Mike Doyle's In-Game Commentary at Nashville
Wednesday, 12.28.2011 / 1:19 PM CT / Minnesota Wild | Features
By Mike Doyle - Managing Editor
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Howdy, State of Hockey legion! Welcome to In-Game Commentary presented by Sun Country Airlines. Tonight, the Wild is in the home of country music: Nashville. Did you know that this day in country music history, George Strait’s "She'll Leave You With A Smile" hit number one on Billboard. If you take a flight on Sun Country, you’ll be left with a smile.
Also leaving you with a smile tonight will be the Minnesota Wild. I know, Minnesota is in the midst of a seven-game losing streak, but that ends tonight. First off, Josh Harding is in goal for the Wild. Last time he faced the Predators, he was spectacular in the team’s 3-2 win. Now he’s ready to get the team out of this little losing funk.
Joining Harding and the Wild in the lineup tonight will be Elk River native Nate Prosser. He was recalled yesterday from Houston along with Jon DiSalvatore, who will make his Wild debut against the Preds.
Missing from the action is Jared Spurgeon (lower body), who was hurt after Avalanche forward Cody McLeod hit him from behind Monday night. Good news for Wild fans, Spurgeon’s x-rays were negative so hopefully he is in for a speedy recovery. Also out with injuries are Devin Setoguchi (lower body), Guillaume Latendresse (concussion symptoms), and Casey Wellman (upper body).
The healthy scratches are Jarod Palmer and Mike Lundin.
If you like watching the pretty colors, the Wild is sporting its road whites, while the Preds are in its yellow sweaters with blue trim.
Let’s do this thing!
17:44 - Nate Prosser makes his presence felt early after Josh Harding covers the puck up. Martin Erat skates by the WIld goalie and Prosser gives him the business in the corner.
15:14 - The WIld with an opportunity after Matt Cullen does some fancy footwork behind the net. Cullen loses Craig Smith after two quick cutbacks and throws a pass out front. The puck finds the stick of Pierre-Marc Bouchard, but he fires it into DiSalvatore's skate. Good to see the Wild going to the net early.
13:00 - Best chance for the Wild as Nick Johnson and Mikko Koivu skate on a two-on-one. After good pressure from Dany Heatley in the neutral zone, Johnson creates a turnover. He is on his off wing with Koivu and choose to shoot the puck from the hash mark. Good decision, but Pekka Rinne makes a pad save.
8:10 - Harding is tracking the puck well as he makes a save on a redirected point shot. What seemed like a harmless wrist shot from the blue line, gets redirected by Patric Hornqvist. Harding is sliding to his left and the puck is tipped back, but he stays square to the play and swallows up the rebound.
4:13 - Harding makes another save, this time on Erat. The Preds forward takes the puck at the right hash mark and finds the D-man at the left point. He then scoots to the middle of the ice and gets a return pass. He fires a low shot, but Harding is out on the angle and it hits him in the midsection.
3:40 - A flurry of opportunities for the Wild. Cal Clutterbuck shoots a wrister on Rinne from the left hash mark. Rinne bats it down with his glove. Heatley and Koivu, both busting to the net are there to battle for the loose puck but are unable to convert. Those are the guys you want to have in that position and they created that chance by getting to the net instead of cruising in the high slot.
0:00 - Pretty even first period with both teams getting chances, but were unable to convert. The Wild's forecheck looked better than it has in a few games, which bodes well. I think Minnesota is heading for a big W.
19:33 - Ding! Break for the Wild as the Preds come out of the period break with some jump. Colin Wilson takes a centering pass from Nick Spaling out of the right corner. He redirects the puck on net, but he hits the iron. Harding lets out a sigh of relief.
15:08 - With three seconds left on a Nashville power play, Greg Zanon does what Greg Zanon does best. Smith has the puck at the left circle and fakes a shot. Zanon goes down, but stays in front of Smith who fires a low shot. Zanon blocks the shot and the puck clears the length of the ice.
12:08 - Mikko Koivu is strong. On the power play, he and Heatley play catch on the right circle. Heatley snaps a pass to Koivu who, on his off-hand, one-times a puck in on net, hard. Kyle Brodziak is screening Rinne and tips it over the net. I can't tell you how hard it is to one-time a puck on your strong side with zip. Koivu makes it look easy.
6:19 - Zanon is a defensive juggernaut tonight. The Preds have a two-on-one with Zanon the lone defenseman back. Sergei Kostitsyn tries the old toe drag, but Zanon slides on his belly and picks the puck off his stick clean as a chicken wing.
4:37 - Koivu really wants to keep his seven game point scoring streak alive. The Wild captain leads a four-on-two with two Preds coming back. He slices down the left side and cuts in to better his position. The Preds backcheckers blow by him and he fires a wrist shot on Rinne. The Preds' goalie doesn't see it till it hits his left pad.
0:00 - Another scoreless period, but not from a lack of chances. The Wild are knocking on the door and I feel a big third period and a big win for the good guys.
16:50 - Noooooooo! This game is still scoreless. Brodziak steals an errant pass in the Preds zone and is in all alone against Rinne. He stares the goaltender down and beats him, but his shot is just wide and rings the post. Great pressure from Nick Johnson to force a bad pass.
13:00 - MIN 0 - NSH 1 - NOOOOO! Jonathon Blum lofts a shot on goal from the point and it has eyes. The puck literally finds the back of the net, going through about four sets of sticks, legs and arms to put the Preds on the board first. Harding never saw it.
10:49 - Great pressure from the Brodziak, Powe and Johnson line. After sustaining an offensive zone forecheck for nearly half a minute, Marco Scandella keeps the puck in at the point. He finds Brodziak in the corner, who passes to Powe at the top of the circle. He fires the puck on Rinne, but is unable to score.
7:26 - Nice outlet pass from Zanon to Clutterbuck to spring the Wild on a two-on-two. Clutterbuck feeds Heatley on the left wing, and Heater winds up with a big slapper. Rinne pushes a juicy rebound and Clutterbuck is crashing the net, but the Nashville defender does a good job of tying him up and Clutter is unable to get a shot off.
3:59 - MIN 1 - NSH 1- In the city of country music, Dany Heatley brings the (w)rap. After another ferocious forecheck, and a Heatley shot on goal, Nate Prosser is denied by Rinne on the doorstep. The Elk River native stays with the puck and tries to bank one in on Rinne. He makes the save and the puck goes behind the net to Heatley, who wraps the puck around on his backhand and into the nearly empty net. Rinne was out of position gets his leg across, but is a guitar pick short of making the save. What a goal.
0:04 - Josh Harding keeps the game tied at one. Mike Fisher breaks in on his off wing. He tries to go against the grain to Harding's blocker side, but Harding squeezes the puck in his arm pit.
0:00 - Well we're headed to overtime. The Wild earns one point, now it's time to go get the other one.
3:58 - Rinne keeps this game going. Heatley takes the puck in the neutral zone and weaves his way into the offensive zone. He finds a seem and hits Marek Zidlicky on the tape on the backdoor. Rinne slides across and stones him cold.
2:33 - The Wild applying the pressure. Justin Falk takes a pass at the blue line and does some fancy stick handling. He doesn't get a shot off but stays with the puck. From behind the net, Falk feeds Johnson in the slot, who changes the angle and turns to his backhand. Johnson gets off a solid backhand sweep shot, but Rinne lays the paddle down and makes the save.
0:00 - Still tied after overtime, we're heading into a shootout. We need to pull this one out.
Cullen loses the puck and doesn't get a shot off.
Wilson makes a move to the backhand and roofs it 1-0 Nashville.
Koivu drops the shoulder and takes it to his forehand but can't get it over Rinne.
Smith tries to shoulder drop and hits the post.
Bouchard pulls the spin-o-rama on Rinne, but is in a little to close and gets his leg caught up with the goalie and the puck drifts wide.
Great effort from the Wild but the team doesn't get rewarded for its efforts with a W.