Minnesota Wild (6-7-2) 14pts 7th in the Central
3.00 Goals For Per Game (15th in the NHL)
2.87 Goals Against Per Game (13th in the NHL)
16.7% Power Play (20th in the NHL)
83.6% Penalty Kill (9th in the NHL)
Top 5 Scorers:
1. #16 Jason Zucker ~ 8G 5A = 13pts
2. #12 Eric Staal ~ 5G 7A = 12pts
3. #46 Jared Spurgeon ~ 2G 8A = 10pts
4. #20 Ryan Suter ~ 2G 7A = 9pts
5. #10 Chris Stewart ~ 6G 2A = 8pts
Top 3 PIM’s:
1. #9 Mikko Koivu ~ 16 PIM’s
2. #19 Luke Kunin ~ 11 PIM’s
3. #22 Nino Niederreiter ~ 10 PIM’s
1. #40 Devan Dubnyk (5-6-0-1) 2.77GAA .913%SP 1SO
2. #32 Alex Stalock (1-1-0-1) 2.40GAA .925%SP
3. #35 Niklas Svedberg (0-0-0)
Philadelphia Flyers (8-6-2) 18pts 5th in the Metropolitan
3.13 Goals For Per Game (13th in the NHL)
2.69 Goals Against Per Game (9th in the NHL)
19.6% Power Play (13th in the NHL)
78.6% Penalty Kill (23rd in the NHL)
Top 5 Scorers:
1. #93 Jakub Voracek ~ 4G 17A = 21pts
2. #28 Claude Giroux ~ 9G 11A = 20pts
3. #14 Sean Couturier ~ 10G 9A = 19pts
4. #53 Shane Gostisbehere ~ 1G 14A = 15pts
5. #17 Wayne Simmonds ~ 6G 5A = 11pts
Top 3 PIM’s:
1. #3 Radko Gudas ~ 42 PIM’s
2. #17 Wayne Simmonds ~ 15 PIM’s
3. #93 Jakub Voracek ~ 14 PIM’s
1. #37 Brian Elliott (6-3-0-1) 2.90GAA .903%SP
2. #30 Michal Neuvirth (2-3-0-1) 2.17GAA .928%SP 1SO
I know I’ve mentioned this before here, but I work in tech support. Not only do I work for tech support, I work for one of the biggest players in the tech world. We have great customers and we build great products for them. Because of that, we work hard to help them with the bumps they occasionally encounter. While we work hard for them, we as tech advisors encounter our own tech issues that can make it difficult to assist our customers. I’m currently experiencing that. It has nothing to do with my computer or my internal systems. My issues however have everything to do with my internet connection. I work from home, so I am dependent on my internet service provider to keep me up and running. Lately, we’ve been experiencing some hiccups in our internet connection. We started seeing lag when watching YouTube or streaming video. We didn’t think much of it, because let’s face it, that’s not super unusual. What isn’t usual however are the issues I have when I’m working. For obvious reasons, when I’m working, I’m on a VPN, or a virtual private network. When you’re on a VPN, your network connection operated on a much lower speed. When I’m on my personal computer, our download speed is around 80 Mbps and about 7-10 Mbps on the upload. If I run a speed test while on the VPN, the speed can be knocked down by half or two thirds. This week, I’ve had customers say they can’t hear me when we’re speaking on the phone. My current speed tests both on and off the VPN have been all over the place. That lack of consistency and lack of speed has greatly effected my ability to help our customers. I now have to wait for my ISP to come on Monday to see why I am lagging so.
I joked during Thursday’s game, which I got to see part of due to my internet issues, that at least Jason Zucker isn’t running like my ISP is. However, it sounds like he has been a bit. When the Wild are playing at home, he is in a house with his wife and a newborn. That baby seems to be keeping Zucker up in the middle of the night. The joke in the locker room (as well as his wife on Twitter), is that Zucker has had to go on the road to get some much needed sleep. Clearly by the time he got to Toronto, he was finally catching up on his sleep and scored two goals in that Wild loss. He must be fully rested, as his trip to Montreal netted him his first NHL hat trick. While he’s been running on minimal sleep, physically it seems that he’s not been hampered too much. His speed has never been questioned. What has probably been effected was his mental speed. We’ve all had those days at work, where mentally or emotionally we haven’t been fully present. On those kinds of days, we operate on pure instinct. We know our jobs and how to do them. We’re able to do our jobs just by going through the motions. We’re probably not coming up with any brilliant ideas on how to do things better. We pretty much stick to the basics and we get them done. Zucker knows what needs to be done and his body simply reacts. With the Wild soon heading back home, Zucker will be back in the house with a newborn. Although you have to hand it to him, while his job benefits over getting enough sleep, at least it appears that he’s willing to get up in the middle of the night to help with the care of his child.
Another player who seems to have found his groove on the road is Devan Dubnyk. Now, he’s not completely out of the woods quite yet, but getting a shut out in Montreal was certainly a step in the right direction. And let’s face it, we need the Dubnyk we’ve come to know and love. With Alex Stalock back in Minnesota after his wife went into labor (and since delivered their second child), Minnesota had to re-call Niklas Svedberg from Iowa. I think everyone is hoping that we don’t have to play Svedberg while Stalock is away from the team. However for that to happen, Dubnyk has to be on top of his game. I know for myself, I haven’t seen the real Dubnyk yet. He seems to have lost some of his ability to track the puck. I wish he would go back to the training exercises he was doing early in his Wild career. I know I remember watching an episode of Becoming Wild on Fox Sports-North where it was him, a wall, and a tennis ball. Sometimes it’s the simplest things that can make the biggest impact. It would behove him to work on shots coming from the periphery as I feel that’s where he loses his tracking. Let’s just hope Thursday night’s game is what helps bring him back to what we need.
Normally, I wouldn’t worry about playing a team that is 5th in their respective division. However when you’re in 5th place in the Metropolitan Division, that changes the picture greatly. It’s not a division to take lightly. Heck, I wouldn’t even want to face the Carolina Hurricanes right now. The Flyers are a team that have the size and skill to make things rather uncomfortable for the Wild. Jakub Vorachek, Claude Giroux, and Sean Courtier can and do score. Between the three of them, they have 23 goals, 19 between Giroux and Courtier alone. Compare that to the Wild’s top three point people, Zucker, Eric Staal, and Jared Spurgeon. They have 15 goals between them. If that’s not a scary differential, I don’t know what else is. Yes, the Flyers can and do score. What they can’t do, is stop the opposition’s goals. It appears that the Flyers have put their trust in Brian Elliott. I don’t know about you, but he’s not exactly the goalie I would hedge my bets on. Sure, he seems to play well against Minnesota, but he has not delivered on his projections. His stints in Ottawa and Saint Louis (along with some brief stops in Colorado and Calgary) prove that. Sure, he was a star at the University of Wisconsin, and he won a national championship while there, but that hasn’t really translated to NHL success. Philadelphia seems to always struggle to find a good goaltender, and Elliott appears to be another one of those choices that is not working in their favor. Makes one wonder how many more seasons Elliott will play if these are the kinds of numbers he continues to put up. At least the Flyers aren’t paying much for Elliott’s services. He is under contract for this season and next at a conservative $2.75 million. Low risk for the Flyers. I wish that’s what we were paying Dubnyk right now.
We shall see how tonight turns out. Will the Wild sputter like my internet connection does on the VPN or will the overcome their own technical difficulties and perform as we need them to?