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Good evening State of Hockey legion! Welcome to another chapter of In-Game Commentary presented by Sun Country Airlines. Since today is employee appreciation day, Managing Editor Glen Andresen is showing his appreciation by giving me the reigns over tonight’s commentary. And I’m going to show my appreciation to all of you, by calling my shot, and having my greatest commentary to date. Glen also is taking the night off because he is fearful for his Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs because they are in Husky Country, playing St. Cloud State University, tonight. Obviously, we all know who is going to win that game: the Huskies.
As for this game, I’m calling for the Wild to earn a big two points against the Detroit Red Wings. One reason is because Minnesota has Josh Harding
leading the charge from the net, and he’s been a Wings killer this year. Harding is 2-0-1 and has blocked 110 of 114 shots faced for a .965 save percentage and one shutout against the Detroit this season. Pretty good, huh?
Harding’s backup will be Matt Hackett
, who was called up from Houston today. Hackett gets the call because Niklas Backstrom
was injured during the first period of yesterday’s game against the Montreal Canadiens. Backstrom had an MRI today and will miss two to four weeks with a groin strain. Also out of the lineup for the Wild with injuries will be Mikko Koivu
(upper body), Clayton Stoner
(lower body), Mike Lundin
(lower body), Pierre-Marc Bouchard
(concussion symptoms) and Guillaume Latendresse
Tonight’s lone healthy scratch will be Erik Christensen
If you come to commentary for style, the Wild will be outfitted in their road whites, while the Wings will wear their classic red sweaters.
Let's ride!Period 119:25 - MIN 0 - DET 1 - Not the type of start you want to have against these guys. Zetterburg tosses the puck to the net and Harding can't corral the rebound. The puck bounces out to Valtteri Filppula, who makes a nice move to the backhand and pulls it around Harding and tucks it in along the ice. Wild will need to settle down and rebound from this.
17:44 - The Wild nearly ties this one up while shorthanded. Matt Cullen
streaks down the left boards and finds Kyle Brodziak
streaking down the middle of the ice. Brodziak one-times the puck in on Jimmy Howard, who makes a bid sliding save.
11:35 - With the Wings on the power play, you can expect a couple of horses in front of the net by the names of Holmstrom and Franzen, but Nate Prosser
does a good job shoving him out of the way so Harding can see a point shot and turn it aside.
8:38 - An errant puck flies into the stands and a dude in a Wild jersey catches it; then celebrates with a double fist pump; then is booed. Nice to see the State of Hockey infiltrating the Motor City.
6:34 - Nick Johnson
loves the bank shot, and it has worked in the past (do you remember Toronto?). This time he beats a Wing to a loose puck behind the net, spins along the goal line and tries to put it off of Howard's back. The puck trails to the point and Foster fires a shot with Kassian, Peters and Johnson all going to the net, but Howard keeps it out. 3:56 MIN 0 - DET 2 - The Wings score another rebound goal, and this doubly stings because it comes off the stick of former Wisconsin Badger, Brendan Smith. Cleary gets away with, what could have been considered a trip, and steals the puck inside the Wild zone. Bertuzzi picks up the loose puck and gives it to Cleary, who gets a shot. Harding makes the first save, but Smith swoops in for his first career NHL goal.
0:19 - Harding makes a sneaky save after Cleary tries a spinning backhand waster, but Haring gloves it down for a whistle.
0:00 - The Wild has their work cut out for them down two heading into the second period, but we've seen this story before with a happy ending.Period 2
18:20 - The Wild with its first opportunity of the second period and it's a three-on-two. Healtey leads the rush and finds Brodziak trailing late. He fans on the first shot and gets a second attempt off, but it is blocked on the way to the net. Those are the guys you want coming in on the rush, but this time they can't convert.
16:02 - The Wings are testing Harding from any and every angle. First, on a rush Zetterberg lofts a harmless looking shot, but Harding has to kick it into the corner. The Wings recover the puck and Hudler finds Filppula cutting to the net, but Harding keeps that try out as well. 12:55 - MIN 0 - DET 3 - The Wings continue to push and this time it's Darren Helm. Detroit breaks in on a 4-on-3 but Nick Johnson does a good job of backchecking to break up the initial Helm pass. Unfortunately, the puck bounces tight back to Helm and he throws one at the net that gets by Harding, high on the blocker side.
7:27 - With the Wild on the power play, Cal Clutterbuck
tries to take matters into his own hand and rifles a puck upstairs on Howard. Clutter hopes to catch the goaltender cheating with a sharp angled shot, but Howard makes a big glove save.
4:42 - Jared Spurgeon
with the Wild's best chance of the period. Setoguchi crosses into the Wings' zone and trows a backhand towards the middle of the ice. It's too far in front of Cullen, who dives for it, but it's right on Spurgeon's stick. He makes a move to the backhand, but Howard is there for a save. 3:27 - MIN 0 - DET 4 - This is not good, folks. Henrik Zetterberg tries for a bank shot, but doesn't score and goes right onto Filppula's stick and he blows it by Harding alone in the slot.
2:18 - MIN 0 - DET 5 - Okay, I've heard of home ice advantage, but this is just ridiculous. Ian White crosses the blue line and fires a shot on Harding. It skips off the ice, at least once, and takes a bad hop right over Harding's glove. You've got to be kidding me.
0:00 - Well, that period certainly took a turn for the worse. The Wild will have the comeback of a lifetime ahead of them to overcome a five goal deficit in the third. Period 3
18:31 - With the Wings on the power play, White unloads from the blue line, this time actually getting the puck to the net without skipping it like a stone on a lake, and Harding makes the save. Those are a bit easier to handle.
14:49 - The Wild attempting to get something going, has a good solid forecheck. The puck slips out to Nate Prosser
, who walks to the top of the circle and lets go a big slapper, but Howard makes a nifty glove save.14:30 - MIN 0 - DET 6 - That's it for Josh Harding as Henrik Zetterberg. He takes a cross-ice pass from Filppula, and puts it into the empty net. Harding was out challenging on a fake Filppula shot and was drawn out of the net, and slid the puck across to Zetterberg, who makes no mistake about it.
9:48 - Matt Hackett
is in and he doesn't want to allow any more. The Wings are on a power play and Hackett makes two beauty saves. First he denies Holmstrom from point blank range and gets just enough of a Mursak rebound with a diving paddle save to poke it wide.
5:16 - The Wild are still trying to break the goose egg. On the power play, Dany Heatley
winds up with his patented slapper, with Devin Setoguchi
standing in front. Setoguchi, screening Howard, does a mid-80's David Lee Roth splits-jump to avoid getting hit with the puck. But it hits Howard and the attempt is foiled.
3:46 - Ortmeyer nearly scores a redirection, but it goes just wide. Peters pulls up at the blue line and just lofts one on net. Ortmeyer completely fools Howard by tipping the puck, but it goes wide.
2:50 - Well nothing is going right for the Wild today. Powe is absolutely robbed of his fifth goal of the year. He is pushed into the crease and one-touches a pass on net past Howard, but the ref waives it off, for apparently no reason. None that I could see anyway.
0:00 - Tough loss for the good guys, losing 6-0 to the Wings, but will have to regroup because they host the Avs on Sunday. We'll talk to you then.