** LAST NIGHT **
Wild TV: Game Highlights
All the action from the Wild's thrilling come from behind victory over Anaheim Wild TV: Antti Miettinen
Antti talks to Tom Reid after scoring two goals in the Wild's 5-4, shootout win
Hi-ya State of Hockey legion, and a Happy Day of the Ninja to you. Of course, as you all know, the Day of the Ninja started in 2003 by the creators of Ninja Burger, and on this day, people are encouraged to dress as ninjas and engage in ninja-related activities. Done and done. I chopped up some vegetables for dinner tonight with a samurai sword and pounded pizza dough with some nunchucks.
But first, it's time to get to what literally dozens of you are here for, and that of course is live in-game commentary as your Minnesota Wild hits the road and faces the Nashville Predators. Tonight, I'll be coming to you live from the Como Park palace I call home, and I'll be joined by my wife (not a hockey lover), and my dog, Ivy (a huge hockey lover).
Ivy started barking with delight when I told her that Josh Harding
would be getting the start in goal for the Wild tonight. She's excited because she's always liked Josh Harding
, she was encouraged by his last two solid outings, and it's the second of back-to-back games and Niklas Backstrom
played last night. So to her, it just makes sense.
Unfortunately, Cal Clutterbuck
is ill tonight and was scratched from the lineup. That means James Sheppard will get into tonight's game after two games off. Alas, someone is going to have to have his feelings hurt and that someone is John Scott. He'll be the lone healthy scratch. Of course, Brent Burns, Pierre-Marc Bouchard
and Petr Sykora are out with the concussions and are no doubt at home on their computers, following their teammates on live in-game commentary.
Finally, we can talk about clothes, and the Wild will wear the road whites for this one. The Predators are wearing their brand new third jerseys that are royal blue, trimmed in white with the saber-toothed tiger on the chest. I'm not sure if I love the new look for the Preds, but these sweaters are 100 times better than the pea soup colored third jerseys of yesteryear.
Now, I know it's Saturday and you were probably invited to an ugly Christmas sweater party or a Ninja-themed party, but everyone knows the hip thing to do on a night like this is log on and read for a couple hours. Great to have you with me. Let's get it on!Period 1
16:49 - Martin Havlat is going to get it going, but he's just not getting the breaks so far as a W. Nick Schultz fires a shot on goal from a shallow angle. That shot is stopped by Dan Ellis, who kicks the rebound right out front to Havlat, who puts the rebound up high, but Rinne makes a fantastic glove save to steal an early goal.
11:58 - The Mrs. is marveling at how players are able to skate around while wearing "all that stuff up top, and those shorts."10:33 - MIN 0 - NSH 1 - We've been here before. The Predators strike first on their second power play of the game. Martin Erat gets the puck at the top of the right circle and he uncorks a slapper through traffic that beats Harding up high. If you're keeping track, that's eight out of the last nine games that the Wild have given up the first goal.
10:07 - Another gem from my wife: "They just showed Erat doing a farmer's blow." Of course, if you're not familiar, a "farmer's blow" is blowing one's nose without a tissue.
4:20 - My word. Shane Hnidy takes an interference penalty, and that's the fourth penalty by the Wild this period. All four penalties have been committed by Wild defensemen. There have been zero calls against Nashville thus far, so hopefully that bodes well for later in the game if the Wild can kill this one off.1:44 - MIN 1 - NSH 1 - Now this is pretty folks. Just when it looked like this first period was going to be wasted, Havlat connects with Andrew Ebbett to square this thing up. Havlat races up the right side and backhands a saucer pass toward the front of the goal. The speedy Ebbett reaches up and tips it out of midair and deflects it into the net. Derek Boogaard is going to get a helper on this one too.
0:11.7 - MIN 2 - NSH 1 - O-M-G! James Sheppard pots his first of the year, leaving two Wild players without a goal this season...Mr. Boogaard and Sherrif Shane Hnidy. Here, Schultz holds the zone and sends a shot through to the net where Sheppard is camped out. He puts a perfect tip on it and it's just enough to squeak it through Ellis and the puck just does trickle over the goal line.
0:00 - Amazing what can happen when you stay out of the box. Despite committing four infractions to zero, the Wild heads to the dressing room with a 2-1 lead.Period 2
18:54 - Chuck Kobasew tries to hit Kyle Brodziak
in front with a centering pass, but he actually puts it off a Nashville skate and the puck pops right on goal and Ellis is forced to be quick with the waffle glove.
16:58 - The checking line nearly puts one in again. Guillaume Latendresse
just outmuscles everybody in the Nashville corner and he goes right to the front of the net with it. Ellis gets his paddle down to stop him, but Kobasew is right there to follow, but Ellis makes the stop on him as well.
13:41 - What a great play by Greg Zanon! He has the puck stolen from him by J.P. Dumont at the Nashville blue line. Dumont races ahead on what looks like a sure breakaway, but Zanon keeps chugging behind him and then dives and is able to whack the puck off Dumont's stick before he can get a shot off. That is just the kind of effort that the former Predator and Nebraska Omaha Maverick brings to this club each and every night.8:39 - MIN 3 - NSH 1 - Just seconds after Dan Terhaar and Mike Greenlay talked about Andrew Brunette scoring the first goal in Predator history, he scores the most recent goal in history against Nashville. On Minnesota's first power play, Martin Havlat, who by the way has been outstanding tonight, fires a shot right on goal from the point. Ellis makes the save but Brunette is right there to bat it in out of the air and give the Wild a two-goal lead. Bruno now has a goal and five assists in his last three games.
4:11 - With a sudden burst, Eric Belanger causes a turnover in the neutral zone, and he gets a step on Dan Hamhuis. Belanger winds up and blasts a slap shot that Ellis comes way out to stop. You almost wonder if Belanger had faked that shot, would he have had an easy goal. That's easy to say for a guy in his living room wearing sweat pants with a labrador retriever sleeping on his feet.2:23 - MIN 4 - NSH 1 - How fun must it be to play on a line with Brunette? He and Koivu and Antti Miettinen are just running their own show lately. Brunette gets the puck down low off a shot from the point, and without a look or an ounce of hesitation, he flips a backhand pass to Mittens in the slot and he buries his sixth goal in his last six games. This unit is just unstoppable right now, and they have given the Wild its second three-goal lead of the season.
1:00 - Earlier I said that Derek Boogaard is the only Wild player without a goal this season, and of course you know by now that I'm an idiot. Sherrif Shane Hnidy is also without a goal, as is Jaime Sifers. Then, if you figure in Bouchard, there's another. Period 3
20:00 - Pekka Rinne has come into the game in relief of Ellis.
17:27 - Sheppard wasn't even supposed to play tonight, but he has taken advantage of the absence of Clutterbuck. He's already scored his first goal of the season, and he very nearly puts in another one by going to the net and rapping at a loose puck on the doorstep, but Rinne comes up big.
16:50 - Harding is bringing back the lost art of the stack the pad save. Similar to his save on Paul Stastny a week ago, Harding decks the pillows again and stonewalls David Legwand, who streaks ahead on a partial breakaway. Legwand whacks at Harding as he tries to cover the puck, and that brings Koivu in to wrap him up in a headlock.16:33 - MIN 5 - NSH 1 - Comebacks in the third are fun, but I much prefer blowouts. Belanger piles on by making a brilliant steal at the Nashville zone. He just barely holds the zone by knocking the puck out of midair. He then carries the puck to the slot and absolutely unloads a rocket off the post and in.10:55 - MIN 5 - NSH 2 - It's not over yet, as the Preds get some life courtesy of Jason Arnott. The Preds' goal leader gets his 10th by carrying behind the Wild net and he comes out the other side and sees Harding down on his knees. He sends a wrister that hits Harding in the shoulder and bounces in on the short side.
7:55 - Ebbett is just always in fifth gear. Thanks goes out to Anaheim and Chicago for giving up on a speedy center with good hands and great work ethic. The former Michigan Wolverine races after the puck in the Nashville zone and then zips a pass over to Kobasew on the doorstep. Chuck has had a slew of chances tonight, but he can't get them past the Nashville gatekeepers.0:11.4 - MIN 5 - NSH 3 - The Preds score, but as teen pop sensation JoJo would sing, "It's just too little, too late/A little to wrong and I can't wait." This one matters little.
0:00 - The Wild closes this one out, and how about that? A nice, comfortable victory and that's five wins in a row, y'all! That's a nice way to start out a five-game roadie.