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What’s the good word State of Hockey legion? Welcome to another installment of Wild.com In-Game Commentary presented by the wonderful folks at Sun Country Airlines. There are few things in life better than writing this commentary, but taking a jet airliner on Sun Country somewhere warm might take the cake.
The commentary is even more pleasurable when I get to deliver some good news. If you haven’t heard by now, Mikko Koivu
makes his return against the Calgary Flames, and you know what that means: Bad news for the Flames. The Wild captain has missed 15-straight games since re-aggravating an upper body injury on Feb. 16. The injury has caused him to miss 23 of the past 27 contests. I’ve been watching him in practice and he looks primed to pop a couple tonight and maybe add a few assists, too.
More good news for Wild fans, which is bad news for Calgary fans: Josh Harding
is in net tonight. He is coming off a 33-save whitewashing performance of the Vancouver Canucks so he’s going to keep that going.
For the guys out of the lineup, Kurtis Foster
is a healthy scratch. Matt Kassian
injured his groin and didn’t skate this morning, so he’s out. Mike Lundin
had surgery on a sports hernia, so he’s shut down for the season. Guillaume Latendresse
and Pierre-Marc Bouchard
are both out with concussions.
If color is your bag, the Wild will wear the home reds while Calgary is outfitted in the white sweaters with a flaming C logo.
Let get ready to rumble!Period 1
20:00 - One of the cooler ceremonial as Officer Joe Reginek from the St. Paul SWAT Team repels from the rafters and drops the puck between Wild Captain Mikko Koivu
and Jarome Iginla.
18:54 - Harding starts right where he left off, with a big save on Matt Stajan in the slot. Stay hot Josh.
17:23 - Oh my. If it's too good to be true, it usually is. Warren Peters
just missed a chance to put the Wild on the board. After a good forecheck by Ortmeyer, he gets the puck to Veilleux, who throws it to the net. Peters is on the back door, but fans on the empty net.
12:45 - Harding keeps this game locked at zeroes, barely. Stajan is pressing today, as he crosses the blue line and floats a soft backhand on net. Harding is backpedaling as he makes the save and the puck nearly slides in with the goaltender, but Harding keeps it on the good side of the goal line.
11:35 - Brodziak is hot as a pistol, but Kiprusoff is quicker on the draw, this time. Brodziak takes a wrapped puck off the end boards and makes a quick move to the front of the net. He lifts the puck high on net, but Kiprusoff makes a shoulder save.
7:42 - With the Flames on the PP, Harding comes up big again. After some perimeter passing the puck comes to Stajan in the slot. He one-touches a pass Iginla, who blasts a short side one-timer. Harding slides across and hugs the post to keep it scoreless.
5:53 - What looked like it could've been a bit sketchy, turns into a stoppage of play. Heatley takes a rebound in front of Harding, and slides it back to the goalie. Harding makes a stick save and then covers it up. It probably looked worse from my view than it was, but still a scary play.
4:00 - Moss doesn't grow on a rolling Stoner, as Clayton absolutely demolishes David with a bone crunching open ice it. BOOM!1:06 - MIN 0 - CGY 1 - Calgary strikes first and takes advantage of a power play. Chris Butler takes an off-speed shot, aiming wide of the net. The puck takes an advantageous bounce to Lee Stempniak in the slot. He pulls the puck to his forehand and buries it. Score one for the bad guys.
0:00 - With several power play chances, the Wild allowed too many shots for Head Coach Mike Yeo's liking. From here on out, Minnesota stays out of the box and comes back to win this thing. Mark it.Period 2
19:20 - I guess you can't do that. Nate Prosser
takes a popped up puck, closes his hand on it and chucks it down the ice. Are the Twins in need of a center fielder? Because Prosser has a pretty good arm. 18:22 - MIN 0 - CGY 2 - Flames strike on another power play, this time a 5-on-3. Anton Babchuck takes a clearing attempt off the wall. He skates to the middle of the ice and blasts a slapper that beats Harding high to the glove side.
17:45 - Jarome doesn't miss those too often. He takes a cross ice pass on the backdoor and fans on the puck. That's usually a gimme for the Calgary captain, but we'll take it.
17:00 - Wow the puck doesn't want to go in as the Wild catches a break. The Flames are passing on the perimeter and fire it into traffic in front. The puck gets past Harding off of the skate of Olli Jokinen, but grazes the outside of the post. Thank our lucky stars.
13:04 - Brodziak just misses on a good opportunity. He steals the puck at the blue line and wheels into the slot. He gets his first shot blocked but follows up with the rebound. He tries to put it by Kiprusoff low, but the goaltender keeps it a two goal game. We need more chances like that one and I feel they're coming. 11:24 - MIN 1 - CGY 2 - Oooooohhhhh, yeah! Now that's a power play. Puck goes from Koivu across to Cullen, at the point, down to Setoguchi and into the slot to Heatley, who one-times it home. Yeah, that was probably a run-on sentence, but when you see a bing-bang-boom goal like that, it's tough to write prose as poetic as the goal.
7:48 - Harding is tracking the puck well tonight. He slides across from left to right as Ollie Jokinen drops a one-time bomb. Jokinen shoots it against the grain, but Harding sticks his right mitt in the air and deflects the puck over the net.
5:16 - Well, it looks like one thing that wasn't affected by Koivu's injury was his shot. On the man advantage, Setoguchi feels the Captain high in the slot and he blasts a one-timer on Kiprusoff. The accuracy will come back with more time, but the velocity was there.
0:18 - Harding makes another key save as Lee Stempniak does a little toe drag and steps to the side of the net. Harding takes away the lower half of the net and the puck hits his pad and he freezes it.
0:00 - With time expiring, Prosser fires a point shot with Heatley stationed out front. The Flames take exception and Butler gives Heatley a shove. I think the Flames will take more of an exception when Heatley scores his second goal of the game to tie this thing up next period.Period 3
16:50 - It looks the the Koivu-Heatley-Setoguchi line is feeling more comfortable as the game goes on. After cycling in the offensive zone for about 10 seconds, Koivu makes a bank pass to Gilbert at the point. He goes D-to-D to Scandella, who gets a good shot on net. I think this line has another one in them.
16:11 - That's what faceoff wins can do. Brodziak pulls one back clean to Prosser. He whips a slap shot on net that might have been tipped in front. Kiprusoff makes an awkward save and is slow to get up. Not sure if he tweaked something there or if he's just getting tired of his center men losing draws.
14:36 - Oh my, how did that not go in? Cal Clutterbuck
winds up with a big shot that gets deflected wide. The puck bounces off the end board and slides in front. Christensen is stationed at the side of the net but just misses the puck as it drifts under Kiprusoff, who freezes it for a whistle.
11:15 - As if you didn't know this, but Cal Clutterbuck
hits hard, really hard. He gets Jarome Iginla, a pretty meaty fella, in his sights and lines him up. Iginla sees Clutter coming and braces for the impact. It's a good thing too because Clutterbuck still tosses him back a few feet and nearly into the Calgary bench. 7:37 - MIN 2 - CGY 2 - Count it! Darroll Powe puts home a rebound that was under review for quite a while. The puck is loose under Kiprusoff and Powe jams it loose. The puck squirts towards the goal and Stajan makes a last ditch effort to keep it out, but is just moments too late. BLOW THAT GOAL HORN!
3:35 - Calgary was saved by a slash and broken stick. Powe and Koivu have a two-on-one and Moss, in desperation, slashes Powe. His stick breaks on the play, but the Wild go on the man advantage. Let's get one here, what'd say?
3:15 - It's a shooting gallery right now as Koivu blasts a one-timer that Kiprusoff saves. The puck goes to Setoguchi, who almost takes the goaltender's head off with a high heater. Gilbert lets one go from the point and Heatley tips it in front. Too much action...my keyboard is smoking.
0:00 - And we're headed to overtime. What a period for the Wild as they nearly draw even in shots, but are able to tie it up. Now let's win this thing and go home.Overtime
4:40 - Setoguchi gets a mini-break that turns into a 3-on-2 but gets hooked from behind and is unable to convert.
3:06 - Soooo close. Koivu leads a rush, buys time and makes a wheeling spin, behind the back pass right on the tape of Clutterbuck. He takes it and slams some high heat at the net. Kiprusoff makes the save and the puck lays there for a few moments. With Koivu trying to pick up the rebound, Kiprusoff has a Flame laying on him and can't get up, but poke checks the puck just before Koivu can get there.
1:10 - Ding! Iginla takes the puck across the Wild blue line and rags time. He finds Giordano on the far side and he rings the post. Way too close for comfort.Shootout
Christensen is first, he wheels in slowly and Kiprusoff goes for the poke check. Christensen is unable to beat him.
Stajan is up next and tries a head fake. It doesn't work and Harding isn't buying it as the puck is shot wide.
Cullen is up and tries to go to the glove side, but Kiprusoff makes a sprawling save.
Stempniak comes in and tries to go five hole but is denied by Harding.
Koivu comes in with speed and tries to shoot five hole but Kiprusoff closes the legs.
Jones makes a pretty good move, but Harding sticks his leg out and makes a better save. Setoguchi comes in, no frills, and rips a shot low to the stick side by Kiprusoff
Comeau, how do you say no, no. Harding makes the save and the Wild wins a thriller 3-2.