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How are all my peeps in the State of Hockey legion? Welcome to another segment of Wild.com's legendary In-Game Commentary presented by the lovely folks at Sun Country Airlines. Speaking of Sun Country, how about the weather here in Minnesota. When I first came to the state I heard all kinds of stories about Minne-snow-da and how cold the winters are. Well, I think we can officially call it spring because I played a quick nine holes before settling in to write today's commentary. If you are someplace cold today, you should think about booking a flight to Minnesota, now. And if that's the case I highly recommend booking your flight with Sun Country.
But I digress, you're all here to read about the Minnesota players on the ice. The Wild is in Buffalo to beat up on the Sabres. I kinda feel bad for the Sabres fans because they are trying to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference, but they've run into Minnesota in the midst of a two-game win streak, and Buffalo is in for a drubbing.
If you're asking, "How can you be so sure mister commentator?" Well, here's a little nugget of information: the Wild has notorious Sabres dominator, Josh Harding
, in net. He is 2-0-0 with a 1.50 goals against average and a .963 save percentage in three games against Buffalo. So yeah, he doesn't loose to the Sabres. Kurtis Foster
will re-enter the lineup for Jared Spurgeon
, who took a blatantly brutal elbow to head last game and is out indefinitely with a concussion.Niklas Backstrom
has a lower body injury, so Matt Hackett
has been recalled as an emergency backup.
Other Wild players not on the current roadie and out with injures are: Matt Kassian
(groin), Justin Falk
(lower body), Mike Lundin
(sports hernia), Pierre-Marc Bouchard
(concussion) and Guillaume Latendresse
If you're like David Bowie and you're into fashion, the Wild is sporting their road whites and Buffalo wears their traditional blue buffalo sweaters with the crossed sabres.
Game on!Period 1
18:35 - A couple of chances for the Wild's third line. Nick Johnson
takes a long shot and Buffalo tries to break out, but Kyle Brodziak
steals the puck at the blue line and fires a turn around slapper. Miller leaves a juicy rebounds on both shots but the Wild isn't there to knock them home.
15:50 - Brodziak nearly puts home the game's first goal. He pulls the puck back to Prosser on the faceoff. Prosser misses the net wide, but the puck bounces off the end boards and Brodziak reads the angle. He jumps to the side of the net, but puts the rebound shot off the side of the cage. Brodziak's line has their legs going tonight. 13:09 - MIN 1 - BUF 0 - Oh baby! There is a lot of Alfredo on that sauce pass from Kyle Brodziak, and Steven Kampfer makes no mistake about his one-timer to put the Wild on the board. Brodziak and Johnson play give and go at the blue line, and Brodziak floats a beauty pass to Kampfer, who bombs it into the back of the net. Great start for the good guys.
10:14 - Harding is staying hot. Stafford comes into the zone and releases a pretty twisted wrister on goal that handcuffs Harding, but the goaltender is able to push the puck into the corner and out of harms way.
5:21 - A little Minnesota Gopher connection as Thomas Vanek crosses the blue line, delays and finds Jordan Leopold trailing for a one-timer. But this isn't college and the shot gets blocked and trickles on Harding, who covers it for a whistle.
4:47 - It's great to have Mikko Koivu
back and Devin Setoguchi
agrees. Koivu and Heatly cross and play give and go. Koivu opens up and finds Setoguchi late for a rocket one-timer. The rebound kicks off Miller's pad in Heatley's direction, but he kicks it into the corner and is unable to convert.
1:06 - Stoner buzzes the tower as he takes a Koivu pass and rips a one-timer. The rocket hammers Miller in the helmet, and it bounces out of play.
0:00 - Good first period for the Wild as all the lines are rolling today and Harding is spot on again. Bad news for the Sabres if the Wild can keep this up, and we know they can. Period 2
19:00 - Awkward save for Josh Harding
as he tries to snare a one-timer across his body, but keeps it out. 18:48 - MIN 1 - BUF 1 - Bad guys get one, with the former Gopher Vanek popping home a rebound. Hodgson picks up a loose puck in the corner and takes it to the net. Harding makes a save, but the puck bounces into the slot. Vanek gets to it and jams a backhand high over Harding's blocker.
16:42 - When the puck starts bouncing, watch out. Pominville rolls a puck on Harding that bounces about 10 times before hitting the cuff of Harding's glove and he covers it up.
15:50 - Another bouncing puck and Josh Harding
comes up big. The puck hops Koivu's stick and Roy is off on a two-on-one. He keeps the puck and tries to go over Harding's glove. The goaltender pops the puck in the air, tracks it like a center fielder and snags it out of mid-air.
14:35 - Oooooooh, I though Dany Heatley
just scored and so did he. On the PP, Foster takes a slap shot from the point. Heatley redirects it and it goes through Miller's pads, but wide of the net. Heatley raises his hands but it trickles out of harms way.
10:26 - Harding has had to make some big saves today and makes another kicker to keep it tied. Sulzer takes a quick pass from behind the net and lets go of a quick shot, but Harding is out challenging and makes a karate-kick save.
8:03 - We have kerfuffle! Harding makes a save and Travis Turnbull tries to get into the crease. Scandella keeps him away and they start shoving. Johnson comes in from behind and tosses Turnbull to the ice. Everyone gets into it and Johnson and Turnbull square off. Somehow Johnson gets an extra penalty for protecting his goalie. Not sure I agree with this call.
7:16 - Okay, this is getting a little reckless. Harding makes a save and Hodgson slashes the Wild netminder in the hand. This might get out of hand if Buffalo is allowed to take liberties at Harding.
4:32 - Heatley gets it in his wheelhouse and fans on a golden opportunity. Peters is driving the puck wide and throws it out front. Heatley is trailing the play and winds up to crank a one-timer, but the puck goes through his legs. Man, Heater wants to have that one back, I guarantee.
1:00 - Dangerous. Vanek makes a nice move to go around Prosser, trying to make a self pass. However, Harding see the play coming and give a perfectly timed poke check to diffuse the situation.
0:00 - Buffalo scored that period's lone goal, but the Wild are poised to take it in the third. If I were in Vegas, I'd bet my house on it...if that type of thing was legal, of course. Period 318:15 - MIN 1 - BUF 2 - Big shot from a large man. Tyler Myers rips a slap shot past Harding to give the bad guys the lead. That was a bomb on the power play and the Wild will need to say out of the box and come back in this one.
16:41 - Stoner with a heavy blast, but Miller gets just enough of it to make a save. The puck hits Miller's glove, then pops up in the air and lands on top of the net. Stoner nearly gets his first of the season.
13:22 - Harding makes a big blocker save, but I'm not sure that would've counted. Turnbull gets a pass down the middle, but kicks the puck at the net. The puck flies high in the air and Harding waffle boards it out of trouble.
12:23 - Scary play with a puck that bounces out of the zone. The puck crosses the blue line, slowly. Harding and Vanek are in a foot race to the loose puck, but Harding just beats the Buffalo forward to the biscuit and pushes it out of harms way. Close call.
8:42 - Vanek tries for his second goal of the game, but puts it just wide. On a two-on-one, he bats a pass out of the air, but the puck bounces wide. Break for the Wild as that pass from Tropp threw a grenade to Vanek and he still nearly put it home.
5:15 - The Captain is trying to lead the comeback. Creates a turnover by stealing the puck, regroups and finds Heatley. The big winger gets off a one-timer but its just wide and hits the side of the net. The Wild is going to get one here.
4:10 - Oh, not again. Matt Cullen
blocks a shot with the inside of the hand and leaves the ice. Not good.0:00 - MIN 1 - BUF 3 - Hodgson puts home an empty netter and ices this one. Good start for the Wild, but the Sabres turned it around. Minnesota gets another chance tomorrow in Washington. We'll see you then.