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Hey yo State of Hockey legion! I certainly hope you are enjoying World Toilet Day, which I'm sure I don't need to tell you was created by the World Toilet Organization on this day in 2001. I'm sure I speak for all of us when I say an observance to honor toilets is long overdue. If you think about it, there aren't many destinations in the world that make us so happy and relieved when we finally get to them. Plus, I know some in-game commentary fans like to print off their commentaries and read them while they're in the lou if they've eaten too much bran on that particular day.
I want to thank you for taking time out of your Toilet Day celebration to join me for some in-game commentary here on Wild.com. Hopefully you'll be able to pay your respects to the favorite toilet in your life after your Minnesota Wild whip up on the St. Louis Nerds, or Blues as they are sometimes referred to. I just encourage you to ease up when celebrating after the win, because by 3:00 a.m., you could have your face closer to the toilet than you want it to be, and that's not good for anybody.
Tonight, we've got Blues-killer Josh Harding
holding down the fort in goal for the good guys. Hards is 5-2-0 in his career against these clowns, and that includes his 30-save performance in a 2-1 win two weeks ago. I know, that one goal against is pretty embarrassing, but he looks bound and determined to make up for that mistake. He is dialed in right now in pregame warmups.
Playing in front of Harding tonight will be the Wild's frat boy blueline with their old guy friend, Nick Schultz. That's because Mike Lundin
(back), Greg Zanon (groin), Marco Scandella
(concussion) and Marek Zidlicky (concussion) are all out of the lineup. The same can be said for Guillaume Latendresse
(concussion). The good news is that there won't be any healthy scratches tonight, so nobody's feelings will be hurt.
For the fashionistas, I'm happy to inform that the Wild will be wearing their home reds for this one. The Blues are going with the road whites trimmed in blue and gold with the musical note on the chest.
Jen and Paige, the FSNorth girls are here to get us revved up with the "Let's Play Hockey" declaration. I see no reason to deny them what they're asking for. Let's do this.Period 1
18:52 - First scoring chance goes to the Wild and Dany Heatley
. He gains the zone on an odd-man rush with Mikko Koivu
on his right. He waits out a sliding former Notre Dame Fighting Irish Ian Cole and then rifles a quick shot that misses on the high glove side of Jaroslav Halak.
14:58 - This Koivu line is making things happen, Cap'n. Again they enter the zone with steam and again it's Heatley carrying the puck on the left side. He uncorks a shot that Halak gets enough of, but the puck slowly slides into the crease. Unfortunately there's nobody home to put it away.
13:55 - Keep your head up Cole. He tries to dangle a little too much in the corner in his own zone. He doesn't do enough to get around Brad Staubitz who completely lays him out with a monstrous hit.
12:10 - St. Louis gets their first golden chance of the game. Former Minnesota State Maverick David Backes unloads a slap shot from the right circle. Harding makes that stop, then he comes up huge on the rebound as former North Dakota Fighting Sioux T.J. Oshie follows up from in tight. Oshie has one more crack at it from a tough angle, but he puts it through the crease.9:21 - MIN 0 - STL 1 - Backes and Oshie come right back at it, and this time they won't be denied. Oshie puts a backhand on net from the left circle. Harding goes down low to knock it away with the waffle mitt, but he doesn't push it away enough to elude Backes, who follows up and tucks it in. I will admit, I do like that David Backes. He's a player.
7:27 - Cal Clutterbuck
looks a little shaken up after getting shoved hard into the endboards by Roman Polak. I'm thinking Polak has some payback coming later in this game.
4:02 - And there's a little bit of payback. The first chance he gets, Clutterbuck lays a hit into Polak. He's not done either. He immediately zeroes in on former North Dakota Fighting Sioux Chris Porter and smashes him against the glass. Note to other teams: if you're going to hit Cal from behind, think about doing it later in the game so there's time for him to put you on his hit list.
0:00 - That'll do it for the first 20. Not a bad period, but the Wild are on the wrong end of the lead. Nothing to fret over, as we know. A comeback is on the way in the second.Period 2
18:30 - Pierre-Marc Bouchard
does some juking and jiving down low and then speeds around the St. Louis net, trying to stuff one in. Halak is quick to move over and makes a very solid save.
18:11 - Clutterbuck continues to go after Polak, and you get the sense the refs are onto this. They call him for a bogus charge after he lays another hit on Polak against the glass. They may be saying that he left his feet, but it looks like he only did that because of the impact, not before it. 17:23 - MIN 1 - STL 1 - That's how you do that! Killing the Clutterbuck penalty, he stalks Patrik Berglund who goes back behind his own net to retrieve the puck. He tries to send it to the other side, but Koivu picks it, wheels in front and roofs a shot over the shoulder of Halak. Koivu is rather pumped up about this one as he goes down on one knee and lets out a roar.
12:58 - Former Boston University Terrier Kevin Shattenkirk has got some handles. From the point, he makes two sick moves to get around Nick Johnson
and Justin Falk
. He then has Harding out of his net, but he's in too deep to make a shot and his pass into the front avoids the legs and sticks battling for position.
10:11 - Give Big Ryan Reaves credit for trying. The big lug has an attempt from in tight stopped by Harding. When the puck pops straight up, he's quick with the hand to punch it in. He tries to celebrate, but the ref waves it off immediately and Reaves just smiles as he skates back to the bench. Would have been his first point of the year too. Poor guy.
8:15 - Exhibit A for why your Minnesota Wild is in first place: sick goaltending. Harding comes up with a dazzling glove save on a bid from Porter right on top of the crease. He tries to chip one upstairs but Hards snares it with a roundhouse maneuver and hangs on.
6:24 - Falk tries to lay a big hit on Oshie between the benches, but that kid is a tough kid to knock down. He gives Falk the exploding shoulder and rocks him to the ice.
5:05 - Cloquet's own Jamie Langenbrunner is swearing a lot. I think it's at Clutterbuck. Seems strange to me. I've never known anyone from Cloquet to use foul language.
0:00 - We've got a good one here folks. These teams are battling hard, and the third period is going to be some high intensity stuff. You best be ready after intermission.Period 3
18:38 - So close. Soooo close. Matt Cullen
gains the Blues zone like a cheetah and then drops a pass back for Bouchard at the top of the left circle. Butch steps into this one and crushes a slap shot that beats Halak but catches the cross bar and bounces out of play.
16:26 - Again, so close. Heatley gets the puck in the neutral zone and finds Devin Setoguchi
behind everybody with a perfect pass on the tape. Seto has nobody near him and he tries to stick a wrister past the glove of Halak. Nothing doing. The Blues keeper makes his best stop of the net, snaring it out of the air. The Wild is definitely getting the better of the play thus far in the third.
15:07 - The Cullen line is absolutely buzzing around in the St. Louis zone right now. Cullen is all over the dang place too. He finally ends up with the puck on his stick right at the side of the net. He can't quite punch it in before Halak slides over to take away most of the shooting areas.13:53 - MIN 1 - STL 2 - Sometimes this is how hockey works. One team dominates, then the other gets once chance and converts. Off the faceoff in the Wild zone, Alex Steen gets the puck in the far corner. He spots Oshie slipping open in front of the net and puts one rith on the stick. Oshie taps it in, which seemed inevitable because he's been a force in this game.
8:47 - Is it possible to knock Oshie down? Setoguchi lines him up behind the St. Louis net and delivers a monster hit. All he does is knock Oshie back about a foot. That Warroad Warrior is one tough hombre.
7:59 - In the immortal words of John MacEnroe, you cannot
be serious. On a Wild power play, Koivu makes two ridiculous moves to get in tight. He then slides a perfect pass over to Clutterbuck at the top of the crease. Clutter chips it up and looks to have a no doubter, but Halak slides over and makes a spectacular glove save just as the puck is about to break the plane of the goal line. Amazing stop.
3:20 - The Wild keeps peppering Halak and he keeps coming up with big saves. Bouchard gets loose in the slot and pumps a high shot on goal. Halak gets a glove on it but can't hang on. Clutterbuck has a chance on the follow up but the puck is in his skates and he can't pull the trigger.
1:48 - Big chance for the Wild here. Jason Arnott slashes Butch, and the Wild will finish this game with the man advantage. Of course, they're about to score, so we'll be five-on-five soon enough.1:38 - MIN 2 - STL 2 - Money! Just 10 seconds into the power play, we've got bedlam. From right in front of the net, Clutterbuck pushes a pass back to Jared Spurgeon. He quickly sends a pass over to Koivu in the right circle. He doesn't get all of it but he floats it on goal and over the glove of a sprawled out Halak. This place is going absolutely crazy. And what a night for Koivu.
0:16.1 - After an offsides call, Barrett Jackman and Setoguchi come together and then Jackman gives him a shot in the face. That brings Clayton Stoner
in instantaneously and those two jostle for a bit. This has definitely been the most intense game of the season.
0:00 - What a game! Why not play more? We're going to OT.Overtime
4:24 - Koivu loves bringing out that exploding shoulder in overtime. First victim was Niklas Kronwall in Detroit. Tonight's victim is Shattenkirk in the corner. Only difference is this one doesn't result in a game-winner. That's coming though.
0:46.1 - Koivu has been on the ice for about two minutes. So after a Wild icing, Mike Yeo uses his timeout to give his captain a breather.
0:00 - Harding stops a shot from the point right as time expires and we're heading to the shootout. This is big time.Shootout
Bouchard is going to lead things off, but he gets denied by the toe of Halak.
Steen is up for St. Louis, but he loses the puck and his balance and goes crashing into the boards.Here's Koivu, the hot hand...and it's automatic. The guy is feeling it and he roofs that patented backhand with authority.
Oshie is next and he's also feeling it. He sneaks a wrister past Hards to knot this thing up.
Cullen is the man in shootouts, and he shows why. He tucks a quick shot under Halak.
Shattenkirk has to score to keep it alive, but he's stoned by the pad of Harding. Wild win baby! Yee-haw!