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What up y'all, and a Happy Thanksgiving Eve to everybody out there in the State of Hockey and beyond. I'll get right to the point on this crazy night. Xcel Energy Center is buzzing with this afternoon's breaking news that the Minnesota Wild has signed 51-year-old goaltender Paul Deutsch. Niklas Backstrom
is dealing with a personal issue, and Matt Hackett
is on his way here, but he's not here yet. That means Deutsch is down on the ice right now for pregame warmups. He's currently shooting the breeze with Predators backup Anders Lindback.
A visibly nervous Deutsch has already met with the media tonight, and he had some good quotes. I'll admit to being a little miffed (or as Tony Soprano would say, "miffled") that I'm not the Wild's emergency goaltender tonight. I dabbled in goaltending as a high schooler in Duluth, and while I might be a little rusty, you can be darn sure I'd write a piece about it for Wild.com. Plus, I'd have some pretty money quotes for the media bottom feeders like "no comment" and "From now on, I'm going to ask and answer my own questions" and "Straight cash homey."
Deutsch didn't use any of those gems, but he did have some funny things to say and you'll be able to watch it on Wild TV right here
Now then, Josh Harding
will be the actual starter, and I'm just waiting for him to fake an injury so as to give Paul a coronary. But as of now, Harding is doing nothing but looking incredibly agile as he faces shots from his teammates.
Other than Backstrom, the Wild will also be missing Guillaume Latendresse
(concussion), Mike Lundin
(back), Greg Zanon (groin) and Marek Zidlicky (concussion). When Hackett gets here (he's currently at baggage claim at MSP), he'll hop on the bench and replace Deutsch.
As for the unis, the Wild will go with the home reds for tonight's game. The Preds are wearing their road whites trimmed in blue and gold with the saber-toothed tiger on the chest.
Dave Margenau gets us started with the "Let's Play Hockey" declaration, but unfortunately that won't hold true for Paul Deutsch. It appears his Wild career is over as Hackett has arrived and is on the bench. Sorry Paul, but we're about to do this anyway.Period 1
18:36 - Cal Clutterbuck
rifles a high-rising wrister that Pekka Rinne gets his blocker on. The puck pops in the air and Rinne has no idea where it is, but Clutter can't get to it in time to bang it home.
18:13 - Dany Heatley
wins a battle in the corner and then feeds it into the left circle for a wicked one-timer by Mikko Koivu
. Rinne actually kicks this blazing shot out of the air with his leg pad. Koivu is looking like a beast again.14:39 - MIN 0 - NSH 1 - I'm sure Twitter is buzzing with "put Paul Deutsch in net!" jokes right now. The Predators draw first blood on their first shot. Jordin Tootoo attempts a pass in front, but it hits a skate. Tootoo picks up the loose puck, takes it to the net and somehow stuffs it past Harding who appears to have everything covered. Unfortunately, the puck squeaks over the line, setting the stage for yet another Wild rally.
12:54 - Harding shakes off the early goal quickly as he comes up big on a dangerous play. Martin Erat circles in the high slot and wrists a hard, low shot on goal. Mr. Carrie Underwood is causing some havoc in front and might even get a piece of it, but Harding doesn't get rattled and turns it away.
8:36 - Every since fighting off Clutter's shot, Rinne looks locked in. After a beautiful cross-ice setup by Koivu, Devin Setoguchi
one-times a bullet from the left circle. Despite moving to his right, Rinne is able to reach back with his left and snare the puck beautifully with the lobster mitt.
3:27 - Justin Falk
juuuust misses his first career NHL goal. A loose puck slides out to him at the top of the left circle and he steps into a big slapper that beats Rinne on the glove side, but slams off the post.
1:55 - After Koivu fires a shot on goal that Rinne sponges up, two former Wisconsin Badgers - Heatley and Craig Smith - exchange a few crosschecks to the ribs.
0:00 - The Wild look good in the first, but the score doesn't indicate it. As we know well, a one-goal deficit is really nothing to this never-say-die crew. Look for some goals by the good guys coming up after intermission.Period 2
18:05 - Marco Scandella
, in his first game back after missing four games with a concussion, makes a great play here. A Sergei Kostitsyn slapper is knocked away by Harding to the other side where Tootoo steps into a shot. Harding isn't back in position yet, but Scandella slides in the path of the shot for a spectacular block.
17:48 - Colton Gillies delivers a big hit on Brian McGrattan against the glass. Gillies catches too much of McGrattan's back and will get called for boarding. McGrattan is slow to get up, but he eventually does.
17:10 - Doubtful that Deutsch, or any other goalie, would have made this save. On Nashville's power play, a shot from the point that misfires bounces hard off the backboards. It pops right out front to the stick of Kostitsyn, who wheels around on an empty net, but is robbed by the paddle of Harding as he dives across the crease.
12:04 - My goodness this Kostitsyn is all over the place. He wheels and deals in the Wild end and then centers one out to Smith for a one-timer, but Harding is all over it with a kick from the leg pillow.
11:56 - The good news is that the Wild is about to see the Preds go down to four skaters for about four minutes. The bad news is that Gillies is going to need some dental work after taking a highstick from former Boston University Terrier, Colin Wilson. Gillies shows the refs the damage just as his mug is put on the Jumbotron. That's definitely a missing molar.
3:54 - Nate Prosser
, who again has looked very good tonight, smartly wrists a low shot toward the goal from the left point. Heatley puts a tip on it, causing Rinne to react late, but the goalie jsut gets enough.
3:24 - Harding makes a stop on a shot from in tight, and now players are starting to push each other around. Prosser and Erat are going at it pretty good until a ref steps in and listens to Erat complain at length.
0:06.6 - Koivu makes a delicious feed into the low slot for Heatley, who wheels around and wrists a screamer low on the goal. Rinne is somewhat out of position but still gets in the way of it. Heatley puts his gloves to his face after the shot, knowing he could have had it.
0:00 - So the few goals haven't come yet. We all know the third period is when the Wild is at its best. Just sit back, enjoy a beverage and get ready for a memorable third period.Period 3
18:55 - MIN 1 - NSH 1 - And that's how you do that. Koivu starts a two-on-one from his own end and he's got Heatley on his left. The captain puts one right on the tape of the Heater, and all he has to do is put it home on the far side. He does, and those two celebrate right in the crease area of Rinne. What is it about this Wild team that just thrives in the third period?
18:08 - Oh my! That's now 17 consecutive saves for Harding since allowing the first shot to slip by. This is his best. Once again, Kostitsyn gets loose in the low slot and rips a shot pegged for the top shelf. Harding is spider monkey-like in getting the glove up to rob him clean.
14:02 - I'll take it, but this seems to be an awful call that will go the Wild's way. Harding goes to play the puck at the side of the net, but loses control into the "No Trespassing for Goalies" area. As he backs up toward his crease, he collides with Smith, who is going to be called for goaltender interference. Like I said, we'll take it.
11:48 - Another former Badger, Ryan Suter, takes a slashing call with 18 seconds still left on Smith's minor. That means 18 seconds of five-on-three for the good guys. The Wild calls timeout, which will allow energy for maximum celebrations for the go-ahead goal.
11:01 - Koivu and Heatley continue to show that chemistry. Koivu puts one right in Heater's wheelhouse from the left circle, but Rinne stops him. 10:21 - MIN 2 - NSH 1 - Hey now! The celebration is on! The power play comes through with some beautiful puck movement. Matt Cullen sends a pass across the slot to Kyle Brodziak in the low left circle. Rather than one-timing it, Brodzy calmly catches it, then sends a low wrister that squeezes through the arm and body of Rinne and falls into the net. This place is once again rocking.
7:24 - On a Nashville power play, Brodziak takes a shot right off his foot and he is in major pain like Damon Wayans. Luckily, Darroll Powe
gets the puck down the ice and Brodziak immediately gets to the bench. 6:41 - MIN 3 - NSH 1 - Oh you have got to love this! Still down a man, Koivu just flips the puck out of the Wild zone and into the sideboards in the Nashville end. Rinne starts to come out to get the puck, but it has some backspin on it and Cal Clutterbuck is winning the race to it. Rinne tries to get back, loses his balance and it's over. Clutter takes advantage and pumps a shot into the empty net. He then goes all out celly on one knee with the multiple fist pumps. What a night this has become!
6:24 - Fracas alert. After a glove save by Harding, tempers are flaring. Prosser and Patric Hornqvist start going at it in front, and then Clutterbuck comes in there like an angry hornet, trying to get at Hornqvist. Clutter is literally wrestled to the ground by the linesman. When all is said and done here, the Preds are going to have a 5-on-3 advantage.6:03 - MIN 3 - NSH 2 - The Preds take advantage quickly. Erat gets it low to Tootoo who quickly puts a pass in front to Suter. He puts it upstairs and now things are a little hairy. They're still going to have a power play for close two minutes.
4:26 - Mercy! Just seconds after Suter gets another shot by Harding that clips the far post, there's a mad scramble. Harding doesn't know where the puck is until it's shot into his breadbasket as he's standing upright along the goal line. I can feel the ulcer forming on my stomach lining.
0:09.9 - One last flurry for the Preds, but it's not going to happen. Erat puts a low angle shot on goal and Smith has a crack at the rebound, but Harding snuffs both of those out.
0:00 - Plenty of room on this bandwagon folks. Jump on now. Your Minnesota Wild are still at the top of the NHL after a fifth straight win. Have a great Thanksgiving and we'll see you for number six on Friday.