Yo, State of Hockey Legion!
We’re here in the Al Shaver Press Box for the Minnesota Wild’s 500th game (including preseason, regular season and playoff) at Xcel Energy Center. Doing something 500 times is a whole lot, and the old barn is still kicking and looks pretty nice, if I do say so myself.
The Wild looks to end its three-game losing streak tonight against the Columbus Cardigans, also know as the Blue Jackets. Minnesota is primed for a win because Niklas Backstrom is in net and loves to shut down Columbus. Backstrom is 9-5-1 with a 2.27 goals against average and a .923 save percentage in 16 starts against the Jackets.
The news of the night is that rookie defenseman Jonas Brodin will be paired with Ryan Suter on the blue line. Brodin is only in his third game, but has looked like a grizzled vet, well maybe not facially, on the ice.
The Wild are popping in its home reds, while the Jackets wear its road white with star/flag logo jersey. As always, I'll be live tweeting over at @mnwildLIVE, so give us a follow.
It’s clobbering time!
Period 1 - MIN 2, CBJ 0
After a sluggish first five minutes, the Wild came alive and jumped out to a 2-0 first period lead.
Wild Captain Mikko Koivu got the team on the board, attempting a centering pass that banked in off of Blue Jackets goaltender Steve Mason. On an odd-man rush, Jonas Brodin took an entry pass from Ryan Suter and ripped a sharp angle shot. Mason kicked the rebound out, which Koivu picked up and circled low in the offensive zone. Parise was in front of the net and Koivu attempted a centering pass that banked off the inside of Mason's pad.
A good forecheck by the Wild's top line set up the second goal, as the puck was moved from the side wall out to Clayton Stoner at the point. He moved the biscuit into the slot to Koivu, who turned and fired a shot. Koivu's wrist shot was blocked, but Tom Gilbert was sneaking down from the right point and the puck found its way to his tape. Gilbert collected it and calmly fired it over an outstretched Mason.
Good first period from the good guys, and the Wild will start the second period on a power play. I like what I see and think they'll keep it going for the next 40 minutes.
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