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I am the live in-game commentary writer, and I approved this message: My opponent would have you believe that tonight's Nick Schultz Bobblehead is not
the cutest darn thing you'll ever see.
|My opponent |
He repeatedly voted against
Schultz last summer when it came time to pick the Wild's Year Ten All-Time Team. Time and time again, my opponent has stated that the Wild will not
win the Stanley Cup this year. My opponent went on record to pick the San Jose Sharks to beat the Minnesota Wild tonight.
who you want telling you which team will win an NHL game between the Sharks and the Wild? When you go to the ballot box tonight, pick Wild.com, the only website that will pick a Wild win no matter what. And you have my word that as long as I'm in my perch in the Al Shaver Press Box, I will always
give it to you straight and
I'll make you rich beyond your wildest dreams. End of public service announcement.
I bet you're going to miss political commercials after tonight. Just admit that you love them, like you secretly enjoyed that G.B. Leighton "Twins Territory" song over the summer. You can't tell me you don't miss "This is now our time to shiiiiiine
Speaking of "time to shine," nobody is shining brighter than Niklas Backstrom
, who of course is tonight's starter for your Minnaaaahh-sotaaaahhh Wayyyyalllld. He's currently taking warmup shots and he's making it look easy. Chalk up a "W" for the unflappable Finn.
As for the injury front, you can scratch Pierre-Marc Bouchard
(concussion), Antti Miettinen (concussion) and Guillaume Latendresse
(groin) from your homemade roster. You can also put a line through Clayton Stoner
's name. He'll be the healthy scratch tonight.
As for attire, the Wild is breaking out its Election Day third jerseys for tonight's contest. The Sharks are going with the road whites trimmed in teal and black with the stick-eating fish on the chest.
Goldy Gopher and Nordy Wild, who is much better than my opponent pictured above, have the moustaches on full display for tonight's "Let's Play Hockey" declaration. Let's do this thang.Period 1
16:23 - A lot of feeling out in the early going so far tonight, but the top line generates a threat down low. Andrew Brunette does the dirty work along the backboards, then dishes to the front for Chuck Kobasew. His bid from in tight hits off a defender's skate and bounces wide.
15:21 - Former Cornell Big Red defenseman Douglas Murray carries the puck in deep and tries to muscle his way toward the goal with the puck. He's got a little too much juju in his step and he barrels into the cage, and Backstrom, and draws a goaltender interference penalty.
11:31 - The Blackhawks tried a bunch of times to beat Backstrom with wraparounds on Saturday, and the Sharks are trying the same thing. Former Vermont Catamount Torrey Mitchell pops out from behind the Wild net and has about three whacks at the puck, but Backstrom builds a wall with his left pad and nothing is getting through it. He finally grabs it to get the whistle.
9:26 - Cal Clutterbuck
was going to learn sooner or later that he's not going to win every collision. He goes hard after Murray in the San Jose corner, but the big Sharks blueliner turns the tables (while getting his gloves up a little high) and drills Clutter to the ice in a heap.
7:02 - On their first power play of the night, the Sharks waste no time sending a scare into the crowd. The draw in the Wild zone is won back to former Miami-Ohio Redhawk Dan Boyle, who unloads a howitzer that raps off the far post.
3:39 - San Jose is starting to take over, causing all kinds of problems in the Wild end. A shot from the point deflects right to Logan Couture in the red zone, but Backstrom is way outside his crease and makes a great play to poke check the puck away.
0:00 - The horn sounds to end the first third of this game with the Sharks holding a heavy advantage in shots, 11-3. That means squat. The only numbers that matter are those two doughnuts up there.Period 2
17:13 - The Sharks keep firing away on another power play. Boyle gets loose in the slot and lets go with a hard wrister that Backstrom gets just enough of with the leg pillow.
16:09 - Here's an early candidate for Backstrom's ever-growing highlight reel. Couture carries the puck in and tries to get around one last defenseman. In the process, he gets a quick low shot on goal that Backstrom has to be quick to get his right leg on. Couture is then in alone and has a free crack at the rebound, but Backy again has the leg down and stones him.
14:54 - Justin Falk
finally gets some revenge for Kurtis Foster
. He crushes Mitchell into the sideboards near the blueline. Ryane Clowe, who insists on putting an "e" on the end of his names, immediately comes to the scene to take on Falk. Both drop the gloves but Falk falls to the ice with Clowe on top of him and nobody ever gets a punch off. The good news is the Wild will get a two-minute power play out of this.
7:22 - Oh mama! The tables could turn right here. With former Boston University Terrier John McCarthy already in the box for four minutes, Mitchell hooks Havlat and the Wild will have a full two minutes of a five-on-three. Gotta make something happen here.6:41 - MIN 1 - SJ 0 - There it is! Brunette, after just putting one off the crossbar, converts this time, burying a cross-crease feed from Havlat. And the best part is, there's still 2:09 left on McCarthy's penalty. That means the goal only wipes out the first two minutes of his penalty, and the Wild will remain on the five-on-three advantage. Time to step on their throats right here and not let up.
5:21 - Mitchell is out of the box, and there remains 41 seconds on the McCarthy penalty.
2:28 - Backstrom had a break during all that power play time, but he shakes off the rust quickly. He makes a huge stop on a wrister from a cutting Niclas Wallin in the slot. He makes the save and he sponges up the rebound with Sharks lurking all around.Period 3
15:43 - What more can you say about Backstrom? Once again, he comes up huge by kicking out the right pad and denying a point-blank opportunity by Clowe. Now with 27 saves, he's creeping up on 30 rather quickly.
12:55 - While killing a penalty, Marleau carries up the right side and fires a rolling puck that handcuffs Backstrom briefly. The puck squeezes between his body and arm, and then drops behind him. He quickly glances behind him and covers up the loose puck.
9:10 - Yikes! In a race for the puck behind the Wild net, Nick Schultz takes a hack at the puck, but takes the legs out from under Jumbo Joe Thornton. Big Number 19 goes into the backboards hard, and he's slow to get up. Schultz is heading to the box and we've got a crucial kill coming up.
7:31 - Boyle has his shot blocked by John Madden, who has daylight in front of him. Boyle can only react by sticking his leg out and sending Madden fluttering into the air. That's an easy tripping call, and it will negate the rest of the San Jose power play.
2:23 - Koivu leads a rush the other way and he's going one-on-one with Jason Demers. He tries a series of moves and then just crashes the net with the puck, but Antero Nittymaki holds his ground and makes the stop.
1:18 - Nittymaki is off for the extra attacker.
0:00 - We will take it! Backstrom gets a well-deserved 36-save shutout, and the Minnesota Mo Bros are undefeated in the month of "Movember."