Happy Hockey Day in America!
On the day that our nation celebrates the greatest game in the world, the Minnesota Wild hosts the Detroit Red Wings. The Wild looks to go 2-0 on “hockey days” this season, as the club won the season opener on Hockey Day Minnesota.
Two players will be making debuts tonight, one his National Hockey League and the other his season. Johan Larsson will make his NHL debut, while Jason Zucker will skate with the team for the first time this season. Zucker will skate on a line with Matt Cullen and Devin Setoguchi, while Larsson will join Kyle Brodziak and Cal Clutterbuck.
Defenseman Nate Prosser will be back on the blue line. He’ll skate with Clayton Stoner to start the game.
BREAKING: Darcy Kuemper will get the start in net for the Wild. It will be his second career start.
Out tonight with illnesses are Justin Falk and Pierre-Marc Bouchard. Josh Harding has been placed on Injured Reserve because he’s felt off since switching medications in treatment for multiple sclerosis. Zenon Konopka will be a healthy scratch.
The Wild rocks its green third jersey with Minnesota across the chest, while the Wings are outfitted in its classic road whites with the flying tire emblem.
We'll be live tweeting the game over at @mnwildLIVE.
It’s a great day for hockey!
Period 1 - MIN 0, DET 1
The Wild and Wings engaged in a pretty even first period. Minnesota controlled much of the first half while the Wings were better in the second 10 minutes.
The Wings were the only team to get on the board. From the right side of the Wild net, Damien Brunner stuffed home a shot from Pavel Datsyuk. Henrik Zetterberg picked up the second assist on the play.
The Wild fired eight shots on goal, but with a strong second-half push the Wings managed 14. Minnesota looks to regroup and come out strong in the second period.
Period 2 - MIN 3, DET 2
After digging themselves into a two goal pit, the rest of the period was an offensive explosion from the Wild.
Pavel Datsyuk scored only 20 seconds into the second with a perfectly placed wrister over the glove of Kuemper. Assists went to Zetterberg and Brian Lashoff.
The Wild's top line went to work and started off a rally with Dany Heatley's fifth goal of the year. Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu were forechecking tenaciously, leading to a Koivu chance on a wraparound. Mrazek made the save, but the puck rebounded out to Heatley in the high slot. The wing one-timed the puck, not getting all of it, but enough to beat the Wings' goalie through the legs.
Minnesota continued to take advantage of the momentum as Jason Zucker showed off his speed and finishing ability. Chipped the puck up the wall in his own end, beating two Detroit defenders on his way to a 2-on-1 with Devin Setoguchi. He then looked off Seto and buried a wrist shot low to the blocker side.
The Wild took the lead off of a broken faceoff win. Torrey Mitchell sniffed out a loose puck and fired a backhand through the legs of Mrazek to give the Wild a 3-2 lead. The goal was unassisted.
Twenty more minutes for a Wild win. Let's go!
Period 3 - MIN 3, DET 2
Minnesota didn't crack the scoreboard but didn't need to, taking a one-goal lead into the final frame.
The Wild battled in the third period, allowing only seven shots on goal and netminder Darcy Kuemper shut down the Detroit Red Wings for his first-career NHL win.
We'll see you all back here on Thursday as the Wild travels to Edmonton to face the Oilers.