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Oh, hello there State of Hockey legion! I didn't even hear you come in. I've been a little off today because of how saddened I am by the passing of Sergeant Frank Drebin, Detective Lieutenant Police Squad and opera singer, Enrico Pallazzo. Both brought so much joy to thousands across the world, whether it be by solving crimes, singing national anthems or calling baseball strikes with an unimaginable panache. He also came up with some of the all-time best one-liners, and my favorite printable quote is: "Wilma, I promise you; whatever scum did this, not one man on this force will rest one minute until he's behind bars. Now, let's grab a bite to eat."
Surely, you will join me in a moment of silence for Mr. Drebin/Pallazzo...........Thank you.
Now we can get to the business at hand, which is the Wild getting set to whoop up on the Calgary Flames to wrap up a two-game road trip. On Saturday, the Wild took it on the chin from the Colorado Avalanche, and of course the blame for that loss must fall squarely on the shoulders of Carly Peters, who took over the live in-game commentary that night. Needless to say, she brought less luck than a black cat knocking over mirror under a ladder, so she is now on double secret probation. I am back to man the keyboard and bring us a win.
I can't do it alone, however. I'm going to need some help from the Wild's goaltender, and fortunately Jose Theodore is riding a hot streak and getting the start tonight. Although I'm watching tonight's game from the confines of my Como Park palace, I have it on good authority (Wild PR dude Aaron Sickman) that Theodore is looking dialed in during pregame warmups. His mission tonight will be to make sure that no fireballs are released into the air tonight at Pengrowth Saddledome.
Theodore will be the last line of defense for Minnesota tonight, but the second line of defense will have a newcomer tonight. The birthday boy, Jared Spurgeon
, will celebrate his 21st by making his NHL debut. As far as I can remember, I believe I also made my NHL debut on my 21st birthday. Spurgeon's debut means Justin Falk
will be the lone healthy scratch tonight. Pierre-Marc Bouchard
(concussion), Chuck Kobasew (lower body), Guillaume Latendresse
(lower body) and Clayton Stoner
(upper body) are all out for this one due to injuries.
If fashion is your thing, you'll be happy to know that the Wild will sport the road whites for the second straight game. The Flames are sporting the home reds trimmed in black, gold and white with the burning "C" on the chest.
It's Military Appreciation Night at the Saddledome tonight, and fittingly, military guru Brent Burns took the opening faceoff tonight with Jarome Iginla.That does it for all the ancillaries. Let's drop the biscuit!Period 1
17:12 - Former Calgary Flame Eric Nystrom, not known for his dangling, makes a great move to squeeze between Cory Sarich and the far boards. He then goes right to the net and tries to stuff one past Miikka Kiprusoff, but the Calgary keeper gets down to make a tough pad save and hangs onto the rebound with Matt Kassian
12:35 - The Wild power play gets the puck moving around swiftly and Matt Cullen
fires a shot on goal from a tough angle. Kiprusoff makes that stop and them comes up big again on Andrew Brunette's bid from the doorstep.
10:18 - Mr. Sickman was right, Theodore is locked in. Iginla gains the Wild zone and pulls up along the boards. He fires a pass to the front intended for Alex Tanguay, but the puck deflects off the skate of Marek Zidlcky and bounces right on goal where Theodore gets the leg pillow down quickly to turn it away.
8:56 - Spurgeon gets his first taste of getting drilled in the corner as former Alaska Anchorage Seawolf Curtis Glencross barrels into him. Always the first to defend his teammates, no matter how new they are, Brad Staubitz gets right in there and gives Glencross the business.
7:10 - Cal Clutterbuck
goes hard into the Calgary corner and brushes off an attempted hit by Brendan Mikkelson while maintaining control of the puck. He then flips a quick pass out front and hits Antti Miettinen right on the tape, but Mittens is denied point blank by the heavily padded Kipper.
3:12 - There haven't been a ton of scoring chances thus far, but the bodies are flying around and rattling the glass. Mikko Koivu
drills Cory Sarich in the Wild corner and plants him on the ice. It's been a rough night so far for Sarich, the brother-in-law of Nick Schultz.
1:26 - Spurgeon gets all 175 pounds on his frame behind a slapper on goal that Kiprusoff stops rather easily. I say you give the kid the puck for his first-ever shot on goal on his birthday no less.
0:00 - A scoreless period comes to an end with both teams putting the clamps down defensively. Now comes the true test as the Wil will look to shake off their second period demons.Period 2
20:00 - Santa's got a brand new riiiiide. And it's nice! And it's nice! Is that song in your head too? And you thought you'd miss out on the good tunes when they stopped playing "Twins Territory" by G.B. Leighton.
18:14 - The top line shows off its passing skills as Koivu zips a pass into the slot to Patrick O'Sullivan who makes a beautiful touch pass over to a wide open Brunette. Bruno looks to be in alone on Kipper, but Mark Giordano slides in out of nowhere and knocks the puck off the stick of Brunette.16:52 - MIN 0 - CGY 1 - Let's hope this isn't the start of more second period woes. Iginla draws all kinds of attention as he dives behind the Wild net, and then he finds an open Jay Bouwmeester pinches in low and waits for Theodore to commit before roofing a quick shot.
16:34 - MIN 0 - CGY 2 - Whoa, whoa, whoa! Timeout here guys. The Flames strike again just 18 seconds later when an Iginla shot bounces off the backboards. Tanguay is the first to get to the puck behind the net, and he just puts it right back to the front where Wild-slayer Iginla drills it over the shoulder of Theodore. Apparently there are rumors that Iginla might be on the trading block at some point. I say that's a good thing. I say, send him to the Italian Elite League.
10:02 - Just seconds after he hit the post, Tanguay gets upended by a beautiful check courtesy of Greg Zanon. Let's hope that slows Tanguay down for a spell because that guy has been all over the rink tonight.
8:14 - The Wild finally starts buzzing as Cullen and Havlat come out flying on this shift. Havalt picks up the rebound of a Cullen shot and then makes a perfect pass to a cutting Zidlicky. He tries to wait out Kipper and stuff one in, but the Flames keeper plays it perfectly and denies him with the left leg.
5:42 - Zidlicky tried a deke earlier, but this time he just tries to overpower Kiprusoff with a cannon from the point on a Wild power play. Kipper isn't going to be beaten easily tonight. He stays upright and somehow snaps this one out of the air with the lobster mitt.
5:17 - Sarich is going to need about four hours in the ice tub after this one is over. Clutterbuck absolutely destroys him with a massive hit behind the Calgary net that sends Sarich airborne into the boards.
0:04.1 - The chances are starting to come, ubt not the goals. Havlat gets the puck along the sideboards and sees Cullen and Koivu crashing the net. He puts a shot right on, hoping to get a rebound for his mates. He does, but the puck is out of reach of both of them as Cullen goes sliding into the cage. Period 3
20:00 - Whenever I try to solve a problem, I head out the door for a brisk walk with Ivy, my yellow lab. Without fail, we always figure out the problem, and we realized what the Wild must do: put some pucks past Kiprusoff. Nothing more, nothing less.
16:41 - Spurgeon nearly gets the Wild on the board just by smartly throwing the puck toward the goal from the point. Brunette is there to put a tip on it, forcing Kiprusoff to sprawl to the ice. The rebound comes right back to Bruno who tries to find someone on the other side to put it into the open net, but there's nobody home.
13:43 - Nothing seems to work on Miikka when he's going like this. Kyle Brodziak
rips another slapper from the point that takes a wicked bounce off the leg of Cullen and goes right on net. Unfazed, Kiprusoff reacts and makes a pad save. What happened to the Kiprusoff from the Olympic semifinal game against the United States? He was way more fun.
10:35 - Former Michigan Wolverine David Moss races into the Wild end on a shorthanded break. He gets about 10 feet away and zips a wrister blocker side, but Theodore the southpaw throws up the waffle glove for a game-saver.
5:20 - Theodore comes up big again, lunging to his right to snap an Iginla laser labeled for the top corner. That's enough Theodore for now. Time to put pucks past the other keeper.
2:40 - This will make a comeback difficult as Brent Burns gets called for tripping Olli Jokinen, owner of one of the worst Movember moustaches I've ever seen. 1:29 - MIN 0 - CGY 3 - And now it will be even more difficult. Niklas Hagman fights off several stick checks to get to the slot and force a wrist shot past Theodore.
0:00 - That's going to do it. The Wild gets shut out for the first time all season and falls to 0-2 on the road trip. The boys will spend the night in Calgary and practice there tomorrow before returning home and getting back in the win column on Wednesday against Phoenix.