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Konichiwa, State of Hockey legion! Welcome to another episode of Wild.com’s In-Game Commentary presented by Sun Country Airllines, the rootinest, tootinest airline in the sky.
Before we get to tonight’s Wild game against the New York Rangers, I’m happy to bring you some good news: The Wild has signed Jason Zucker
to a three-year, entry-level contract. The second-round pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft leaves the University of Denver after his sophomore season. He won’t play tonight, but is expected to make his Wild debut on Thursday. He'll wear number 16 for the good guys.
Now that’s settled, let’s get to tonight’s contest. Josh Harding
is in net for the Wild and he’s undefeated in his career against the Rangers. Sure, he only has one decision against the Blueshirts, but that was a big W and he’s set to repeat that performance tonight. Niklas Backstrom
will dress as Harding’s backup, after sitting out the Wild’s recent two-game road trip. So that means Matt Hackett
was reassigned to Houston today.
That was the good, but now for the bad. Matt Cullen
had surgery on a broken finger today and will be out for the rest of the season. This is especially tough for the Wild because they will loose his veteran leadership and locker room presence for the final seven games. Justin Falk
skated with the team at morning skate, but is not ready to return from a lower body injury. Matt Kassian
also is out tonight with a groin injury. Mike Lundin
has been shut down for the season after having surgery on a sports hernia. Jared Spurgeon
, Guillaume Latendresse
and Pierre-Marc Bouchard
are out with concussions.
If fashion is your bag, the Wild wears its green third jersey with Minnesota scrawled across the chest, while the New York wears the classic road whites with descending Rangers lettering, and blue and red trim.
Time for some puck!Period 1
18:45 - Marian Gaborik touches the puck momentarily and some scattered boos ring out. Feel free to boo the entire New York team Minnesota, I implore you.
17:30 - Cal Clutterbuck
lowers the boom on Anchorage native Brandon Dubinsky. Dubinsky catches the puck on the wall outside the blue line and Clutterbuck catches him. The Rangers forward goes flying like a salmon jumping upstream.
16:50 - The Wild fourth line gets a couple of chances but Lundqvist makes two saves. Veilleux throws a puck into his pads and the rebound pops out to Ortmeyer, who fires the rebound at the net, but Lundqvist makes a diving second save.
10:57 - Gaborik breaks across the blue line and releases a shot from the slot. Harding makes a save, but the rebound kicks back in front of the net. Gaborik goes for the rebound and Scandella plays the body, but gets called for a holding. Didn't look that bad, but Gaborik went down to help out the official with the call.
9:47 - With the Rangers on the PP, they think they score, but the ref clearly blew the whistle well before the puck crossed the line. Richards takes a sharp angle shot and Harding has a little trouble with it. The puck is loose momentarily but the ref blows the whistle. Ryan Callahan bangs it in, but the ref waives it off.
8:11 - MIN 0 - NYR 1 - Rangers strike first as Brian Boyle bangs home a rebound. Anton Stralman throws a point shot on net that Harding saves. The puck comes loose and Dubinsky scrums around for the rebound. He shoots it off the post, but Boyle is there to clean up the garbage.
7:10 - Ahhh, golden opportunity for Dany Heatley
but he can't convert. Puck goes to Marc Stall at his own blue line, but he mishandles the puck. A juicy turnover and Heatley walk down the slot. He tries to pull Lundqvist to the right and go five-hole, but the tender squeezes his pads to make the save.
3:30 - Big blocker save by Josh Harding
with the Rangers on the PP. Richards walks down from the point and tries to pick the top corner, but Harding is out challenging and turns it away with his waffle board.
3:00 - Wild just miss a connection shorthanded. Veilleux breaks in with the puck drifting towards the goal line on the right side of the net. He is out of room and tries to throw it out front to a cutting Clutterbuck, but the puck is on his backhand and he can't lay down the wood in time. The puck skids across the crease out of harms way.
0:00 - The Wild took far too many penalties that period, but I think they know that. Look for the Wild to stay out of the box and boast a big come-from-behind win.Period 2
18:50 - First chance of the period goes to the Rangers. Ryan Callahan crosses the blue line with the puck and slides it over to Boyle, going to the net. Boyle gets a backhand off that fools Harding, but the goaltender keeps the puck in front of him and out of the net.
16:55 - MIN 1 - NYR 1 - Play that goal song, the Wild ties it up on Kyle Brodziak's 20th of the season. The Wild works the puck around the perimeter on the power play before sucking the Rangers out of position. Scandella moves the puck low to Clutterbuck on the left side of the net. He turns and fires, but Lundqvist makes the save. However, Brodziak is in position right on top of the crease and bangs home the rebound. Dirty goals, fellas. Dirty goals.
13:45 - Harding has to make a reaction glove save through a screen. The Rangers try a point shot but it gets knocked down. Boyle finds the puck and tries for his second of the game, but Harding rejects it into the corner with the glove hand. 12:02 - MIN 1 - NYR 2 - Goal from the worst person to get a goal against Minnesota. Brad Richards wins a draw back to McDonagh, who goes back to Richards in the corner. Richards makes a spinning backhand pass right to the tape of Gaborik, who puts it over the glove of Harding. This might not be proper press box etiquette, but I don't care. Booooooo!
8:55 - Jed Ortmeyer
sure would like to get one against his former team. Veilleux blasts one from the left side and the puck pops out with Ortmeyer crashing the crease. He has an open net but is hauled down by Marc Staal and the Wild goes on its second power play of the game. 8:02 - MIN 2 - NYR 2 - Gee, golly the PP is hot tonight. Mikko Koivu scores his first goal since returning from an upper body injury. Tom Gilbert keeps the puck in at the point, throws it on net and it goes to Setoguchi. He finds Heatley, who goes cross ice to Koivu. The Wild Captain one-times the puck into the empty net. Big goal.
2:17 - Good effort from the Wild penalty killers as they deny the Rangers any real scoring chances. It looks like this game will probably come down to special teams unless the refs put their whistles in the pockets in the third.
1:31 - Harding says, "Step off, Derek Stepan." The Ranger forward takes a quick wrister from the side of the net but Harding is all over it, snagging the puck with his glove. Period 3
16:13 - Break for the Wild as Brandon Prust puts one off the post. Dan Girardi takes a soft shot that bounces off of Harding into the slot. Prust floats it in on net, past Harding, but his the post and Heatley clears it before any real damage is done.
15:46 - Bickel give Ortmeyer a shot, but you know he is not going to back down, not even against the behemoth, Bickel. The two exchange pleasantries, and the other players on the ice converge on their conversation, but nothing much happens after some jostling.
11:24 - Right in front of the Rangers' bench, Cal Clutterbuck
took a forehand shiver from Brian Boyle and goes down, but it looks like the refs are going to let this one decided at even strength.
10:15 - 10:02 - Devin Setoguchi
gets robbed, twice. First, he wheels around the net and fires, but Stralman makes a diving play to deflect the puck over the net. Then Koivu makes a similar play moments later, but gets the shot through on Lundqvist. Setoguchi is on the doorstep and tries to bang home the rebound, but Lundqvist makes another big pad save. 6:23 - MIN 2 - NYR 3 - Chalk up a break for the bad guys. Ryan McDonagh pinches in at the point and throws it towards the net. Scandella is closing on the play and tips the McDonagh effort. The puck skids across the ice right to the tape of Ruslan Fedotenko, who puts it into the empty net. Not cool.
1:00 - With a minute left in the game, the Wild pulls Harding and applies the pressure. Foster gets a point shot through, but Lundqvist turns it away.
:06 - One more icing by the Rangers and the Wild needs to work some magic off the draw. Head Coach Mike Yeo calls timeout to draw up a play. It's time to get one NOW.
0:00 - Well, the Wild put up a good effort against the top team in the Eastern Conference, but was done in by a bad bounce. We'll talk to you again on Thursday.