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How you doing State of Hockey legion? This day in rock ‘n’ roll history, "Love Child" by Diana Ross and the Supremes topped the charts. Also topping the charts is Sun Country Airlines with its supreme service. I’m sure that Ms. Ross chooses Sun Country and I know she follows In-Game Commentary because it keeps her hangin’ on to all of the Wild’s on-ice action.
Speaking of Wild action, I’m subbing in for Glen Andresen tonight from the Central Minnesota Hockey Tavern a.k.a. my living room, as the Wild travels to the frozen plains of Edmonton to drill the Oilers.
The last time these two teams met, the Wild’s 17-game home winning streak against the Oil was snapped in a 5-2 loss. Everybody gets luck sometimes – even you Edmonton – and my guess is that the Wild extracts a little road revenge tonight.
One thing the Wild has going in its favor is Niklas Backstrom
and he'll be in net tonight. He seals the Oilers tighter than the Alyeska Pipeline’s welded double joints. Backstrom plays against Edmonton, just like the pipeline runs for 800 mile, without a leak.
Head Coach Mike Yeo is inserting Colton Gillies back into the lineup and is looking for him to respond after being the healthy scratch last game. Guillaume Latendresse
and Marek Zidlicky are out tonight with concussions, and Justin Falk
didn’t travel with the team because of an upper body injury. The lone healthy scratch will be Casey Wellman.
For those of you who like watching hockey because of the uniforms, the Wild is skating in the road whites and the Oilers are outfitted in blue with its oil drip logo.
It’s the last game in Movember, so next time you see the Wild, the players will be clean-shaven. It’s also the last time you can help defeat the Oil off the ice in the MoBro Faceoff by donating to Nick Schultz’s Mo Bros page
. After you’re done being charitable, come right back and join the commentary.Period 1
17:46 – We had a feeling this was going to happen as Brad Staubitz and Darcy Hordichuk toss the gloves to the ice then toss their fists into each others faces. We all know what happened last game and this was obviously in response to those dustups. Pretty even bout with both large men landing a couple of good shots.
17:07 – First power play of the game coming for the Oilers as Mike Lundin
is called for holding. Ales Hemskey has a partial break and tries to shield Lundin while on the backhand. Hemskey gets a weak shot on Backstrom but Lundin gets called for a hold.
14:43 – First big save for Backstrom as he stones Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in the low slot. The Oilers rookie takes a pass from veteran Ryan Smyth as he breaks off the wall and snaps a low wrist shot, but Back is out challenging and makes a kick save.10:02 – MIN 0 – EDM 1 – Someone card Nugent-Hopkins, no way is he old enough to score 11 goals this early in the year. He takes a nice feed from Andy Sutton and buries a one-timer; Backstrom didn’t have a chance. Don’t worry folks, the Wild has been in this position before and I have a feeling we have another comeback brewing.
7:44 – Wild with a shorthanded opportunity. Recent call-up David McIntyre
is on a two-on-one with Colton Gillies. McIntyre waits before releasing a shot, but Ryan Whitney waits just a bit longer and blocks the attempt with his stick.
6:02 – One of these times the Heatley high-slot tip is going to pay dividens. Mikko Koivu
makes a nifty move at the blue line and finds Marco Scandella
on the right point. Scandella fires a low shot to Heatley, who tips the puck through Nikolai Khabibulin’s legs, but Bulin gets just enough to deflect it wide.
4:28 – Minnesota with another great opportunity. Colton Gillies steals the puck off of an Oiler turnover at the blue line. Gillies walks down the slot and winds up for a half-slapper. The puck was rolling and Khabibulin was out to cut down the angle and makes a pad save.
2:58 – Wild on the power play, Heatley takes a redirected shot and puts it on Bulin. Cal Clutterbuck
is standing by the crease like a dog waiting for table scraps but there is no rebound. The Oilers take exception and Ladislav Smid cross checks Clutterbuck in the face, taking a penalty. I wonder what @Clutterstache has to say about that play.
0:00 – With seconds remaining, Clutterbuck circles low in the Oilers’ zone and takes a knee-on-knee hit from Ryan Whitney. He is shaken up on the play, but if I were Whitney, I’d grow an extra set of eyes because you know Cal isn’t going to take that collision lightly. Actually, the entire Oiler team better watch out, because I feel the Wild is going to be brining the pain in the second period.Period 2
17:03 - With the game getting as physical as Olivia Newton-John in leg warmers, Gillies lays the hit of the game, thus far. Yeo likes players to respond and Gillies is flying around laying the body on anyone in his path, this time Sutton was in his way.14:50 – MIN 0 – EDM 2 – Score another one for the bad guys. This time, Jordan Eberle takes a cross-ice pass from Nugent-Hopkins on the power play. Eberle corrals the pass then flips a backhander over Backstrom’s shoulder. Time for the Wild to get back to work.
12:36 – Wild with its best chance of the period. After a neutral zone regroup that looked like it was drawn on the white board, Matt Cullen
takes the puck at the blue line. He feeds the puck across to Devin Setoguchi
, who takes the puck with his skate on the off wing and kicks it up to his stick. Setoguchi starts to run out of room but fires a shot that Bulin swallows up.
10:20 – Typically when someone opens the door for you, you thank them. Unless it is your opponent on a line change and his buddy knocks you into the open gate. That’s what just happened to Darroll Powe
as Eric Belanger knocks him into the open Oilers door. That one hurt me. 8:29 – MIN 1 – EDM 2 – That’s what I’m talking about Minnesota. Setoguchi, back on a line with Koivu and Heatley because Clutterbuck has gone to the locker room, puts home a backhand goal. Koivu throws the puck towards the net from the half-wall and Seto bangs home his eight goal on the year.
5:09 - MIN 2 - EDM 2 – The Oilers want to start playing dirty? Well, the Wild can play dirty too: On the score sheet. Kyle Brodziak takes an initial shot on the power play that gets blocked. The puck bounces back to him and he takes another whack at it. This one gets on goal but Bulin makes the save. Brodziak stays persistent and it pays off. The puck bounces off some part of his body and goes through Khabibulin’s legs. Woooo!
1:24 – Gillies gets another scoring chance with hard work and a well-placed dump. Bouchard has the puck at the red line and flips it high into the air behind the Oilers D-men. They lose sight of it, but Gillies doesn’t. He splits the D and chips a puck on goal but Bulin turns it away.
0:00 – One word to describe that period: Response. Down two, the Wild didn’t quit and tied the game with two hard-working goals. You can only guess where we’re going in the third. It's going to be physical, it's going to be fast and I'm betting it will be a Wild W.Period 3
14:47 – Not to state the obvious, but Pierre-Marc Bouchard
has a nice set of hands. This time, he only uses one to knock the puck out of the air to keep the puck in at the blue line. He then finds Jared Spurgeon
on the other point, who rips a slapper on Bulin.
12:41 – Poke check! Backstrom demonstrates a perfect poke check on Shawn Horcoff, who was sprung on a breakaway. The Oiler captain is in alone with a full head of steam, but a little too much steam because Backs saw the situation and dove out with the big goal stick and pokes the puck off Horcoff’s stick.
9:23 – Horcoff must be getting pretty sick of Niklas Backstrom
. The Wild netminder stones Horcoff again, this time a little more traditionally as Horcoff has the puck in the slot, but Backstrom is out, on top of the crease and turns away the wrister.
6:53 – Backstrom keeps the game tied at two, but this time has a little help from an unusual suspect: Dany Heatley
. Hemskey takes a shot on the right side and Backs makes the save. The rebound goes into the slot to Gagner but Heatley is there and goes down to block the shot. Heatley is known for goal scoring, but in Minnesota he is starting to be know for his D-play.
5:40 – Nick Johnson
, now playing on a line with Cullen and Bouchard, almost puts the Wild up one. Johnson picks up a loose puck near the blue line. He makes a shifty move on an Oilers player and releases a dangerous wrist shot that Bulin has to make a save on.
0:00 – The only thing better than hockey on a Wednesday night? Extra hockey. We’re headed to overtime and you know what happens when the Wild get into extra time with the Oilers.
4:45 – Bouchard nearly ends it right away. Bouchard is sprung by a neutral zone pass from Schultz. He has Bulin in his sights, beats the goalie high, but rings one off the post.
1:53 - To the dismay of Oiler fans, Smyth takes a penalty. I usually don't agree with people from Canada, but this time they have a reason to be upset. Smyth takes a hooking penalty on Spurgeon that might have been more of a lost edge than a vicious hook.
0:00 - Zam that ice, we're going to a shootout. It looks like it needs a fresh shave, much like many of your Wild players. The puck was bouncing around for the entirety of the last WIld power play.Shootout
Eberle starts things off with a backhand five-hole goal.
"Anything you can do I can do better," says Bouchard as he uses nearly the same move to beat Bulin.
Hemsky is denied by Backstrom.What a move by Koivu as he drops the shoulder and takes it to the roof. Gagner keeps the Oilers alive...just barely.
Cullen has a chance to end the game and hits the post.
Nugent-Hopkins hits the post as well.
Setoguchi tries to go five-hole but is denied.Horcoff gets revenge on Backstrom with a nifty backhand.
Heatley scores with a diving move that was unorthadox to say the least. Still, tie shootout.
Smyth goes with a backhand move into the pad of Backstrom.Boom. Brodziak ends it against his former team. Wild set a franchise record for wins in a month with 11. Happy Movember everyone!