the contenders these days.1:23 - MIN 2 - EDM 5 - So my prediction might be slightly off. The Oilers seem to have control of this one now. With Harding pulled for an extra attacker, Edmonton gains control and Nugent-Hopkins buries one into the empty net.
0:00 - The Wild's win streak is snapped at five, and the home winning streak is dashed at six. The Oilers finally get a win in St. Paul, but we will see these clowns again next week in their building and the revenge will taste delicious.