Mike Doyle's In-Game Commentary vs. Florida
Thursday, 03.29.2012 / 7:26 PM / Features
By Mike Doyle - Managing Editor
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Welcome to the jungle State of Hockey legion! Thanks for stopping by for another chapter of In-Game Commentary presented by Sun Country Airlines, the greatest airlines the world has ever known. I’m bringing you tonight’s commentary from the nerve center, high above the ice in the Al Shaver Press Box at Xcel Energy Center, and boy do we have a dandy of a game as the Wild hosts the Florida Panthers.
First, I’d like to welcome the Wild’s recent signee Jason Zucker to Minnesota. As many of you probably know, Zucker comes to the organization after two years at the University of Denver. I saw him walking into the rink jamming on his iPod, probably listening to something inspirational to get all jacked up for the contest, and he looked primed to give the Panthers a taming.
I’d also like to welcome Niklas Backstrom back into the lineup. Sure, he’s been here before, but he’s making his first start since March 1. Backstrom was struggling with a couple of nagging lower body injuries, but is healthy and ready to roll.
Another welcome addition will be Justin Falk, who has been out with a lower body injury since March 4. If I know Falk, and I do, he’ll be excited to hammer some Panthers into the wall.
Finally, I’d like to welcome all of the North Stars alumni, who are in the building, and those following along with the commentary tonight. The Wild is hosting “Back on Home Ice” a tribute to the North Stars and more than 30 former North Stars are in the house tonight.
On a sour note, Matt Kassian will be out for the rest of the season with a sports hernia. Matt Cullen had surgery on a broken finger is shutdown for the season. Mike Lundin also is down for the season after undergoing surgery on a sports hernia. Jared Spurgeon, Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Guillaume Latendresse are all out indefinitely with concussions.
If you’re a color fanatic, the Wild is sporting its home Iron Range Reds, while the Panthers wear the road whites with red trim.
18:44 - Zucker completes his first shift. He's officially an NHL player. That is all.
14:47 - After a sluggish start, Nate Prosser tries to take matters into his own hands. He accepts a pass at center, dumps the puck into the corner. He beats the Panthers defender to the puck and throws it on net, but goes wide.
14:24 - Veilleux takes a cross ice pass from Ortmeyer and walks in. He blasts a slap shot from the left circle but puts it wide.
12:35 - Florida with a golden opportunity, but can't convert. Fleischmann gets a pass and is in alone against Backstrom. However, Backstrom out waits the forward and he runs out of room. Fleischmann throws it out front to Stephen Weiss, who has an empty net. Scandella somehow blocks the shot to keep it scoreless.
10:35 - Things have picked up as Koivu wins a faceoff. The puck finds its way to Scandella and he rips a twisted wrister, but Jose Theodore makes a save through a screen.
9:11 - The Wild is shorthanded, but that doesn't stop them from trying to create a little offense. Warren Peters wins an offensive zone faceoff clean back to Tom Gilbert, who gets off a quick wrist shot.
8:27 - Backstrom says not dice with the Panthers on the PP. Matthias accepts a pass at the side of the net and throws a sharp angle shot on goal. Backstrom makes the save and the rebound goes to Wojtek Wolski, but Backs denies him too. The Panthers loiter in front of Backstrom and several Minnesota players converge and clear the trash out of the crease.
6:15 - Wild try to push the pace and get an odd-man rush. Christensen skates the puck out of the zone and finds Clayton Stoner joining the play. He opens up for the puck and fires a wrist shot from the right face-off circle that Theodore directs over the glass. One is coming. Mark it up now.
3:18 - Nice defensive play by Justin Falk to stop a streaking Erik Gudbranson. The Panthers D-man catches the puck in the neutral zone with a full head of steam. He tries a shake-and-bake, but Falk stands him up and separates him from the puck.
1:30 - Good effort by Setoguchi on that shift. First, he beats out a Panther player to negate an icing. Then he cycles the puck to Koivu and goes to the front of the net. The Wild captain gives it back to Setoguchi for a one-timer, but Theodore comes up with a big stop.
0:00 - Solid period from the good guys as Minnesota outshoots the Panthers, 13-9.
19:14 - Thomas Kopecky gets the first chance of the second period. He walks down the left wall on the rush and fires a low shot on Backstrom. The goaltender drops into the butterfly and sucks the puck up between his pad for the save and no rebound. Backstrom looks lit Backstrom tonight, a very good thing.
15:46 - After about a minute of applied pressure by the Panthers, the puck squirts free and Zucker gets a break. Florida gets crossed up on a line change, and Zucker picks up the puck in the neutral zone and streaks down the left side. He fires a quick wrist shot high to the far side, but just misses the net. Zucker was at the end of a shift and gassed, but still showed some pretty good wheels on that break.
10:00 - The Panthers are trying to get on the board first, but Backstrom continues to stand his ground. Shawn Matthias takes a center pass in the slot and tries to go five-hole. Backstrom saves that, but can't control the rebound. Kris Versteeg gets the rebound and tries to slide it by Backs, but the tender makes a sprawling snow-angel save.
6:55 - Can you get a high-sticking penalty for knocking your opponents stick into his own grill? Apparently, because Kyle Brodziak hits Wolski's stick and his own stick hits him in the face. He goes down and the ref's arm goes up.
6:33 - MIN 0 - FLA 1 - Well that didn't turn out well. Scottie Upshall takes an entry pass through the neutral zone from Tomas Fleischmann. Upshall cuts in on Backstrom and throws a shot at the net that squeaks through the goaltenders arm pit.
0:00 - The Wild has one period to score the tying and game-winning goals. I don't see why they wouldn't. Let's get a W.
18:57 - MIN 1 - FLA 1 - Stay hot Kyle Brodziak, stay hot. Brodziak rips a turnaround slap shot that Theodore can't handle. The puck bounces into the slot and Brodziak picks up his own rebound. He scoots around the crowd and tucks a backhand five-hole for his 21st goal of the season. Yahoo! (and not the search engine.)
17:01 - Cal Clutterbuck is a disturber of the the peace. He finishes a check on Kris Versteeg, and the Panther forward takes exception and gives Clutter a slash. Not sure if Clutter made fun of Versteeg's hair or something, but he wasn't happy. Players crowd around the two, but nothing comes of it.
13:22 - Wild applying some pressure now. Justin Falk shoots one from the point that Theodore saves. The rebound kicks out to Johnson and he fights off a checker for a chance. The puck is free and Zucker topples of the tender trying to get the loose change. That's what you like to see.
11:47 - Scandella with a power move as he cuts to the net. The defender takes the puck at the blue line and rips around the corner on his way to the net. He tries to jam one in on Theodore, but can't get it through his pads.
8:17 - Tom Gilbert takes a high stick and I though that Kris Versteeg's stick pierced right through his skull. However, the stick somehow went through the ear piece of Gilbert's lid and was sticking out of his helmet. That looked like it hurt, but Gilbert seems fairly unharmed, for a guy who took a stick to his dome, anyway.
6:44 - MIN 1 - FLA 2 - Bummer. With the Panthers on a 4-on-3 power play, Fleischmann buries one. After a quick transition, he takes a nice pass from Jason Garrison and with Backstrom outstretched, puts it over him.
2:51 - Sean Bergenheim nearly makes it a two goal game. A point shot gets all the way in on Backstrom and the rebound bounces to Bergenheim. He makes a move around the goalie and tries to jam the puck in, but runs out of room. He stops and tries to put it home but Gilbert comes in and lowers the boom on Bergenheim, knocking him into the net and the net off its moorings.
:30 - MIN 2 - FLA 2 - So you're telling me there's a chance! Gilbert throws one on net and it hits Christensen in the leg. The puck goes off the post and the crowd groans. The puck bounces back in front and Christensen sticks with the play and buries it, and the crowd goes bananas.
0:00 - We're going to OT thanks to Christensen's last second heroics.
4:45 - MIN 3 - FLA 3 -Are you kidding me! Mikko Koivu takes a Tom Gilbert pass through the neutral zone and is in alone with Theodore. Kulikov tries to make a last ditch diving effort, but Koivu shields him off. Then puts on the breaks and slides it pass Theodore for the OT WINNER! #ohbaby!