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Hello, State of Hockey legion and welcome to In-Game Commentary present by Sun Country Airlines. Tonight, our fearless Wild.com leader Glen Andresen won’t be brining you the commentary. We had a bet on how our Alma Maters would do in WCHA action last night. Well, Glenny won the battle as his Minnesota Duluth Bullfrogs won and my St. Cloud State University Huskies lost, but alas, tonight’s another night and both teams took home victories.
So with Glen having the night off, I’ll be rocking the keyboard bringing you all my keen insight as the Wild travel to Lala Land to take on the Kings. Saturday night in Hollywood? You couldn’t write a better script for tonight’s game. This matchup is going to be a great one (and no old number 99 is not walking through that door Kings fans) as both teams are going to be hungry coming off losses on Thursday night.
Of course, I have a good feeling about the Wild tonight. Josh Harding
is in goal and he has been unbeatable this season; literally, the guy is 4-0-1. The Wild has been excellent in bounce back games and I expect nothing less tonight.
However, Minnesota will have to do it without its big winger Guillaume Latendresse
, who is out indefinitely with a concussion. Likely to take his place with Mikko Koivu
and Dany Heatley
is Nick Johnson
. The north-skating winger has played well on the road trip and will add a hard charging dynamic to the duo. Also inserted into the lineup will be Warren Peters
. We’ll have to take a wait-and-see approach as to the rest of Head Coach Mike Yeo’s line combinations, but don’t be surprised at a little shuffling.
Also out of the lineup with injuries are Mike Lundin
(back), Clayton Stoner
(hand) and Greg Zanon (groin).
For those of you who only care about one thing - the team’s uniforms – the Wild will sport the road whites and the Kings will be outfitted in its black sweater with LA emblem.
Let's do this.Period 117:11 - MIN 0 - LAK 1 - Not the way we wanted to start the night. Terrible bounce for the Wild as Ethan Moreau tries to center a pass from behind the net and if deflects off of Warren Peters. The puck slides under Harding who loses track of the biscuit and as he is standing up, Colin Fraser pokes the puck from under his pad and into the goal. Cheap.
14:30 - The Wild with its first real scoring threat as Marek Zidlicky slides down the wall, pinching on the Kings' breakout. Zid centers the puck, trying to find Heatley in front but the puck caroms out of harm's way.
13:17 - Kings with a great scoring opportunity as D-man Jack Johnson sneaks down from the point on the power play. Johnson one-touches the puck to a pair of Kings forwards on the back door, but Dustin Brown is unable to redirect the puck behind Harding and Mike Richards fans on the puck a couple of times. After a short scrum the net comes off. Whew.
10:48 - Wild take another penalty, this time Devin Setoguchi
takes a hook on Drew Doughty. Even with the Wild's solid killing unit, they don't want to keep giving the Kings PP opportunities.
8:30 - Wild finally registers its first shot on goal as Pierre-Marc Bouchard
takes a clearing pass at the Kings' blue line. THe shifty winger pulls up on his off-wing and fires a low slap shot through a screening defenseman on Jonathan Quick, who has to make his first save of the game.
2:22 - Near melee after Peters drives Alec Martinez into the wall. Peters looks like he was trying to finish a check but Martinez was with the puck and in the process of turning. Peters is called for a five-minute major boarding penalty. Can’t say this is warranted, but it doesn’t really matter what I think. The Wild’s killers are getting plenty of action in the first period.
0:00 - The Wild has to be glad to be out of that period. Minnesota will have to stay out of the box in order to get some offensive zone opportunities. But I'm confident Yeo will have some encouraging words for the boys and the Wild will be better in the second. Period 2
18:00 - MIN 0 - LAK 2 - Chalk one up for the bad guys. With the Kings on the five-minute advantage, Martinez scores a backdoor goal. After some perimeter passing, Justin Williams takes the puck to the net. Harding makes a left pad save, but the puck squirts free to Martinez on the right post.
14:53 - Harding takes a stinger and is shaking his glove (right) hand. The Kings set up the puck behind the net and Richardson one-times a puck into Hardings arm. In an unrelated event the Wild has recalled goaltender Darcy Kuemper
from the ECHL’s Ontario Reign. Read more on the story here
.13:11 - MIN 0 - LAK 3 - The bad guys extend their lead to 3-0 as Dustin Brown shows off some an excellent individual effort. Brow takes a pass at center, and turns the corner on Zidlicky, who went for a hip check. Brown gets a shot on Harding and picks up his own rebound and stuffs it home far side.
9:00 - Harding's glove hand appears to be alright as he snags a Doughty blast from the point.8:16 - MIN 0 - LAK 4 - Writing a lot of posts in bold tonight, but not the good bold as the Kings score another goal, 4-0. Kopitar skates behind the net and loses/drops the puck to Simon Gagne who walks out front of the net and fires a backhand though Josh Harding, and that's it for Harding as Niklas Backstrom comes in for relief.5:47 - MIN 0 - LAK 5 - Everything going right for the Kings as Matt Greene, not known for scoring, gets his first of the season on a seeing eye slap shot from the point. The Kings won the draw clean to Greene who lets one fly. Backstrom was screened pretty heavily and with my old school entertainment center, there is no way of knowing if it was indeed redirected.
0:39 - Wild on the power play as Gagne jumps Brad Staubitz. The Wild's forward finished his check on Kopitar and Gagne takes exception. While Staubitz is getting up from the hit Gagne jumps on him like a kid diving into a pile of freshly raked leaves. Gotta say, Gagne is lucky that Staubitz was down or that could have ended badly for him, very badly.
0:00 - Wild moving the puck well on the PP and showing a little desperation. Hopefully the boys can keep that intensity up in the third. They will start the period on the man advantage and hopefully give all of you staying up with us a comeback for the ages. Period 3
19:13 - MIN 1 - LAK 5 - Bingo! Cal Clutterbuck scores his third goal of the year on the power play. Koivu takes a Heatley pass down low and pulls a very Koivu-like move to the net, powering a backhand on Quick. Clutterbuck was stationed in front and bangs home the rebound. If you're going to start a comeback, it's good to start it early. Exactly what the Wild needs coming out of the period break.
15:38 - Wild going back on the power play, this time a 4-on-3 as Zidlicky gets pulled down by Johnson.
13:48 - Wild has several good scoring chances with the man advantage including Bouchard ringing one off the post with Brodziak screening Quick. Bouchard buys time on his off wing before releasing a quick wrister that Quick had no chance on. Unlucky.
9:23 - Backstrom has been sharp coming off the bench. This time, Backy denies a sneaky slot backhand from Trevor Lewis.7:37 - MIN 2 - LAK 5 - Pow! Darroll Powe gets his second of the season and road trip. Zidlicky rips a shot from the point and Powe, driving to the net, show off some quick hands and redirects it past Quick. Wild pull within three, 5-2.
6:13 - With the teams skating 4-on-4 the Wild gets a great opportunity. Koivu draws the Kings' eyes to him stick-handling behind the net. He feeds Heatley in the right high-slot and Heater bangs a one-timer but Quick makes a pad save.
4:32 - Brodziak has a couple of chances, first tries to stuff one in the right side of the net, but bangs the puck into the post. He then gets a good look from the high slot but misses the net high.
3:07 - Brodziak continues to knock on the door, this time hitting the cross bar with a breakaway backhand. The dynamic PK duo of Powe and Brodziak team up as Powe steals the puck at his own blue line and bumps it up to a breaking Brodziak, who doesn't have much gas left in the tank but still beats Quick but it's a little high.
0:00 - Well the Wild wins the final fram, but a first two periods, marred with penalties, dooms Minnesota. Hopefully the boys can build a little momentum from the third period.