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Mike Doyle's In-Game Commentary at Vancouver

by Mike Doyle / Minnesota Wild

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What’s the good word State of Hockey legion? Welcome to the first In-Game Commentary of 2012, presented by Sun Country Airlines. Tonight, Managing Editor Glen Andresen is in Calgary covering the World Junior Championships. So I’m making my triumphant return to the keyboard and staying up late in the Central Minnesota Hockey Tavern to bring you tonight’s commentary. I know you’re as excited as the day Sam Phillips, Sun Records founder, met Elvis Presley, which, just so happens, happened on this day in 1954.  

You might, just maybe, be a little more excited about tonight’s meeting between your Minnesota Wild and the Vancouver Canucks. I’m pretty psyched because tonight marks the return of Devin Setoguchi (lower body) and Casey Wellman (upper body) to the lineup. Both players have been out for nearly a month and will provide the Wild lineup with speed and skill. 

Patrolling the crease for the good guys is Josh Harding, and the last time he faced the Canucks, he only allowed one measly goal in a 5-1 victory. So you know Harding is jacked to get the first win in 2012. 

Missing the action with injuries are Jarod Palmer (upper body), Clayton Stoner (lower body) and Guillaume Latendresse (concussion). Tonight’s healthy scratches are Brad Staubitz, Mike Lundin and Greg Zanon.

For the fans who come to commentary to check in on the laundry, the Wild will be wearing the road whites while the Canucks wear its blue uniforms with the Free Willy C.

Let’s get to it!

Period 1

18:38 - Daniel Sedin with an opportunity from the left side of the slot. Sedin is on a two-on-two and takes a pass from, who else, his twin Henrik, and fires a wrist shot high, but Harding takes it off the shoulder and keeps it scoreless early.

15:18 - First good chance for the Wild after a text book three-bump breakout, started by Harding, Pierre-Marc Bouchard takes the puck at the Vancouver blue line. He feathers a saucer pass across to Nick Schultz, who hits the outside of the post. Like to see the Wild defense jumping in the play early.

13:18 - MIN 0 - VAN 1 - I'm just going to come out and say it. I don't like the Sedin twins. Their telepathic ability is creepy. Henrik takes the puck into the Wild zone and circles back towards the blue line. He drops it off to his brother, Daniel, who blasts a one-timer high over a screened Harding.

11:59 - Setoguchi makes his presence felt. He crosses the blue line and drops the puck off to Heatley, then crashes the net. Both defenders go to Setoguchi and Heatley walks in and cranks up a big howitzer. Luongo is screen by Setoguchi and doesn't so much as make the save as lets the puck hit him. The rebound is there but Koivu isn't able to put it home.

9:36 - MIN 0 - VAN 2 - Once again the twins use their evil powers against the Wild. On a three-on-three Henrik throws a rink-wide backhand to Daniel. Everyone thought he would go back to his twin, but instead finds Alex Burrows in front and he finishes the play.

3:10 - Wild gets its first power play. Setoguchi steals the puck from Mason Raymond, who turns and trips Setoguchi. Good to see the guy they call "Gooch" back in the action. 

0:00 - Yes, the Wild is trailing by two, but I think that things are going to start going Minnesota's way starting in the second period. First, the team will have to kill off the remainder of a Vancouver power play, then the comeback begins.

Period 2

17:49 - The Wild's hottest player, Bouchard, has a great opportunity on a two-on-one with Cal Clutterbuck. Bouchard tracks down a clearing play and takes the puck down the right side of the ice. Clutterbuck opens up for a one-timer and Bouchard looks him off and fires a high slapper to the right upper-corner, but it hits Luongo in the shoulder and deflects out of play.

14:15 - Huge save by Harding to keep this a two-goal game. Jannik Hansen is standing on the backdoor and the puck is bouncing towards him. He whacks at it, like a man clearing brush, and connects. But Harding kicks the right pad out and denies him.

13:20 - Great to see Jared Spurgeon back on the ice. He blocked a Alexander Edler blast in the first period and limped off the ice. He didn't come out with the team at the beginning of the period, but he is back.

12:12 - With the Wild on the PP, Clutterbuck thinks he pulls the Wild within one. He takes a cross ice pass from Bouchard and snaps a shot high on Luongo. Clutterbuck thinks he had a goal and started to raise his hands, but Luongo raised his right hand and snatched the puck out of the air.

10:06 - Harding takes away Burrows' second goal of the game. D. Sedin keeps a clearing attempt in makes a between-the-legs pass to a streaking Burrows. The finger-taster tries to put it high on the glove side, but Harding whips the leather and denies him.

7:55 - Setoguchi nearly takes advantage of a play you might have seen in one of the Mighty Ducks movies. The Canucks win the draw back to Edler, who winds up for a Fulton Reed slapshot. He takes a digger and Setoguchi is sprung on a two-on-one with Heatley. He fakes a snapshot and fires high on Luongo, who keeps Edler off the SportCenter not top 10 plays.

4:04 - 3:30 - A shift from five guys who played in Houston last season is the Wild's best of the period. Wellman-Peters-Gillies-Spurgeon-Scandella just kept the pressure on for 30 seconds and had three good shots on goal. The Wild needs more energy shifts like this one.

0:00 - The Wild with several good looks that period but Luongo kept the team off the board. No way he keeps this up. I'm predicting the Wild comes back in regulation and takes it in OT. Mark my words.

Period 3

19:04 - Daniel Sedin almost makes this a three-goal game. He takes a pass from Burrows at the blue line. Sedin fires, what looks like a fairly harmless shot, on net and it gets past a screened Harding but rings the post.

13:32 - The Canucks get a shorthanded opportunity with a three-on-two. Raymond gets a shot and Harding makes the save. Lapierre is stationed in front of the net and cross checks Nick Schultz in the back. Clutterbuck comes in and shoves Lapierre from behind and starts jawing with the Canuck. The ref jumps in before it goes any further.

4:05 - Luongo keeps the Canucks lead at two. Mikko Koivu takes a fortunate bounce off the end boards and finds Setoguchi in the slot. Setoguchi fires high on Luongo, but the big keeper keeps the puck out of the net.

1:34 - Setoguchi is the extra attacker for Josh Harding. He keeps a clearing attempt in at the blue line and walks down the slot. He tries to go 5-hole with a snapshot, but the puck is rolling and he doesn't get all of it. Luongo makes the save, but looks behind him. However, the puck is not loose, it's under him.

0:22 - MIN 0 - VAN 3 - Manny Malholtra ices this game with an empty netter. He picks up a loose puck and fires it in from just outside the blue line.

0:00 - Minnesota loses for the first time in 2012 and will have two days off before playing in Calgary on Saturday. Glen Andresen will again be at the helm of the In-Game Commentary. We'll talk to you then, have a good night.

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