Happy National Beer Day, State of Hockey!
It’s a tough choice tonight between a brewski and an Old Fashioned because tonight also marks the Mad Men Season 6 premier. The schedule makes over at the National Hockey League offices must’ve known not to schedule a conflict, because puck drop between the Minnesota Wild and Columbus Azure Blouses, also known as the Blue Jackets, is 5 p.m. State of Hockey Time. So you can enjoy a Bud Light watching the Wild take down the Blue Jackets, and follow that up with a Canadian Club on the rocks, a la Don Draper.
Protecting the net like Joan protects the interests of SCDP will be Niklas Backstrom. The netminder was pulled in his last outing against the Kings on Thursday, so you know what that means – bad news for the Blue Jackets. Backstrom is 20-2-4 all-time in games after being pulled (non-injury), posting a 1.91 goals against average and .935 save percentage in those contests. Since March 26, 2008 he is 16-0-2 with a 1.69 goals against average and a .943 save percentage in those games.
Defensemen Nate Prosser and Justin Falk will be teaming up on the blue line like Don and Roger on a bender. The pair is in tonight and looking to agitate Columbus in the D-zone.
Falk and Prosser are in for Tom Gilbert and Brett Clark, who are tonight’s healthy scratches.
Dany Heatley (upper body) and Matt Cullen (lower body) are unavailable. Josh Harding is on Injured Reserve as he continues treatment for multiple sclerosis.
As always, follow all the action of tonight’s game via social media @mnwildLIVE and we’ll give you scoring recaps at the end of each period right here.
Period 1 - MIN 0, CBJ 0
It was a good first road period from the Wild, as the team had held a slight shot advantage, 3-2. It was a physical period, but only one penalty was assessed at the end of the frame. The Wild will start the second period shorthanded for 41 seconds.
Minnesota wanted to have a solid opening road period and it accomplished that, so we're on our way. Sit tight.
Period 2 - MIN 2, CBJ 0
The Wild took advantage of the man advantage that period, twice.
Ryan Suter received a pass from Jared Spurgeon at the point. The blueliner waited for a screen to set up and fired a wrist shot off the post and in. Jason Pominville picked up the assist for his first point in a Wild sweater.
Charlie Coyle had a tremendous couple of back-to-back shifts, getting the Wild on the power play and then scoring on said power play. First, he broke into the zone, was hooked by Vinny Prospal. Then, he flipped Prospal with a well timed shoulder shrug. On the resulting power play, Mikael Granlund found Coyle with a beautiful pass at the side of the net for a tap in. Devin Setoguchi added the second assist on the play.
The Wild is looking good with 20 miles to go to snap a three-game skid.
Period 3 - MIN 3, CBJ 0
The Wild rides a hot Niklas Backstrom in a 24-save shutout performance. The netminder shuts the door in the third period, stopping 12 Blue Jacket shots.
Jason Pominville added his first goal with the Wild, burying a beautiful setup from Zach Parise to put the nail in the coffin.
The Wild skates at home on Tuesday, hosting the Chicago Blackhawks at 7 p.m. State of Hockey Time.