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Mike Doyle's In-Game Commentary vs. Los Angeles

by Mike Doyle / Minnesota Wild

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How’s it going State of Hockey legion? Welcome to another installment of In-Game Commentary presented by Sun Country Airlines. On this day in 1970, Simon and Garfunkel had a number one hit with “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” Well, maybe if Paul and Arty flew in high style with Sun Country, they wouldn’t have been singing sad songs about having to take a bridge to cross some rocky waters.

But enough about folk music, let’s talk about some hockey. Your Wild is hosting the Los Angeles Kings tonight at Xcel Energy Center and, despite the winter weather advisories, I’m sitting high about the ice in the Al Shaver Press Box to bring you all the action, so you sit back with a cold one and enjoy the ride. With 20 games left in the season, Minnesota is fighting to climb the Western Conference standings and this is a prime opportunity to gain some ground on the Kings, who sit three points above the Wild in the standings.

Minnesota will have a new addition to help handle the Kings, as the club acquired Bloomington native Tom Gilbert from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for Nick Schultz before the NHL trade deadline yesterday. The Wild also traded for prospect Steven Kampfer, but he’ll join the Houston Aeros. Kampfer was exchanged with Boston for Greg Zanon.
The Wild retained the services of Niklas Backstrom and he’s psyched about it and I am, too. He’ll get the start in goal tonight.

Tonight’s lone healthy scratch will be Matt Kassian. On the injured reserve and out of the lineup are Mikko Koivu (undisclosed), Clayton Stoner (lower body), Mike Lundin (lower body), Guillaume Latendresse (concussion symptoms) and Pierre-Marc Bouchard (concussion symptoms). 

If you're interested in fashion, the Wild sports its home red sweaters while the Kings wear white with black trim. 

Let's go!

Period 1

19:16 - MIN 0, LAK 1 - Not a good start for the Wild after a the puck was in LA's end for nearly the entire first shift. Slava Voynov throws, what looks like a harmless shot at the net, but Justin Williams fights off Marco Scandella in front of the net and redirects the puck through Backstrom's legs. 

15:44 - After a rough first shot on goal, Backstrom seems to have settled down, making a reaching glove save on a long slap shot from Jeff Carter. 

15:01 - Justin Falk makes a diving two pad slide to break up a two-on-one. Dustin Penner makes a nice move and tries to slide the puck through the crease but Falk comes out of nowhere to break up the play. However, Gilbert gets called for a hold and the Kings get its first power play of the night. 

11:55 - Something you don't see too often, Dany Heatley with some words with Brad Richardson and I don't think they are making dinner plans. Richardson runs into Heatley at mid-ice and Heatley gives him a cross check to the ribs. The two stare each other down for a bit and eventually separate.

10:21 - MIN 0 - LAK 2 - Well it will just make for a better comeback. After a good forecheck, the Kings create a turnover and Anzie Kopitar finds Dwight King streaking down the middle of the slot and he buries it. If you remember, and I do, the Wild came back against San Jose on Sunday from this very position, so the boys might as well have back-to-back comebacks.

4:19 - Wild penalty killers get a well deserved round of applause from the crowd. The Kings had control for a majority of the power play, but the Wild PK kept them on the outside and blocked several shots to keep this a two goal deficit.

3:48 - Veilleux showing why he is one of the most well-liked Wild players as he runs into the much bigger Matt Green. Not sure what he did to get Green so upset because Matt immediately drops his gloves but the refs are there to diffuse the situation.

2:26 - The Wild with a few good scoring chances, trying to claw back into this one. Heatley drops the puck to Palmieri coming across the blue line and the lanky winger busts wide to get a backhander off on Bernier. Have to like a guy who is willing to use his size to get to the net.

1:22 - MIN 0 - LAK 3 - The Kings make it a three goal lead and Kopitar shows why he is one of the league's best. He and Dustin Brown are on a two-on-two, play give-and-go and Kopitar puts it into an empty net.

0:00 - Well, like I said earlier, the Wild came back from two down on Sunday, and tonight will be a little more of a challenge. But you should have faith because you don't want to miss the comeback of the season.

Period 2

19: 22 - That's one way to get to the net. Jed Ortmeyer throws a sharp angle shot at Bernier and Veilleux slams Voynov into the crossbar and knocks the net off for a whistle.

16:26 - The Wild's fourth line is trying to rally the troops. Veilleux blocks a a shot freezes the puck under him and some pushing and shoving ensues. Warren Peters stands up for his teammate and gets in the face of two Kings. Have to like their energy down three.

11:31 - The Wild are desperately trying to get back into this one. Justin Falk makes a heads-up play with the Kings on a line change to find Palmieri at the far blue line. He doesn't have his momentum going, however, and gets a long shot on Bernier before the Kings defenders can close the gap. Bernier bobbles the puck, but not enough to allow a rebound.

11:09 - The Wild continues to get shots on goal and Bernier is fighting the puck. Cullen cuts across the blue line, slows and fires a wrist shot from 25 feet out that hits the handle of Bernier's stick and goes wide.

10:00 - WIth the Wild on the power play, they get the best chance of the game. Cullen goes low to Heatley, who finds Setoguchi in the slot for a one-timer. Bernier makes the save and Cullen is there but can't jam home the rebound. The Wild is outshooting the Kings but are just inches from converting.

6:02 - Gilbert has a point blank shot at his first goal with the Wild but can't beat Bernier. Clutterbuck finishes a check at the blue line and it springs Cullen and Palmieri on a two-on-one. Gilbert jumps into the play and Cullen finds him in the slot, but he can't convert.

4:59 - MIN 0 - LAK 4 - Whatever the Kings had for dinner, I want, because everything they touch is going in. After some in-zone pressure, Jordan Nolan redirects a pass from Alec Martinez through Backstrom's legs.

  2:16 - Peters takes a pass in the neutral zone and is tripped by Voynov, who trips Peters. Voynov gets called for tripping and Peters gets called for diving. Usually, I don't condone booing and it's not allowed in the press box. But boo from home people, boo from home.

1:37 - Backstrom keeps the game from getting out of hand. Carter steals the puck at the red line and is in all alone. He tries to drop the shoulder and go around Backs, but the goaltender lays out to make a big left-pad save.

0:00 - The Wild outshot the Kings for the second straight period but were unable to break the shutout. That's right, I said it. Shutout. Let's turn this thing around.

Period 3

17:23 - Scandella takes a hard check from Nolan along the wall, the two have words and drop the mitts and take off the lids. Nolan gets an early shot in and Scandella returns fire. The two tie up and wrestle to the ice. Scandella isn't known for the fisticuffs, but it's great to see the rookie trying to spark the team.

15:20 - Another tussle as Clutterbuck gives Brown a shot after the whistle and everyone on the ice grabs a partner. Clutterbuck gets two for roughing in a frustration penalty.

9:40 - Cal Clutterbuck is trying to break the goose egg as he takes a long stretch pass from Justin Falk and cuts around Green. Clutterbuck has the inside position, but Green rides him to the side of the net. Clutter gets a shot off, but Bernier makes a save.

7:55 - Kuris Foster shows off that big shot of his. He gets a blast from the right point with Brodziak going to the net. Richards knocks the puck down before it gets on goal, and Brodziak goes for the rebound, but is hooked by Richards for a Wild power play. If the Wild has a chance, they need one on this power play.

0:00 - Tough night for the good guys, but they get a chance to rebound on the road in back-to-back games Thursday and Friday. We'll talk to you then.

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