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Heatley Goal: 1-2
Hey there State of Hockey legion! Welcome to the final In-Game Commentary of the 2011-12 season presented by the Sun Country Airlines. It’s been my pleasure brining you all the Wild action this season. It is also the third installment of the Wild’s Fan Celebration here at Xcel Energy Center, but I’m going to celebrate all of you online fans, sticking by your computer monitors and following the team via the Internet. You guys are the best and I’m proud to be your commentary captain.
Now enough with all the gushy stuff, let’s get down to brass tacks. The Wild has recalled a pair of emergency defensemen for tonight’s game, Kris Fredheim
and Chay Genoway
. This is the second time Fredheim has been called-up to the big club and it will be his third game with Minnesota. Genoway makes his NHL debut and will wear number 47. It just so happens Genoway also is the 47th player to wear a Minnesota sweater and the 10th player to make his NHL debut with the Wild. The two were recalled because Nate Prosser
is serving a one-game suspension.
As for the Wild’s opponent, the Phoenix Coyotes have a lot riding on tonight’s contest. Let me break it down for you: With a Wild wins in regulation, the Coyotes would lose-out on the Pacific Division title, and the winner of San Jose/L.A. would claim the Pacific. An overtime or shootout loss for Phoenix combined with a San Jose win would still give Phoenix the division title. However, if the Kings beat the Sharks in regulation or overtime and the Coyotes manage one point, Los Angeles would win the division.
However, those implications kind of go out the window because the Wild will win tonight and it will be in regulation. “But Mike, the Wild’s previous five games have gone beyond regulation,” you might be thinking. Yeah I know, but this is only going to take 60 minutes because Niklas Backstrom
is net and he is primed to frustrate the Coyotes into submission.
As for the injured players missing tonight’s contest: Clayton Stoner
has a broken rib; Mike Lundin
(sports hernia) is out; Matt Kassian
(sports hernia) will not play; Matt Cullen
(finger) is down; Jared Spurgeon
, Pierre-Marc Bouchard
and Guillaume Latendresse
all have concussions.
If you’re a stylish being, the Wild wears it green third jerseys while the Coyotes wear the road whites with red trim.
Time for takeoff!Period 1
16:57 - The fourth line is always good for a good effort. After a quick neutral zone transition, Warren Peters
first a slap shot that Coyotes goalie Mike Smith has to turn away. 14:26 - MIN 0 - PHX 1 - Coyotes jump on the board first as Mikkel Boedker scores on a wrist shot over Backstrom's glove. Shane Doan knocks a clearing attempt out of the air and feeds a pass to Boedker, who puts it away.
12:58 - With the Coyotes on the PP, Backstrom makes a big shoulder save. Gilbert Brule streaks down the right side of the ice and tries to go over Backs' glove. He cuts down the angle and makes a shoulder save and holds on for a whistle.
8:15 - Koivu causes a turnover in the neutral zone and chases the loose puck down. He makes a backhand chip to Setoguchi and he has a little daylight. He slides down the right side tries to go far post, with Heatley going to the net, but misses wide. 6:03 - MIN 0 - PHX 2 - On a broken play, Boyd Gordon has the puck behind the net. He chips it out front and Taylor Pyatt controls the bouncing puck, pulls it to his forehand and goes low to the blocker side on Backstrom for the goal. Wild need to establish a little forecheck and get it into Phoenix's end.
4:12 - Wild get another shot on goal off a turnover. Heatley picks this one off and cuts into the offensive zone. He fires a long wrist shot, but Smith handles it with the glove fairly easily.
1:29 - Shorthanded, Backstrom has to make a sliding pad save. He goes from right post to left post to follow a deflected pass that goes to Michael Stone at the right point. He winds up for a big slapper, but Backstrom makes the save and controls the rebound for a whistle.
:27 - The Coyotes try a Hail Mary Pass to Radim Vrbata from deep in their own zone. Vrbata runs it down like a wide receiver and catches it in his glove but he's offside by about five feet. Nice catch though.
:09 - Clutterbuck does what Clutterbuck do, which is lay people out. He hammers Vrbata in open ice in front of the Coyotes bench. That will teach him to try to go offside for a breakaway.
0:00 - Not the type of start we want to see, but the Wild will turn this around. Trust me.Period 2
18:01 - Vermett is spurned on a long pass up the middle of the ice. He busts wide on Justin Falk
, but the D-man rides him into a worse angel. Vermett still gets a shot off, but Backstrom turns it away with his stick.
15:32 - Ortmeyer takes the puck across the blue line and finds Veilleux cutting down the slot. Veilleux accepts a pass and winds up for a slap shot. The puck is partially blocked by a Coyotes defender, but gets in on Smith. The goaltender reacts and knocks it away with the butt-end of his stick.
13:05 - Brule just took a puck to the face and he doesn't look happy. That stings. Badly.
12:21 - Zucker takes a turnover at the blue line and is off to the races. He streaks down the right side of the ice and tries for a snap shot, but Michael Rozsival, with a well timed stick, blocks the puck over the glass.
11:48 - Brodziak is the beneficiary of a Phoenix turn over and takes the puck to the net. He tries to cut in and shelf it on Smith, but just doesn't have enough room to put it over the tender.
9:41 - Mike Smith is living dangerously as he tries to dangle the puck behind the net. He makes a clearing pass, but Warren Peters
gets control of the puck. He cuts in on the right side and goes high to the left. The puck beats Smith, but rings the cross bar and goes out of play.
8:07 - The fourth line continues to create chances with hard work. After a strong forecheck, Veilleux gets a shot through traffic. The line regains control of the puck and get it to the point, where Falk gets a long shot through. Wild is starting to buzz.6:07 - MIN 1 - PHX 2 - There you go, Heater! Heatley tracks down a Mikko Koivu wrist shot and gets the puck behind the net. You'd think having the puck behind the net isn't the optimal place to score from, but healthy puts it in off Smith's back for a goal.
5:36 - MIN 1 - PHX 3 - The Coyotes quickly respond to quite the crowd. Taylor Pyatt takes the puck and tries to jam a wrap-around on Backstrom. He gets across to make a save, but Pyatt stays with it and chips a rebound over the outstretched Backstrom.
2:52 - Kurtis Foster
with a great look but misses the net wide. Scandella makes a tape-to-tape pass to Foster breaking down the middle of the ice. He tries to go high to the glove side on Smith, but the puck sails wide.
2:08 - Zucker nearly gets the first of his career. Clutterbuck with a great cross-ice feed to the streaking Zucker. He takes the puck in and tries to go low to Smith's stick side. Smith makes the save and squeezes it in his pads. Sooooooo close.
1:17 - Chances are stating to go the Wild's way. On the PP, Setoguchi gets a cross-ice pass from Koivu and rips a one-timer. Smith has to go across the crease but keeps the lead at two for the Coyotes.
0:00 - Wild pour it on at the end of the period and has the Coyotes on their heels. However, Smith stands his ground and the Wild is down two heading into the final period of the season. But if you have been around the commentary, you'll know the Wild is just setting things up for a big third period comeback. Period 318:41 - MIN 1 - PHX 4 - The Coyotes come out firing and Radim Vrbata scores on a rocket slap shot. After taking a long a pass, he crosses the blue line and rips a shot that beats Backstrom low to the glove side.
17:17 - Seto gets a chance with a big slapper of his own but is denied. He takes a pass from Heatley with a full head of steam and comes down the right side of the ice. He has a big windup, but Smith cuts down the angle and Seto hits the goaltender, who hangs on for a stoppage.
16:00 - I know I give the refs a hard time on the commentary, but they have a tough job. Matt MacPherson just took a clearing attempt right in the leg and that smarts. But, he's tough and doesn't go down and shakes it off.
14:20 - Justin Falk
isn't going to quit in the third. With the Wild shorthanded he lays out and blocks a shot to the midsection. That's another tough cookie, my friends.
10:21 - Clutterbuck has one heck of a shift. First, he nearly scores on a hard wrist shot that Smith has to make a reaching blocker save on. Then he runs a Coyote in the corner.
5:44 - The Wild are pressing and get a good opportunity on a point shot. Gilbert takes a one-timer off a Koivu pass. Heatley is screening Smith, who doesn't see the puck, but still keeps it out of the net.
3:17 - Scandella with a spin-o-rama at the blue line and another close call for the Wild. Scandella spins with the puck to beat a Coyote player, then centers a pass to Heatley, planted in front. He redirects the pass on Smith, but the goaltender makes another save.
:36 - Kesla with a big check from behind on Heatley and Koivu comes over for a cross-check to Kesla's ribs. Kesla drops the gloves and goes after Heatley and Koivu piles on Kesla. Morris jumps on Koivu and after some jawing, things cool off. Koivu heads to the locker room as does Heatley.
0:00 - Tough end for the Wild as they are downed by the Coyotes in the final game of the season. It was a pleasure and honor to bring you through the In-Game Commentary this season.