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Wild at Blues In-Game Commentary

by Glen Andresen / Minnesota Wild
Happy Friday evening, State of Hockey legion! T-G-I Live In-Game commentary night here on Some folks spend their Friday at a ritzy restaurant like the Olive Garden, and some are perfectly happy to crush a Red Baron pizza and clack away on the computer while watching a hockey game. To each his own.

I am coming to you live from my living room in my posh Como Park estate in St. Paul, Minnesota. For those who are familiar with my life in-game commentaries, during my previous stint, you may remember that a large number of them were done in the basement of said estate. Well, since my year and a half hiatus, we've upgraded to wireless, meaning I'm bringing the show upstairs. And, that means I won't be watching the Wild take on the Blues on my 19-inch TV/VCR combo, but on my 27-inch Sony televison set. I know, I know. I shouldn't flaunt my wealth, but sometimes it's hard.

One other new addition is I'll have an assistant named Ivy, my labrador retriever, who I will be going to for help tonight any time I get writer's block.

Now that all of that is settled, we can get on to hockey matters. That includes Nik Backstrom, who will get another start in goal tonight after two consecutive sterling performances. I hesitate to let the Blues fans know this, because they've done nothing to harm me, but they were going to find out sooner or later.

Word out of the Lou from Wild PR genius Aaron Sickman is that Derek Boogaard will not be in the lineup tonight. He'll be a healthy scratch along with Andy Hilbert. Petr Sykora (groin) is going to sit out at least one more game, while Pierre-Marc Bouchard (concussion) and Cal Clutterbuck (ankle) will miss more than that.

The Wild will wear their brand new and hugely popular green third jerseys on the road tonight. The Blues are nothing if not accomodating, so they'll sport their road whites trimmed in white and blue with the musical note on the chest. Thankfully, they're not wearing their third jerseys, because then I would be forced to make a comment about how they are designed exactly like the Wild's red sweaters. 

We've got John Kelly and all-time nice guy Darren Pang calling this one on this Fox Sports Midwest broadcast. Hopefully Pang gives us a "Holy Jumper" tonight. Now, some of you might not get the Center Ice Package, but there is a free trial through this weekend, so check to make sure it is on. I've got it on Channel 772 on my DirecTV package. If you don't, fear not. I'm here to take you home computer style. 

Nothing left to do now but TCB.

Period 1

19:04 - MIN 0 - STL 1 - Something about road games but the Wild just cannot get out to good starts away from home. Jay McClement takes a David Perron feed from behind the net and puts a quick, low shot right on goal. Backstrom makes a fantastic save with his left pad, but as he tries to cover the puck with his glove, McClement follows his rebound and pokes it in. Looks like another rally is in order.

17:04 - Captain Mikko Koivu takes a huge hit behind the St. Louis net from Keith "Walt" Tkachuk. What's funny is how Kelly just refers to him by his nickname, "Walt."

13:13 - I think we'll just call Tkachuk "Walt" for the remainder of the night. It's fun. With St. Louis on the power play, former Gopher Erik Johnson sends a long shot in on Backstrom, who makes the save. Walt is right there on top of the crease and he whacks at the rebound, but Backstrom deflects it enough to pop it over the net.

12:21 - The Wild gets its first scoring chance of the game as Kyle Brodziak jumps on the rebound of a shot from the left circle. He doesn't get great wood on the shot, but enough to force Chris Mason to make a nice glove save.

11:30 - Benoit Poulot nearly ties this thing up, getting some space in the St. Louis zone. He lets a low shot go that appears to fool Mason. The save is made, but the puck continues to squirt toward the goal line, but the Blues Mason reaches back with his stick to knock it away.

9:07 - There's Blues head coach Andy Murray. I'm sure he's sad to see that his good buddy Derek Boogaard is not in the lineup tonight. He'll have to find someone else to scream at to the point of turning purple.

5:31 - We've got a scrap at center ice. It's Nathan Smith in his first fight as a member of the Wild, going at it with Brad Crombeen. After a brief staredown and pose fest, they engage. Have to say that Crombeen gets the better of this one, as he treats Smith's ear like a speed bag. My wife, sitting on the couch, quickly gets angry about the fighting, saying they are grown men and that kids are watching. This is an argument I'm not going to win, so I'm going to pretend I'm too busy to talk about it.

5:01 - Brad Winchester is chirping at the Wild bench after he and Owen "Cowboy" Nolan come together after the whistle and exchange a few words. The former Badger better check himself. You do not want to get on Mr. Nolan's list.

2:35 - Kim Johnsson takes a high, early hit from former Maverick, David Backes as the two go into the corner. Johnsson isn't ready for this considering they are not near the puck, and he goes down awkwardly into the boards. He's slow to get up, and we'll see if he returns.

1:35 - Tempers are flaring early as John "Hey You" Scott shoves Cam Janssen in front of the Wild bench. Janssen gives Scott a facewash, and then Winchester comes in and delivers a shot to Scott. The big man wants a piece of either one of them, but he's held back.

0:00 - The horn sounds to end the opening stanza. The Wild will have to regroup and come up with some "strategery" to figure out how to generate some momentum.

Period 2

20:00 - Bad news courtesy of Sickman. For a team just starting to get healthy, we hear that Kim Johnsson is out for the remainder of this one with an "upper body" injury. We should no more as to the severity tomorrow.

19:32 - There's our first "Holy Jumper" of the night, and it's well-deserved by Mason. With Chuck Kobasew right on the doorstop, he tips one right on and Mason has to go down and make a split save with his left pad. Pouliot tries to jam away at the puck lying close to the line, but he can't break the forcefield that is Mason's pad.

16:37 - What an unbelievable save by Mason! With the Wild on its first power play, the green guys work it around beautifully until Marty Havlat passes right in front to Brent Burns. Burnzie has a wide open net and he does a good job of getting the puck up in the air, but Mason makes a gorgeous glove save to snatch it out of the air. Ho-ly Jumper!

14:39 - MIN 0 - STL 2 - This is a momentum killer. Mason makes another spectacular save off a Koivu shot during a Wild power play. The Blues bring the puck the other way on a two-on-one. David Perron skates up the right side with a teammate on his left. Brent Burns goes down to take away the pass, so Perron lets one fly and beats Backstrom down low.

9:42 - Perron is just haunting the Wild tonight, as he flies down the rink on another two-on-one. Once again, he takes the shot himself, but this time he misses high. Kelly and Pang point out that the Wild is getting in trouble as the d-men are pinching in at inopportune times.

2:38 - The Wild kills another St. Louis penalty to stay perfect on the night, and near-perfect for the season. If there has been a bright spot for Minnesota (other than Backstrom), it has been that staunch penalty kill unit. Not only are teams not getting power play goals, but they are getting very few power play chances.

1:18 - MIN 1 - STL 2 - Count it! The Wild is back in this one. After Kobasew takes a tough angle shot from the far boards, Eric Belanger puts the rebound right back on Mason, who appears to make the save, but the puck somehow trickles through and just does roll over the goal line by a few inches. That's "Bella's" third of the year, and could be a huge confidence boost for the club heading into the third.

Period 3

20:00 - Great replay sequence shown by FS Midwest of Janssen hitting Greg Zanon in the second period. On the collision, Zanon somehow ends up with Janssen's stick in his hands. Janssen picks up Zanon's and as they skate back the other way, the make an even trade.

14:43 - The Wild's goal is now being credited to Kobasew, which means he's got his first goal in a Wild sweater. Always a momentous occasion.

9:31 - I can promise you this: I will never be consuming a Blackjack taco.

7:30 - We've gone 12:30 in this period, and there's only been four total shots on goal, all by the Wild. The lack of action has put both my dog and my wife to sleep on the couch.

4:30 - Shots in this period are still stuck at 4-0 Wild.

1:56 - The Wild just can't get anything going through the neutral zone as the Blues have completely bottled things up.

0:58.6 - Backstrom heads off for the extra attacker.

0:14.4 - MIN 1 - STL 3 - That's going to end it. Even with six guys out there, the Wild can get nothing generated offensively, and Brad Boyes gets one of the easier goals of the many in his career as he throws one in the empty net.

0:00 - The road woes continue for at least a couple more days. The good news is the Wild returns home for tomorrow night's tilt against the Hurricanes.
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