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Glen Andresen's Live In-Game Commentary at Carolina

by Glen Andresen / Minnesota Wild

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One more good morning to you State of Hockey legion! From here on out, live in-game commentaries will all be starting in the afternoons at the earliest, so my advice to you would be to enjoy a breakfast sandwich for today's tilt between the Carolina Hurricanes, and your Minnesota Wild. Start with some eggs, cheese, English muffins and ham. If you really want to get crazy, throw in a slice of turkey as well. Wash it down with some OJ, and because its Friday, feel free to mix in your favorite spirit. If you're under 21 years of age, I highly suggest pouring in some Sprite to give your O juice a little kick.

Now, I know spirits are a little down today because of the Twins predicament, but I have a sense their fortunes are about to change. That's because today is former Twins pitcher Mike Morgan's birthday. Morgan played for 12 teams during his major league career, but he surely enjoyed his time in Minnesota the best. I think the celebration of Double M's birthday is going to spur the Twins to three straight wins.

I also sense the Wild's fortunes are going to change today. They've only lost one game this season, but you don't want to drop another before spending 11 hours on a plane. Grumpiness doesn't make for ideal travel attitude. Fortunately, Nik Backstrom will be getting the start and he doesn't have any intentions of leaving his hometown without two points. Sorry Carolina fans, but the only long flights home will be taken by you on your way back to tobacco country.

As for the players in front of Backstrom, you won't see Marek Zidlicky. He will miss his second straight game with a groin strain. Brad Staubitz will be the lone healthy scratch, which means Casey Wellman will play his first game of the young season tonight. I got him for a goal and a helper.

As for the threads these two teams will be sporting, they're going to switch it up. The Wild will go with the road whites for this one. The Canes will go with the home reds trimmed in white and black with the flying saucer on the chest.

This place is rocking after the United States and Finnish national anthems are performed. Unlike yesterday, this house is packed to the rafters. You've got to love Friday nights. Now let's do this thang.

Period 1

19:13 - Oh yes I like that. Eric Nystrom shows he's got some pack in his punch. He races into the Carolina corner and destroys Canes defender Jay Harrison.

16:51 - Good stuff Goood stuff! Wellman shows his exceptional speed by gaining the puck inside the Carolina blue line and wheeling into the slot. He lets go with a hard shot that gets deflected right to Guillaume Latendresse in the slot. Normally Gui doesn't miss from this spot, but he pushes his shot right back at Cam Ward, who again looks sharp. That starts a fracas in the crease with G-Lat and Tom Kostopolous exhanging some heated shoves.

15:53 - Wow has this been an entertaining first five minutes. Mikko Koivu thrills the crowd by getting the puck behind the Carolina net. He fakes one way, and then does a complete spin-o-rama to come out to the front and attempts to stuff it in. Antti Miettinen crashes the crease and Andrew Brunette also whacks away as we've got mayhem in the crease. Ward holds his ground, while Koivu gets into a heated tussle with Chad Larose. The crowd is loving the intensity out there.

13:49 - Say good Knight, to former Clarkson Knight, Eric Cole. He carries the puck through the neutral zone. Apparently he doesn't see behemoth defenseman Justin Falk coming, and he absolutely lights him up at center ice. That sends Cole back to his own bench shaking the cobwebs. The Wild players look possessed tonight in the early goings on.

13:18 - Nobody is as possessed as Ward however. He's my early candidate for the Vezina the way he's played in this series. He comes up huge on two consecutive shots by Koivu in the slot, the second was set up by a perfect centering pass from Brunette. Koivu is looking like he wants to break the netting on the goal cage. Ward has been spectacular.

11:52 - This game keeps getting better, and this crowd keeps going "bananas" as Randy Moss might say. Nystrom and Kostopolous drop their gloves in the Wild zone, and the Hartwall Areena crew is quick to start the "I don't wanna work, I just wanna bang on this drum all day song." That seems to rile the two combatants up as this is a good one. Kostopolous has the early edge, but Nystrom regains himself and ends this one with a flurry of rights and a knockdown blow.

6:58 - Jeff Skinner shows the skills that made him a first round pick this past summer. He carries into the Wild zone, makes a jaw dropping move around the defense and gets in with a bid on Backstrom, who shuts the door.

4:23 - The bodies just keep flying. Greg Zanon steps up and pounds Jussi Jokinen at center ice. The Canes are going to need a hefty supply of ice bags on their flight home.

2:37 - MIN 1 - CAR 0 - There it is! The Wild finally cracks Ward to grab the first lead of the game again. Cam Ward, who some in the media have criticized recently, makes a beautiful play. He glides deep in the Carolina zone and takes the puck right to the net. He shovels it to the front where Koivu has a shot stopped, but Brunette is there to whack it in with a backhand. Koivu basically beats up two Hurricane players on his way to hug Bruno. The Wild wants this one.

0:58.9 - Koivu again gets physical. This time he blasts former Western Michigan Bronco Patrick Dwyer in the neutral zone. Dwyer gets up and immediately two-hands Koivu and you can hear the "whack" from up there. This all happens directly in front of referree Tim Peel and the Wild bench. Every guy in a white jersey stands up and screams at Peel, who skates right by and looks like he's offering up some ridiculous explanation as to why he's not going to make the obvious call. It's too easy.

0:00 - The horn sounds to end a fantastic period for the Wild. Tons of hitting, lots of chances and oodles of intensity. I say we skip intermission and start up the next 20 right now.

Period 2

20:00 - Here we go with the deuce. I thought this was impressive: the Wild had 18 shots in the first and 11 hits. Only one player had more than one hit, and that was Nick Schultz with two.

19:18 - The Canes look to come out with a little more pop this period, and they nearly get this thing tied. Backstrom makes one save, and then lunges to make another on a shot in tight by Eric Staal. Backstrom has been very solid tonight, but he hasn't been nearly as busy as Ward.

18:00 - MIN 1 - CAR 1 - Ish. This play was in trouble since Jump Street. The Canes force the puck into the Wild zone, which causes Backstrom to come way out of the net. Unfortunately, he's not the first one there as Skinner beats him. Backstrom does get help as Skinner can't get the puck to the empty net, but as Backstrom scrambles back, Jussi Jokinen gets the puck to the front of the net and Tuomo Ruuto pounds it in.

13:45 - Guess what Eric Stall? Justin Falk could give two jock straps about your gold medal. Staal tries to give the rookie the business behind the Wild net, but Falk quickly responds with a monster face wash and pins Staal's head against the backboards.

7:24 - It's official, we've got our first wave of the season. It was a persistent effort by the section down to my left, but they finally got some momentum going, and now everybody in the joint is full-fledged waving. Awesome crowd tonight.

3:18 - While playing the puck behind his own net, Backstrom gets upended by Ruutu. He's a little shaken and when he gets back to his crease, he goes down on both knees as if needing to stretch something out.

1:54 - Ward is bordering on ridiculous in this game. Martin Havlat works the puck out to the slot to a wide open Latendresse. He immediately pumps a one-timer right at the lower right corner. Somehow, Ward kicks his left leg to the post and makes a beautiful toe save.

Period 3

17:48 - Tarja Halonen, the President of Finland, is shown on the big screen and applauded by the crowd. I can't confirm this, but I believe it is the first time a president from any country has taken in a Wild game.

10:52 - The pace has finally slowed in this period, as neither team seems willing to make a mistake here in the third.

9:34 - Come on Cam, work with us here. Ward again makes a brilliant showing. First he kicks a low shot from Burns out with his skate. Cullen tries to put the rebound right back on goal, but Ward scrambles to make that save as well. This guy's goaltending has been insane tonight.

8:17 - After a whistle, Clutterbuck makes his way to the bench but before he gets there, he gets clipped in the head by Joni Pitkanen. Clutter immediately goes toward him, but Pitkanen holds his hand up as if to say, "I didn't mean to."

7:23 - Here we go again. Already down one man due to a Clayton Stoner penalty, Zanon takes a necessary tripping penalty and the Canes will have a two man advantage for over a minute.

2:31 - You're not going to get a much better chance than this. Clutter makes a home run pass to Havlat behind the Carolina defense. He is in all alone, and I mean all alone, but he makes one to many moves and loses the handle, pushing his shot wide of the net. Ward might be in the heads of the Wild boys right now.

0:00 - The Wild has its first point of the season locked up, but it will want more as we go to overtime. The downside is there is still 29 seconds of a Koivu penalty to kill off.


4:30 - Just as Koivu comes out of the box, Backstrom sponges up a long shot from the point. Next thing you know, about five bodies go down on the ice, including two linesmen. Ruutu throws a punch at Burns, which brings in more bodies, but nothing gets called.

1:53 - Zanon steps into a shot from the left point and he puts some knuckle on it, but Ward stays with it and gloves it. Of course he does.

0:10 - Unbelievable. Another breakaway for Havlat, and this time he patiently waits out Ward while getting slashed from behind. It looks like he's got the winner, but he puts it right through the crease and off the inside of the opposite post.

0:00 - We just do not want to leave Finland. We're going to stay a bit longer for the first shootout of the year. Why not? What better place to hold a shootout than in a land famous for shootout specialists like Koivu, Jokinen and of course Petteri Nummelin.


All right Wardo, the game is up. We're coming for you in the breakaway contest.

Principal Skinner will start it off for Carolina. He gets Backstrom to go stomach down and roofs it for the early lead.

Here comes Koivu with the whole place standing. He tries to go five hole with a wrist shot, but Ward stuffs it.

Now its the dangerous Jokinen, who does a little stutter step, but Backstrom hangs in there and denies him.

Here's Burns, trying to go upstairs with a backhand, but he loses control and doesn't get a shot off.

Ruutu can end it here, but he fires his wrister wide of the net.

It's another Finn, Miettinen, trying to keep this thing alive. No dice. Ward stuffs his backhand with an awesome blocker stop and the Wild can only get a point against the stellar Canes keeper.
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