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In-Game Commentary at Calgary

by Glen Andresen / Minnesota Wild

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Wild GameDay

Pregame Notes: at Calgary special: 'The Hit' with 22
Cal Clutterbuck takes an in-depth look at the art of a proper NHL hit

Wild TV Special: Special Delivery
The Minnesota Wild and Minnesota Hockey deliver hockey equipment in an effort to expand the sport of hockey

R.S.S. Wedding:
Wild PR man Ryan Stanzel is getting national pub for his wedding to Keri Johnson.

Game Recap: at Colorado, Dec. 9
Good evening to you State of Hockey legion! Welcome to this special Friday night edition of live in-game commentary. Why is it so special? Well, because 24 hours and 15 minutes ago, Wild PR/Stats guru Ryan Stanzel (he of the R.S.S. feed) and Xcel Energy Center Suite Service manager extraordinairre, Keri Johnson, tied the knot at St. Paul's Horace Mann Elementary school. It was a lovely ceremony, but of course, when two high profile people get married, you're going to have to deal with the paparazzi, or as Kate Gosselin calls them, the "P-people." TV cameras did find their way to the private ceremony, and you can see the highlights right here.

I can only assume that now they are firmly entrenched in domestic bliss, Ryan and Keri are snuggled up together and following the Minnesota Wild and the Calgary Flames right here on live in-game commentary. Congratulations you two!

If you read Wednesday night's commentary, I mentioned that any restaurant proprietor that wanted to be plugged on could email me and have me do a live in-game commentary right from their establishment in exchange for a free meal. Shockingly, my inbox remains barren, so tonight I'll be coming to you live from the Como Park palace with Ivy, my trusty Labrador sidekick. She's catching some Z's right now, but will be ready to rock when the puck drops shortly.

One guy who is always ready to rock is Niklas Backstrom. Coming off a shutout in Phoenix, the Wild netminder will get the start tonight in a battle against Miikka Kiprusoff, who will be vying for the starting job for Team Finland along with Backstrom. Sorry Miikka, but tonight is Nik's night. Those flame throwers suspended over the Saddledome ice are going to remain in a flicker for the rest of tonight.

The Wild seems to be getting healthier as Derek Boogaard re-enters the lineup tonight. That means Nathan Smith and John Scott will be the scratches. Andrew Ebbett, Brent Burns, Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Petr Sykora are all out with concussions.

Finally, we'll talk attire. For the fourth straight game, the Wild will wear the road whites. The Flames will sport the home reds, trimmed in black, gold and white with the burning "C" on the chest.

Things haven't always gone well in Calgary for the flying W's, but that's going to change tonight. To quote Star Tribune beat writer Michael Russo's favorite song, I've got a feeling that tonight's going to be a good, good night. Let's do the dang thang.

Period 1

18:34 - Martin Havlat has been making some big time plays lately, which makes him a big-time player in my book, despite his early struggles. With two Flames on his back behind the Calgary net, Marty makes a beautiful no-look pass to Guillaume Latendresse all alone in front of the net. G-Lat has three point blank whacks at it but he can't find a hole in Kiprusoff. The puck finally bounces away.

13:59 - Nice to have the soothing sounds of Dan Terhaar and Mike Greenlay guiding me through tonight's game. They are much more informative than a bunch of bar hoppers at Cantina in the Mall of America. For example, they inform me that Calgary has scored the first goal in 23 of their 30 games. People at the bar informed me that I had a fake rabbit next to me.

12:06 - As he enters the zone, Cal Clutterbuck takes a knee from Mark Giordano that puts Cal on the ice. Clutter gets right back up and goes to hit Giordano behind the Calgary net, and Giordano doesn't think he should take his hit like a man, and he jacks Clutter in the face. Giordano got away with the knee, but he won't get away with this one. He's headed to the box for roughing.

9:16 - The Wild is leading in shots right now, 10-0. I'm betting that has never happened in a Wild game at Calgary.

6:08 - With the Flames on their first power play of the night, Jay Bouwmeester gets the puck and just wrists a long shot toward the goal. Backstrom can't see through the wall of humanity in front of him, but he catches  a break as the puck skips off the post.

2:39 - Owen Nolan dumps the puck into the Calgary zone along the boards, and a good second after he let the puck go, he gets run from behind into the boards by Fredrik Sjostrom. That draws a penalty, and it also angers Jaime Sifers, who goes right after Sjostrom and gets in his face. Cowboy is slow to get up, but he does, and it appears he'll be okay.

0:00 - That's gonig to do it for a scoreless first 20. A solid road period for the Wild, which really gave up nothing in the way of chances except for the one Flames power play. The boys will re-hydrate, maybe go over some plays on the whiteboard, and then return to score a few goals on Kipper.

Period 2

19:34 - Sweet Martha's Cookies! That was close. Nigel Dawes, who sounds like he should be in a British rock band, fires a wrister on goal, and Backstrom can't hang onto the shot after it hits his chest. The puck then pinballs all over the crease, and two Calgary shots are actually stopped by former Flame, Chuck Kobasew, who slides into the crease and hugs the post until disaster is finally averted as the puck bounces away. Greg Zanon also throws his body into the crease go deny a shot. When Zanon retires from hockey, I say he takes a job as a secret service agent. He has the look of one, and he loves to throw his body in front of danger.

12:10 - Chris McGrattan, I think you should take a page from the book of Pedro Martinez, tip your hat and call Derek Boogaard your daddy. These two have squared off before when McGrattan was a Senator, and Boogey pummeled him then. This takes even less time as The Boogeyman lands a quick jab and then crushes McGrattan in the ear with a right hand and puts him on the ice.

10:30 - Andrew Brunette and Antti Miettinen criss cross as they enter the Calgary zone, and that opens up some space for Mittens. He unloads a shot that Kiprusoff stops with the waffle glove.

9:23 - Huge opportunity as the Wild will have a two-man advantage for 1:13.

8:52 - Bruno finds Mittens in the slot for a one-timer, and Mittens crushes it, but he can't direct it far enough towards the post. Kiprusoff slides over and makes a big save by securing it in his bread basket.

8:02 - Kipper won't give his countryman anything. Mittens has yet another point blank try right in front, but the Flames super keeper goes down in the splits and gets the leg pillow out there to stuff him again.

0:37.8 - Backstrom had an easy first, but he's had to come up big here in the second. He makes a huge save off a backhand from Olli Jokinen in point blank range.

Period 3

18:39 - Oh my! Out of nowhere, Kyle Brodziak turns on the jets and grabs a loose puck at the Calgary blue line. Nobody is even close to him, and Brodzy tries to put a quick shot through the five hole, but Kiprusoff is just seeing everything right now, and he makes another big save. The Wild is going to have to tie his skate laces together to put one past Kipper tonight.

14:50 - MIN 0 - CGY 1 - Man, what can you do in the Saddledome? Something like this always seems to happen as the Flames finally come back the other way. Curtis Glencross speeds around the net and fires a high shot on Backstrom, who makes the save, but he can't hang on. He tries to freeze the puck, but it's out of his reach, and that allows the puck to bounce out to Aaron Johnson, who fires home his first goal of the season.

11:25 - Dion Phaneuf, who is large, gets physical with Koivu after the whistle, and they exchange some heated words. Koivu gives up some serious poundage to Phaneuf, but Koivu is about as intense a person as there is, and I wouldn't want to be the guy in front of him when he snaps.

10:30 - MIN 1 - CGY 1 - Yes! Do your thing James Sheppard! The youngster gets a huge, or as Donald Trump would say, "yooooogge" goal. Shane Hnidy's shot from the point sails high, but the puck takes a Wild bounce off the back boards and to the side of the net. That's where Shep is camped out, and he chips the puck up in the air and just sneaks it inside the pipe for his second goal of the year, and of this road trip.

4:30 - Hnidy nearly starts another goal by just sending a shot toward the goal. After hitting traffic, Clutterbuck gets the puck right in front on his backhand, but his bid just goes wide.

3:25 - What a shift by the line of Sheppard, Kobasew and Havlat. Kobasew makes a great play to get in alone on Kipper, but he's stopped. Then, they keep the pressure on and Havlat has a slap shot from the middle of the circle denied by a sliding Kiprusoff. This guy is from another planet. There's no question the Wild would be walking away with two points if not for this brilliant performance by Kiprusoff.

0:00 - My goodness! The Wild throws 44 shots on goal, and can only muster one goal. Yet, they get at least one point, and if they can find the net in the next five minutes, they can get a well-deserved deuce


3:18 - Kobasew makes a great move to get around a pinching Phaneuf, but his partial break is broken up on a nice stick check by Giordano, who covers for his starlet-dating defensive partner.

1:45 - MIN 2 - CGY 1 - Marty! The Flame killer does it again! Havlat finishes off a beautiful hot potato passing play with Zidlicky and he just lifts it over the outstretched Kiprusoff. That caps off a great night for Havlat, and a great night for the Wild. What a finish, and it comes in the House of Horrors known as the Saddledome.

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