This page will automatically refresh every 60 seconds.
Bon soir to all in the State of Hockey legion and beyond. Welcome to a back-to-back home edition of live in-game commentary here on Wild.com. This evening, I'll be coming to you from my beloved perch in the Al Shaver Press Box, high above the frozen water at Xcel Energy Center. At this very moment, I'm watching pregame warmups, and let me tell you that there is a mass of red, white and blue jerseys huddled around one end of the rink. It's amazing to see how much patriotism there is today, especially with everything that's going on in the world.
I'm a little concerned about the mental capacity of said throng, however. They forgot to cheer when the Wild took the ice, and yet they let out a thunderous roar when the Montreal Canadiens emerged from their locker room. What gives? I can't imagine that they would actually be cheering for the Canadiens. If they are, then they can expect a long day of cursing in French. Right now, the Wild is like a wounded bear. They are in survival mode, and you don't want to mess with a bear that's fighting for its life, because there's nowhere to hide. You might seek refuge by scaling a tamarack pine tree, but did you know that bears can climb faster than they can run?
You might as well consider Jose Theodore as the mother bear, and the Wild net would be is cute and cuddly cubs. He will protect his cubs with every fiber of his being. Tonight, Theo is facing his former team, and he'll be looking for a measure of revenge on this day.
The Wild will be without some key players including: Guillaume Latendresse
(lower body), Cam Barker (upper body), Marek Zidlicky (lower body), James Sheppard (knee) and Marco Scandella
(finger). That's the gloomy news. But that means Nate Prosser
, the pride of Elk River, will make his season debut tonight. That's the happy news. Warren Peters
will be the healthy scratch.
If you're into fashion (and a lot of French people are), then I've got you covered. The Wild is breaking out the green third jerseys for this one. The Canadiens are wearing their road whites trimmed in red and blue with the Spanish letter "ch" on the chest. You might remember from 8th grade Spanish that "ch" comes after "c" and "d" and is used in words like "leche" or as we call it, "milk."
Jerry Kill, the man charged with leading the Minnesota Golden Gophers to the American Football promised land, gets us started with the "Let's Play Hockey" declaration. Dare I say he "killed" it? Boom! How do I come up with this stuff?Period 1
19:29 - MIN 0 - MTL 1 - Last year, this place would have gone nuts when Benoit Pouliot set up a goal. This year, the place is still going nuts, but it's those people in the red and white sweaters that are letting out a boisterous roar. On the first shift of the game, Pouliot leads a two-on-one into the Wild zone. He puts a perfect pass over to the right where Ryan White easily spanks it past a sliding Theodore. One shot, one goal for the bad guys.
16:34 - White pays the price for his earlier indiscretion of scoring against the Wild. As he looks back when trying to catch a breakout pass, Clayton Stoner
steps up and absolutely crushes him along the glass. White gets up and goes after Stoner in the Wild corner, but he doesn't come close to exacting any revenge.
14:34 - Marty Havlat undresses James Wisniewski with a jaw dropping move at the Montreal blueline. He then stickhandles his way in on Alex Auld and tries to make a quick pass. The puck hits the skate of Roman Hamrlik and bounces right in on Auld, who has his leg pillow down to make a big save.
13:48 - Stoner is a monster today. He lays his second huge check of the game, this time rocking former Michigan Wolvering Aaron Palushaj against the glass. Palushaj is visibly shaken, and I'm hoping this isn't because of a hit to the head.
13:29 - Stoner is ready to back up his hitting with some fisticuffs. White comes right up to him and the gloves are off. Stoner, who has shown that he might be the best fighter on this Wild team, lands some huge blows as equipment from both players is littered all over the ice. The zebras finally break it up, but Stoner gets this decision.
13:13 - MIN 0 - MTL 2 - This is about as intense a game as I've seen in a long time, but unfortunately, the Habs are converting on their chances. After Cal Clutterbuck delivers a big hit to win possession of the puck, he tries to make a pass over to the other side of the Wild zone. But Pouliot gets a stick on Clutterbuck's causing it to skid over to Andrei Kostitsyn in the high slot. He picks it up and fires a rocket that beats Theodore up high and gives the Habs a two-goal lead.
9:31 - The refs are a little quick on the trigger with their whistles today. Earlier, a Wild chance was blown dead even though the puck was still loose near Auld. Here, Chuck Kobasew feeds Brad Staubitz on the doorstep. His bid from in tight is stopped by Auld, but as the puck is kicked around in front of the Habs keeper, the refs blow the play dead again. The crowd is quick to let the officials know that this is getting ridiculous.
5:54 - A Clutterbuck shot hits traffic in front of Auld, but Matt Cullen
is able to kick the puck to his stick and throw it on goal. Auld again comes up with a big stop for his 10th save of the period. I have to give Auld credit on his mask as well. It looks really cool and old school a big blue stripe and a big red stripe circling the facial area. It's a solid look.
0:00 - A long, entertaining and frustrating period comes to an end. The Wild's effort is there again, but the breaks are not...again. Plenty of time for the boys to respond.Period 2
19:09 - MIN 0 - MTL 3 - The second period starts like the first did, and now it's gut check time. PK Subban, the brash youngster makes a spectacular play in taking the puck from the Wild blueline, taking a circuitous route to the side of the net and then sticking one in on the far side. He then reacts as if he just scored the game-winner in OT of the Cup finals, but that's part of the charm of Subban. He is a character.
14:38 - MIN 0 - MTL 4 - The wounded bear I mentioned in the introduction is taking a beating right now. After the Wild pours on the offense and can't crack Auld, the Habs race the other way with former Wolverine Mike Cammalleri speeding ahead with Brent Burns in pursuit. Sensing a pass, Burns dives on the ice to block a pass over to Wisniewski. Unfortunately, Cammalleri senses that, and he pulls up to allow Burns to sail right by. He then dishes to a wide open Wisneiwski who pounds it home. Todd Richards quickly calls timeout and he is quite animated with his team right now. The guys need a spark.
12:25 - MIN 0 - MTL 5 - I am running out of bold ink on my computer and it's not the good kind of bold ink. The Canadiens are pouring it on as Hamrlik cranks a shot from the point that Theodore stops. The rebound bounces right over to the other side where Travis Moen has an easy lay up for number five. That's going to be the end of Theodore's night as Niklas Backstrom gets the geraon and heads in.
6:01 - Clutterbuck is trying to do all he can to spark his team, and Nigel Dawes is going to be the victim. Dawes carries up the left side and Clutterbuck sets his sights on him and smokes him with a glass rattler near the penalty boxes.3:37 - MIN 0 - MTL 6 - Subban is a lot more reserved this time. From the top of the left circle, he unloads an absolute missile on a one-timer and blows it past Backstrom. The Wild is going to need the comeback of all comebacks in this one. And it pretty much needs to start immediately if not sooner.
0:39.9 - It's going to be difficult to start a comeback in this period anyway. Mikko Koivu
takes a penalty with Antti Miettinen already in the box. The Wild will be two men short for over a minute.Period 3
20:00 - Do you believe State of Hockey legion? I know you do. Let the comeback begiiiiiiiiinnnnn...now!18:33 - MIN 0 - MTL 7 - There are now hats littering the ice. Subban is now the first defenseman to ever record a hat trick against the Wild. He winds up and blasts a shot from the right side and he beats Backstrom once again. I'm beginning to wonder if a comeback is probable at this point. It's certainly possible.
12:01 - I don't know if there is a way to find this out but this feels like the longest game in Wild history. And trust me, I'm not doing the research to find out what really is the longest game in Wild history.
7:46 - Penalty shot! The Wild will get a chance to create some excitement after a Canadien defender covers the puck up in the Montreal crease. Koivu is going to take the shot. 7:46 - MIN 1 - MTL 7 - The comeback has begun a little late, but it has begun. Koivu goes to the bread and butter backhand flip and beats Auld up high. Six more penalty shots and we're in business.
6:05 - MIN 1 - MTL 8 - The chorus of "Ole, ole, ole, ole!" is rising up from the lower bowl. The Canadiens hang another one on us. Tom Pyatt speeds into the left circle and pumps a shot past the glove of Backstrom, off the post and in. Excuse me while I curl up in the fetal position.
0:00 - Get lost you dirty Habs fans. You had your fun. You beat us down. We will have our revenge.