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In-Game Commentary at Phoenix

by Glen Andresen / Minnesota Wild

Wild GameDay

Pregame Notes: at Phoenix

Game Recap: at Nashville
Whaddya know, Whaddya say State of Hockey legion? As you may know, today is Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day commemorating the anniversary of one of the saddest days in our nation's history. So many gave their lives on that day, and in the following years so that we can have things like freedom, hockey games and crappy Michael Bay movies that exploit the tragedy.

So, tonight's live in-game commentary will feature the Minnesota Wild and the Phoenix Coyotes, and we'll dedicate it to all of those who serve past and present. Thank you!

Tonight, I'll be coming to you live from the 'ol Palace in Como Park, where I am 3-1-0. I can't take full credit, because Ivy the yellow lab has been right there with me for all of those, so we'd be fools to change things up tonight. She's sitting right next to me on the love seat and yacking on a bone. It's a gameday ritual.

In fact, it's a gameday ritual not unlike that of Niklas Backstrom who meanders around the rink like a slow motion zombie before each game he plays. Well, I didn't see for sure, but I'd bet Ivy's half eaten bone that he did it again tonight, which means he'll be getting the start. That can't make the dozens of Phoenix Coyote fans very happy because "Backs" is 9-2-0 in his career against the Yotes.

Word from Wild PR guru Aaron Sickman, on location at Arena, is that Derek Boogaard is the latest to get hit by the bug that has been traveling around the Wild locker room. He'll miss tonight's game due to illness, and that means both he and Cal Clutterbuck are going to be out of the lineup due to illness. That means John Scott will be in, likely at forward, and nobody will be a scratch tonight. Of course, Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Brent Burns and Petr Sykora are all at home and no doubt following tonight's action on live in-game commentary.

Finally, I know there are some fashionistas reading along tonight, so let's gab on duds. The Wild will wear the road whites as usual on the road. Phoenix will wear their home brick reds trimmed in white with the howling desert dog on the chest. Some of you traditionalists may not like these jerseys, but I have to say that I'm a fan. Don't judge me!

That about does it for the pregame deets. Shall we dance?

Period 1

18:02 - Judging by the seats viewable on TV, it looks like there are a lot of empty seats at the arena tonight, which is a shame because this Coyotes team is having a great year so far.

15:50 - First good scoring chance goes to Phoenix as Marttin Hanzal streaks through the slot and gets in tight on Backstrom, who is up to the task and turns aside the shot.

11:55 - Wild is on the first power play of the evening, and Eric Belanger nearly benefits from a miscue by Ilya Bryzgalov. The Phoenix netminder tries to stick the puck away from the rear of his net, but he fans and Bella is right there. He tries to bank it in off of Bryzgalov but he just hits the wrong part of the right leg pad.

7:24 - Guillaume Latendresse tries to hit Chuck Kobasew on a two-on-one but his pass gets popped up in the air. As he waits for it to come down Kobasew takes a shot in the back from James Vandermeer and he collides with the Phoenix net.

3:17 - Great play by Nick Schultz, who belly flops to the ice on a Coyotes two-on-one, and he takes away any hope for a cross creast pass from Matthew Lombardi to Bloomington's own Peter Mueller, and the puck floats harmlessly into the corner.

0:00 - The first 20 minutes are in the books. Both teams appear to have a case of the Mondays as the first period included very little in the way of excitement. We'll let the players grab some fluids, and let Ivy relieve herself, which will probably be more exciting than anything that happened in that period. 

Period 2

18:54 - Wild General Manager is the guest in the FSN booth right now. Stay tuned to tonight and tomorrow as a Q & A with Mr. Fletcher will be posted and his in-season acquisitions will be discussed thoroughly.

17:39 - Holy jumpin' as former Coyote analyst Darren Pang might say. Right off the draw in the Wild zone, the puck comes to a wide open Radim Vrbata who moves to his right and seems ot have nothing but net. But Backstrom dives headlong and makes a miraculous glove save.

15:27 - Lombardi came to play tonight. He rips up the right side and unloads a slapper that beats Backstrom and clips the post.

14:23 - Backstrom also came to play tonight. He is feeling it tonight, as he always does against Phoenix. He comes up huge again, snatching a one-timer from about 12 feet out from former first round pick Taylor Pyatt.

12:36 - They come up scoreless but the Wild turns in a great power play for two minutes as both units spend some quality time in the Coyote zone and everybody keeps sending the puck to the net. Owen Nolan has the best chance on an attempted tip of a shot from Latendresse, but Bryzgalov puts up the wall as he's done all season.

9:30 - MIN 0 - PHX 1 - Give some credit to Scottie Upshall here. Just seconds after getting creamed along the glass by Nick Schultz, Upshall regroups and goes to the front of the net. He is all alone and is able to tap in a centering feed and give the Coyotes a 1-0 lead. Fletcher sounds less than pleased about that goal.

8:46 - MIN 0 - PHX 2 - Well we've been here before but that doesn't mean we want to be here a lot. The Coyotes take a two-goal lead as Shane Doan leads a rush the other way. He absorbs a check after entering the Wild zone, but he's still able to dish off to Pyatt who fires a shot past a sliding Backstrom. The Wild has rallied from two goal deficits three times this season and we'll be looking for number four here.

6:48 - Bryzgalov is a large man in between those pipes. As Marek Zidlicky races to a loose puck in the slot, Bryzgalov is down in the butterfly, but his upper body is upright. When Zidlicky fires on goal, he has absolutely zero mesh to shoot at.

4:22 - Different shooter, same result. Another loose puck bounces to Kyle Brodziak on the doorstep, but Bryz has time to drop down to the butterfly and he just swallows up the shot from in tight.

Period 3

14:55 - I wish I had something for you folks. I've got nothing. The Yotes are just dumping the puck and sitting back and the Wild isn't having any success getting the puck deep. Backstrom is sporting a new design on his mask these days. Is that anything?

12:30 - Doan is a big boy and when he has a full head of steam, you don't want to be on the business end of his check. Backstrom is on the business end here. He gets flattened as Doan barrels into the crease, but the Wild will get a power play out of this and a chance to breathe life into this game.

11:40 - Curses! Havlat makes an astounding move by cutting right through two defensemen to get in alone on Bryzgalov. He slips a quick backhand past him but rings it right off the post.

10:24 - You can take the goon out of Vancouver, but you can't take Vancouver out of the goon. Former Canuck Ed Jovanovski steps up and clobbers Andrew Ebbett with his arms to Ebbett's face. This is about as obvious a shot to the head as you're going to see, and yet the refs let play keep on going. Mike Greenlay makes a great point in saying that the refs have called some light slashes against both teams in this game, yet they let this go. This could lead to things getting out of hand, which can be put on the refs for not policing the games themselves. 

10:06 - As for Ebbett, he appears to be okay save for a cut to the lip. He is on the bench right now as Doc Fuller holds some gauze to his mouth to try and stop the bleeding. Congrats Jovo Cop! You just cheapshotted a guy who is about eight inches shorter than you and is giving up 51 pounds. That has to feel good. 

5:11 - Brodziak makes a nifty play by faking a slap shot in the Phoenix zone and then hitting a wide open Latendresse with a pass to the slot, but as the big man tries to make a move, he loses control of the puck behind the net.

1:08 - Backstrom is off for the extra attacker.

0:01.1 - Well, this was about as unexpected as the sun rising each day. The players all come together in a bit of a donnybrook. James Sheppard and Keith Yandle pair of with Yandle landing some haymakers. Nolan gets involved, as does everybody else, but nothing too unbelievable happens. I have a strong hunch that Derek Boogaard will be in the lineup when these two teams play again on January 16.

0:00 - The win streak comes to an end as it wasn't meant to be tonight. Bryzgalov posts his League-leading fourth shutout of the year. It's the first time the Wild has been shutout this season.
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