Friday, November 27, 2009

Kobasew launches hat sale as Wild beat back Avs, 5-3

Three goals by ex-Bruin turn 'Dog day Afternoon' into 'Thank God it's Friday' as Wild go .500 for November

By Wild Road Tripper

Chuck Kobasew made sure his teammates had a good day Friday, as the Minnesota Wild rode Kobasew's hat trick, the first 3-bagger for the Wild in 23 months, to a 5-3 win over the Colorado Avalanche Friday afternoon at Xcel Energy Center, as an announced 18,365 enjoyed what was, at least in the opinion of this blogger, the Wild's best team effort, start-to-finish, in nearly three weeks.

Kobasew led the charge as seven different Wild players tallied points against the Northwest Division-leading Avs, as the Wild beat the Avs for the second time this season. Kobasew's hat trick was the second of his career; the first was also against Colorado, on Jan. 24, 2006, when he was with the Calgary Flames.

The hat trick set off a 'hat trick hat sale' at the team's Hockey Lodge team stores for the rest of the day, as is custom when a Wild player scores three goals in the same game. The last time a Wild player scored three goals in the same game, was Marian Gaborik's five-goal bonanza against Henrik Lundquist and the New York Rangers on December 20, 2007.

Owen Nolan, the NHL's oldest active player, rang up another goal, his 7th, at 9:28 of the first period, moving away from a surprised Avs defense in doing so as well. Derek Boogaard's pass in front, bounced off the goal and into Kobasew's wheelhouse, where he buried it behind Avs goalie Craig Anderson early in the second period, to give the Wild a brief 2-1 lead. Kobasew struck again just over 3 minutes later when, on the power play, Kobasew took a pass again directly in front of Anderson from Andrew Brunette, and gave the Wild a 3-2 lead.

In the third, with the score tied at 3-3, it was Brunette's turn to score after Mikko Koivu received a pass from Marek Zidlicky, that was a result of the Avs not being able to stay away from the sin-bin, as Darcy Tucker was off on a slashing penalty at the time. Kobasew finished off the afternoon's scoring, as he took a pass from Koivu in front of an empty net after Colorado had pulled Anderson for the extra attacker, and calmly slid it into the empty net with 18 seconds left in the contest.

The Wild move to 6 wins, 2 losses, and 1 tie (2002, vs. Colorado) all-time on the day after Thanksgiving, as they get their 4th Western Conference win of 2009-10. The home record of the Wild now goes to 7-3-1 for the season (4-2 against the West), as the scene now shifts to Denver's Pepsi Center for 'Beanie Night', and the rematch tomorrow evening, 8:00 PM Central (7:00 PM Mountain) Time (Wild TV: FSNorth; Colorado TV: Altitude; both feeds in HD; XM Radio, Ch. 241).

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