Minnesota Wild (43-17-6) 92pts 1st in the Central
3.3o Goals For Per Game (2nd in the NHL)
2.38 Goals Against Per Game (4th in the NHL)
21.2% Power Play (8th in the NHL)
83.7% Penalty Kill (7th in the NHL)
Top 5 Scorers:
1. #64 Mikael Granlund ~ 22G 40A = 62pts
2. #12 Eric Staal ~ 21G 30A = 51pts
3. #9 Mikko Koivu ~ 18G 32A = 50pts
4. #22 Nino Niederreiter ~ 20G 27A = 47pts
5. #3 Charlie Coyle ~ 15G 31A = 46pts
Top 3 PIM’s:
1. #7 Chris Stewart ~ 79 PIM’s
2. #21 Ryan White ~ 70 PIM’s
3. #24 Mathew Dumba ~ 49 PIM’s
1. #40 Devan Dubnyk (36-14-3) 2.03GAA .932%SP 5SO
2. #35 Darcy Kuemper (7-3-3) 3.28GAA .904%SP
Chicago Blackhawks (42-20-5) 89pts 2nd in the Central
2.94Goals For Per Game (8th in the NHL)
2.51 Goals Against Per Game (8th in the NHL)
19.0% Power Play (16th in the NHL)
77.6% Penalty Kill (27th in the NHL)
Top 5 Scorers:
1. #88 Patrick Kane ~ 29G 42A = 71pts
2. #72 Artemi Parnarin ~ 21G 38A = 59pts
3. #19 Jonathan Toews ~ 17G 31A = 48pts
4. #2 Duncan Keith ~ 5G 40A = 45pts
5. #15 Artem Anisimov ~ 22G 22A = 44pts
Top 3 PIM’s:
1. #38 Ryan Hartman ~ 55 PIM’s
2. #14 Richard Panik ~ 39 PIM’s
3. #15 Artem Anisimov ~ 30 PIM’s
1. #50 Corey Crawford (26-15-3) 2.55GAA .918%SP 2SO
2. #33 Scott Darling (16-5-2) 2.13%SP .931%SP 2SO
Campbell~Tre. van Reimsdyk
And here we go again.
It’s been a rough week for the Minnesota Wild. Losses to Saint Louis and to Tampa Bay certainly had everyone feeling a bit down on their luck. But it wasn’t just down on their luck. Uninspired might be a better word. I know for a fact, that even with the excitement of this season, I’m a bit worn out. There are days where I wake up and the thought of having to write another game preview makes me want to weep. This certainly has been a great season for the fans and players alike. Yet even with what will most likely go down as the best regular season in franchise history, there are moments where I wish it was over. And I’ll admit, it might even be more so for myself because I’m writing these articles and rarely getting the benefit of actually getting to watch the games because of work. So yes, I could use a little inspiration of my own these days. That inspiration could come in the form of a re-charge to the Wild’s season. Yes, the win against the Florida Panthers on Friday night helped make me feel a little more confident. However a regulation win against an Eastern Conference opponent is small potatoes. A win tonight, against a Central Division opponent who is nipping at the Wild’s heels, would be far more impressive and just the inspiration I could use.
The possibility of taking it Chicago in their building has me somewhat giddy. However, everyone is going to feel a bit “off” with today’s game. With this one being played on NBC, and I mean the regular ol’ NBC you can watch without cable or satellite, this game is starting at the ungodly early time of 11:30am Central Time. Yes, you’re reading that correctly. Puck drop is before noon, and to hockey fans, that will throw you off all day. This is not the National Football League or even NCAA Football, where games that start in the morning or right around noon are not unusual. No, this is hockey. We start our games at 1pm at the earliest on the weekend. What is even more annoying is that we’re really playing this game on Eastern Time even though both teams are in Central Time. I can’t think of one good reason why NBC is insisting on playing this game at 11:30am Central Time. They’re not hosting a later hockey game. However, we get the shaft because of the PGA Tour Golf. This isn’t even a big one like the Master’s, US Open, British Open, or the Ryder Cup. No, this is some lame Valspar Championship. But then there’s $6.3million at stake, so they get the prime slot and hockey gets the lesser spot. Oh, and if 11:30am wasn’t early enough, don’t forget you have to set your clocks forward, so this will feel more like 10:30am.
I haven’t watched an actual NBC broadcast of hockey in a while. Because of that, I’m unsure if we’ll get the lame “Stars Sunday” that they love to do on NBC Sports Network. However, with it being on NBC, we’re more likely to get Mike “Doc” Emrick as the play by play guy. With all the torture of all the games with Pierre McGuire this season, we deserve to get some time with Doc. Yet even with the possible benefit of Doc behind the mic we’re still bound to hear lots and lots of butt kissing of the Chicago Blackhawks. NBC loves to go out of their way to praise the Blackhawks, in fact I wonder if they practice all their little anecdotes before the game. It’s our lot to carry. Because of their success and our struggles with Chicago during the post season, we’re stuck listening to them wax poetic on the prowess of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. I would love to see the Wild come out and just lay into Chicago and remind them why they are not the ones in first place in the Western Conference. If that’s not possible, I’ll at least take minimal playings of the very annoying Chicago goal song. If you ever want to put me in a bad mood, put that song on repeat.
So dear Wild fans, make sure you set your clocks ahead and set your alarms. Puck drop is going to come early.