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Holla State of Hockey legion, and may I wish a Happy Easter Monday to all of the Wild fans north of the border in Canada, and I know there is at least one of them, and her name is Olga, she lives in Ottawa, and she loves Martin Havlat. But then again, don't we all?
I am coming to you live from my Como Park living room, where it's all hockey, all the time. Don't even try to tell me, my dog, Ivy, or my five-week old daughter that there are other sports being played tonight. I don't care, and neither should you. Besides, the Twins are going to play 161 games after tonight, and SPOILER ALERT: Duke is going to win.
There, now you can focus your attention on your computer screen and this live in-game commentary featuring the Minnesota Wild and the Edmonton Oilers. You'll be glad you did.
Reason 1: Niklas Backstrom
, who was dazzling last night, is going to be starting in goal again tonight, and he doesn't lose to the Oilers.
Reason 2: Nate Prosser
of Elk River is going to make his NHL debut tonight. He'll become the eighth Minnesotan to put on a Wild sweater (and play a game) tonight.
I assume you're sold now, so I'll tell you the bad news. Owen Nolan, Marek Zidlicky and Nick Schultz are all out with injuries tonight. They join the likes of Andrew Ebbett, Chuck Kobasew, Josh Harding
, Clayton Stoner
and Pierre-Marc Bouchard
on the injury report. That means that nobody will be labeled a healthy scratch tonight.
As for wardrobe, the Wild will be wearing their road whites for the second straight night. The Oilers will wear their home blues trimmed in white and copper with the oil drop on the chest.
That's about all I've got, so kick back, look at that computer screen, and enjoy.Period 1
18:27 - MIN 0 - EDM 1 - This isn't the start we were looking for. The Oilers jump to the early lead as Former North Dakota Fighting Sioux Taylor Chorney sends a cross-zone pass to the far left circle for former Maine Black Bear Dustin Penner. He immediately gets rid of it and beats a sliding Backstrom with a wrister.
17:54 - There's Prosser on his first shift, and he gets his first stat, blocking a shot from the point.
14:22 - Two Oilers get behind the Wild defense as Edmonton gains the zone. The puck is sent to former Boston University Terrier Ryan Whitney, who cruises down the slot and fires a quick shot that Backstrom picks off with the lobster glove.
13:25 - Look out! James Sheppard dumps the puck into the Oiler zone and then gets leveled by a leaping Dean Arsene with a huge hit. That doesn't sit well with Big John Scott. He immediately jumps Arsene and needs about three seconds to pummel him to the ice. As Scott is escorted to the box, Derek Boogaard and Zack Stortini start exchanging words and shoves.9:48 - MIN 0 - EDM 2 - The Wild has a power play, but I bet you're not shocked that it's not them scoring here. Minnesota gives up a League-leading 13th shortie as Ethan Moreau gets loose on a two-on-one. As he closes in, he fires a low shot that squeaks through the legs of Backstrom and bounces into the goal.
4:25 - Andrew Brunette and Antti Miettinen love to work that play of a pass from behind the net to just a couple feet over the goal line on one side. It worked last night, and Bruno gets it to Mittens again, but Devan Dubnyk reads it this time and makes a nice stop with the body armor.
3:30 - If you're watching this game on TV, I know you'll be tempted to change channels at intermission, but I think you should refrain. Prosser will be the intermission guest, and you'll immediately like this kid once you hear the excitement in his voice.
0:00 - That was disappointing. The good news is there is an enormous amount of time left, and we also know that the Wild is never out of a game.Period 2
19:48 - MIN 1 - EDM 2 - Now that's a good start to the second, and congratulations to Prosser for his first NHL point. He gets the puck up to Mikko Koivu, who enters the zone and puts a pass into the slot for Brunette. He takes the pass and throws a high wrister that beats Dubnyk and cuts the lead to one.
15:31 - Former Minnesota Gopher Ryan Potulny bursts through the neutral zone and has a lone breakaway on Backstrom. He gets about six feet out and tries to beat Backstrom with a low, hard shot, but it's not going to happen. Backstrom shuts the door to keep the Wild close.
9:34 - Greg Zanon collides with former Miami University Redhawk Ryan Jones and goes sliding into his own net. When he emerges, it's apparent he can't put much weight down on one of his skates. He hobbles to the bench, and I feel like I've typed that before.
6:28 - Sure enough, Zanon is back out there and he hits Casey Wellman in stride with a home run pass. Wellman takes a few hard strides but loses his balance as he whistles a shot wide.
3:33 - Wouldn't you know? Zanon puts himself right in front of a Penner blast, and of course he takes it right off his bad leg. He goes down in a heap and lays face down briefly. Then, he gets up and joins the play and can't get off for another 30 seconds because the Wild can't get control long enough. Period 3
20:00 - No doubt a Wild comeback is in the works, but it's going to have to happen without Guillaume Latendresse
and Marty Havlat. Gui is done with an upper body injury, and Marty is out with a lower body affliction. That's a lot of points missing from the lineup.
14:03 - On a delayed penalty, Bruno dishes from behind the net to Brent Burns in front. Burns crushes a one-timer but puts it high and off the glass.
10:23 - Penner gets loose in front on an Edmonton power play, and his teammates find him. He kicks the puck to his stick and puts one right on Backstrom, who gets down low and closes the door.
7:20 - Wellman pops up out of nowhere to steal a pass in the neutral zone. He then races into the zone and goes wide on the Oiler D before firing a hard backhand that Dubnyk denies with the leg pillow.
6:47 - Boogaard holds off a check as he stickhandles behind the Oiler net. Suddenly he bursts out front and tries to stuff one in, but again, Dubnyk smothers it and keeps him searching for that elusive goal.5:44 - EDM 3 - MIN 1 - Oh boy. The Wild is going to put its comeback skills to the test once again as the Oilers strike once more. Moreau steals the puck away from Burns in the corner and he heads to the net. His first stuff-in attempt doesn't work, but he stays with the play and punches it in on the other side while fighting off Cam Barker.
5:09 - Moreau is all over the place tonight. He races past the Wild defense and gets in alone on Backstrom again. The Wild keeper prevents the hat trick with a huge pad save. 4:21 - EDM 4 - MIN 1 - Just seconds after another ridiculous high stick call in which Potulny hit himself in the face with his own stick yet results in a four-minute minor on Prosser, the Oilers score. Right after the faceoff, Potulny fires a shallow angle shot and the puck bounces right to Penner who easily puts it in.
0:00 - The comeback was about to start, but the horn sounds and the Wild falls for the third time in Edmonton this season.